Lakshmi Narain, J.C.
1. Salam Chaoren Singh accused has been committed for trial under Section 302, I.P.C. by Shri H. Ibungoyaima Singh M.I.C. for the murder of Moirangthem Kulachandra Singh in the evening of 29.3.51 at Heibong Pokpi village by striking a dao blow on his neck which resulted in his death soon after.
2. The prosecution story briefly is as follows:
3 On the next day of Halanka festival of 1951, the deceased had gone to Naorem Bapu Singh P. W. 1 at Heibong Pokpi in the afternoon at about 3 P.M. and asked him to take charge of his cattle and bring them from his place. Bapu Singh was already in charge of his father-in-law's cattle. When they were ready to start in the evening Bapu Singh went aside at some distance to pass urine. On his return he found Kulachandra Singh lying on the ground by his bicycle profusely bleeding from a cut on his neck. He also saw the accused at that time standing near-by the deceased with a blood stained Dao in hand. He raised an alarm 'Mangle' (horrible) and after a little pursuit caught hold of the accused by the waist. Angahal Singh, Tamphajao Singh, Mangi Singh, Iboton Singh and Senapati Singh who were working on the roof of Bapu Singh's nephew near-by jumped down and arrived by then. Senapati Singh snatched the Dao from the accused's hand on which the blood was still wet. The accused was also working on the roof along with them on that day on the opposite slope near about the time of occurrence. It is also stated that the Dao Ex. P. 1 belongs to Bapu Singh P. W. 2 with which he was working that day and was kept by him on the ground floor in the court-yard. The accused was tied down with a rope.
The police was informed through Madhu-mangal Singh younger brother of the deceased. Kulachandra Singh is said to have died within an hour. He remained unconscious throughout. On arrival of the police at about midnight, the accused and the blood-stained Dao Ex. P. 1 were handed over to the Thana Babu. Shri Khogendra Singh S.I. P. W. 10 was the investigating officer on that night. He prepared the inquest report and sent the dead body of Kulachandra Singh to the civil hospital, Imphal for post mortem examination under police escort accompanied by the relatives of the deceased. The investigation was taken up by Shri Mani Singh P. W. 11 on the transfer of Shri Khogendra Singh, who submitted the charge sheet under Section 302, I.P.C. against the accused. The accused has pleaded not guilty to the charge and claimed to be tried.
4. In all the prosecution has produced 14 witnesses in support of its case. Out of them Naorem Mangi Singh and Naorem Iboton Singh have been tendered for cross-examination. The learned Counsel for the defence did not cross-examine them.
5-15. (After narrating the evidence of the prosecution witnesses the judgment proceeded:)
16. P. W. 13 is Shri R.K. Setusna Singh, Magistrate 1st Class who recorded the confessional statement of the accused on the very next day of the occurrence. He is now dead. There is evidence on the record, of Shri Khogendra Singh S.I. that he died on 11.6.52. On the request of the Public Prosecutor the statement which he made in the Committing Magistrate's court on 21.9.51 has been transferred to this record to be read as evidence in the case under Section 33, Evidence Act. He has stated that when the accused was produced before him for recording his confessional statement, he had turned out the police from his Court room and warned the accused that he was a Magistrate and that he (the accused) was not bound to make any confession and that if be would make any, it would be taken against him in evidence. The accused was also warned not to say anything on anybody's advice but to state voluntarily what he liked and should say nothing which was untrue. Then he (the Magistrate) gave the accused three hours time to think over the matter again before making any statement and made him to sit aside guarded by a chaprasi of his own, to see that nobody could approach him to give any advice or influence him in any way. On the expiry of 3 hours the accused was called again. The warning was again repeated to him and everything carefully explained to ensure that he would give the statement voluntarily. His statement was then recorded and read over to him, The accused had signed it after admitting it to be correct. The witness has proved the statement to have been correctly recorded by him and signed and thumb-marked by the accused which is Ex. PC. He has also proved the certificate Ex. PD which he had appended at the end of it. He was satisfied that the accused had made the statement voluntarily. The confessional statement of the accused is as follows:
My name is Salam Chaoren Singh, my father's name is Balaram. I am Meitoi Kshetriya. I am cultivator. I live at Heibongpokpi village under the jurisdiction of Irophal Thana in Manipur.
Moirangthem Kulachandra Singh of Shamu sang lived in my village temporarily. He said that I was his wife and I should obey him. He beat me when disobeyed. Yesterday I met him again and he again asked me to be his wife. At this through shamefulness I had a fight with him. Probably I struck him on the heart and thereby he fell down dashing against the wooden post and thereby causing death to him. He died about an hour after he had fallen down.
Q. At what time did the fighting take place between you?
A. The fighting took place yesterday before sunset at about 4 P.M.
Q. Where did' the fighting take place?
A. At the house of Naorem Bapu Singh of Heibongpokpi i.e. at his court-yard.
Q. Who saw it?
A. Both Naorem Bapu Singh and Thok chom Angahal Singh saw the fighting.
Q. How long did the fighting take place?
A. It lasted for about an hour.
Q. Did not Bapu and Angahal intervene at the fighting?
A. They did not see the fighting, they came there while Kulachandra had fallen.
Q. At what time did he die?
A. He died at about 'Shandya gouri' (the time after dusk).
Q. Is there any enmity between you and Kulachandra?
A. He said that I was his wife and he forced me to bed with him just like his wife.
Q. Did you cut him with dao or beat him With stick?
A. I did not cut him with dao. I gave him a blow with a 'Wakok' (piece of bamboo)
on the 'Nakthang' (chest).
17. P. W. 14 is Shri Shamkishore Singh Prosecuting Inspector, Imphal, to whom the blood-stained Dao Ex. P. 1 was handed over by investigating Sub-Inspector Shri Khogendra Singh on the next day. The witness had made it into a sealed parcel under his supervision and sent it to the Chemical Examiner for examination. Nobody tampered with it during that time. The report of the Chemical Examiner's examination about the stains on this weapon is that it was found to have been stained with blood. This report is Ex. PL; while the Imperial Serologist has found these stains as human blood; vide report Ex. PM.
18. The prosecution case is closed with the, tender of the accused's statement in evidence which he made in the Committing Magistrate's Court.
19. The accused has denied to have committed the offence. He has ascribed it to Naorem Bapu Singh who caught hold of the accused after committing the offence; gave him a beating and kept tied with a rope. This is what he stated in the Committing Magistrate's Court.
20. In this Court, he has admitted that he was assisting Thamphajao Singh in the construction of his roof at his request along with Mangi Singh, Iboton Singh, Senapati Singh and Bapu Singh but denied having struck Kulachandra Singh with the Dao that evening. He has stated that
the fact is that the blood-stained Dao Ex. P. 1 was given to me by Bapu Singh, who after that caught hold of me raising alarm and then the same Dao was snatched from me by Iboton Singh who is the son of Bapu Singh. Sanapaii Singh was not present at that time. Then Iboton Singh tied my hands with a rope to the post of the veranda and handed me over to the police on their arrival. Naorem Bapu Singh, Iboton Singh, and Tamphajao Singh have killed Kulachandra Singh and have falsely entangled me in this case.
On the face of it this statement cannot be relied upon. He has denied having made the statement Ex. p C before the Magistrate on 30.3.51. He is unable to explain why Bapu Singh etc, have entangled him in this case.
21. Three witnesses have been produced in defence to prove that the accused was suffering from some abnormality or the other for the last 4 years. One is his step-brother and the other two belong to village Uripok Khatiem Leikai. It is so easy to produce such an evidence to exonerate the accused from guilt and I am not at all impressed with it. At the same time, their evidence is hardly sufficient to give the accused benefit of Section 84, I.P.C. for which the learned Counsel of the accused has pressed. It is not at all proved much less brought on the record that the accused was suffering from unsoundness of mind at the time of committing the act. It is also to be pointed out here that the conduct of the accused during the trial has never boen unusual, and he has behaved quite intelligently.
22. Now as for the confessional statement Ex. PC of the accused which he made the very next day of the occurrence. The accused has stated here that he never made a statement. He has not produced any evidence or, proof in support of his denial. On the other hand, it is fully proved by the evidence of the Magistrate who recorded it. The statement has been recorded with due formalities and after full satisfaction by the Magistrate that the accused would make it voluntarily. There is no allegation of any coercion or inducement to the accused. He showed his willingness for giving the statement and strainght be was sent to the Magistrate who took every precaution to ensure the voluntary nature of the statement. If an accused person during the trial denies to have made his confessional statement before the Magistrate, and makes no effort to prove his allegation, that confession is not to be dubbed as a retracted one on the strength of the mere denial of the accused when it has been recorded with due formalities and proved by the Magistrate; otherwise it becomes so easy to take the benefit of a retracted confession. I have no hesitation to find that the confessional statement Ex. PC was made voluntarily by the accused. In that statement, the accused has admitted to have given a blow to the deceased in the courtyard of Bapu Singh on the fateful evening as a result of which he died after half an hour. Probably just to save himself of the dire consequences he has stated there that he gave the blow with a 'Wakak' (bamboo) and not with the Dao. It is to be remembered that the Dao has got a bamboo handle.
23. However, sufficient corroboration of the confessional statement is also coming forth from the circumstantial evidence of the prosecution witnesses Nos. 2, 3, 5 and 7 as noted above, which is strong enough. Although none of them could see the accused striking the deceased, what occurred immediately after, is fully described by all of them quite in a straightforward and believable manner. There is not an iota of suggestion from the defence that the witnesses are in anyway Interested against the accused, rather the accused has stated that he does not know why they have implicated him. He (the accused) was caught red-handed with the Dao Ex. P. 1 (besmeared with fresh blood) in his hand moving from the place of occurrence at a little distance on the alarm raised by Bapu Singh who had seen him standing near the deceased from a little distance on his return. The two statements made by the accused in his defence, one in the Committing Magistrate's Court on 6.10.1951 and the other in this Court on 22.7.52 are quite discrepant and not worthy of any credence.
24. Motive for the crime is only suggested in the confessional statement of the accused himself. It appears that the deceased used to tease him with the foul and scandalous idea of sleeping with him as his wife, which exasperated him (the accused) in the provoked attack. He took the Dao which was lying near-by and gave a blow on the neck of the accused. It does not appear from the evidence that there was any intention or premeditation of the accused to give him such a fatal blow. The offence, therefore, falls within the purview of Section 304, I.P.C. and not under Section 302, I.P.C.
25. All the 4 assessors are of opinion that the accused was not of unsound mind at the time of committing the offence and that he has committed the offence by giving an injury with the Dao on the neck of Kulachandra Singh.
26. In the circumstances of the case as discussed above and agreeing with the unanimous opinion of the assessors, I find the accused Salam Chaoren Singh guilty of committing culpable homicide not amounting to murder of Kulachandra Singh and accordingly convict him under Section 304, I.P.C. As the accused has delivered a single blow with the Dao in the heat of anger and without premeditation and re frained from giving another blow, I think a lenient sentence will meet the ends of justice. He is accordingly convicted and sentenced under Section 304, I.P.C. to 4 years' R.I. and a fine of Rs. 200/- or in default to undergo further R, I. for 6 months.
27. The Dao Ex. P. 1 is to be forfeited to the State.