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Gokul Singh and ors. Vs. Emperor - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCriminal
CourtAllahabad
Decided On
Judge
Reported inAIR1916All360; 35Ind.Cas.527
AppellantGokul Singh and ors.
RespondentEmperor
Excerpt:
.....value of--police officers, duty of. - - the circumstances are that the principal accused gokul singh, a young constable of 28 years with 11 years' experience in the force and whose record has presumably been a good one, went to a village with a view to investig ting a theft and in particular to obtain, if he could, information from the deceased man who was supposed to know something about it. for in my view this punishment was inflicted because the police had failed in their effort, not without hope, that the deceased would repent and give them what they wanted. such conduct, unchecked and left unpunished with some severity when discovered, is certain, as certain as human affairs can be, to create in the minds of ignorant and timid villagers a disposition to volunteer evidence..........by clear evidence and their own admission. the circumstances are that the principal accused gokul singh, a young constable of 28 years with 11 years' experience in the force and whose record has presumably been a good one, went to a village with a view to investig ting a theft and in particular to obtain, if he could, information from the deceased man who was supposed to know something about it. the deceased denied all knowledge of the matter. it is found that the constable gokul singh directed his two subordinates, who were village chaukidars and who are also two of the convicted in this case, to inflict punishment upon the deceased. the sessions judge holds that it was done with a view to extracting information from the deceased, which the police believed he was able to give......
Judgment:

Walsh, J.

1. This is a very grave case of brutal, unjustifiable and determined assault, by persons in authority whose duty, as the Judge has rightly pointed out, it is to afford protection to the person and the property of the public, committed presumably in the name of the law upon an unprotected and apparently defenceless cultivator of feeble constitution. Nothing could be said, and Mr. Alston has rightly refrained from attempting to say one word, in mitigation of their conduct, which has been established by clear evidence and their own admission. The circumstances are that the principal accused Gokul Singh, a young constable of 28 years with 11 years' experience in the force and whose record has presumably been a good one, went to a village with a view to investig ting a theft and in particular to obtain, if he could, information from the deceased man who was supposed to know something about it. The deceased denied all knowledge of the matter. It is found that the constable Gokul Singh directed his two subordinates, who were village chaukidars and who are also two of the convicted in this case, to inflict punishment upon the deceased. The Sessions Judge holds that it was done with a view to extracting information from the deceased, which the Police believed he was able to give. Gokul Singh, the constable chiefly concerned, says that it was done for insolence, although he does not say what the insolence was. I do not think it matters much. The effect upon the public mind is just the same in either case; for in my view this punishment was inflicted because the Police had failed in their effort, not without hope, that the deceased would repent and give them what they wanted. It is difficult to select language, apt to describe one's detestation of such methods of obtaining evidence. It defeats its own ends. Evidence so obtained has no value; but its effect is likely to spread far beyond the particular persons immediately concerned in an incident of that kind. Such conduct, unchecked and left unpunished with some severity when discovered, is certain, as certain as human affairs can be, to create in the minds of ignorant and timid villagers a disposition to volunteer evidence which, whether true or untrue, leads to the complaint constantly re-iterated of the amount of perjury which exists even on the side of the prosecution in this country in criminal cases and creates a spirit of distrust in the very body of men to whom the public ought to look with absolute confidence, at any rate, for honest dealings and straightforwardness, if not success, in their efforts to deal with crime. 1, therefore, say that conduct of this kind cannot be too severely condemned, and when it has directly or indirectly produced the death of an apparently innocent, law-abiding and unoffending villager, one is not surprised to find the Judge visiting it with severe term of imprisonment. There is one further feature in the case to which I feel bound to allude before 1 come to the question I have to decide, and which leaves an unpleasant feeling behind. The injuries in this case were not sufficient to cause death. Although the constitution of the deceased was apparently feeble, that in itself combined with the injuries was apparently not sufficient. It looks as though a poisonous drug had been administered. The medical evidence points in that direction. The Judge below was of that opinion and I agree with it. The deceased after receiving the flogging was in the custody of the Police for several hours, until unconsciousness supervened which was followed by death. An abnormal quantity of opium recently taken was discovered in his stomach. It is difficult to see how it got there, if it was not administered by somebody while the deceased was in the custody of the Police. These accused may consider themselves fortunate that they were not charged with causing the death of this unfortunate man. If the positions had been reversed, I incline to think that they would have been charged with causing the death. It is perfectly true that before matters became serious, or there was anything to indicate that the deceased was likely to be seriously ill, the principal accused Gokul Singh had left. I dismiss from my mind altogether, so far as its bearings upon the punishment are concerned, the suspicion which remains as to the administration of opium. I take into account on behalf of the two young men the fact that they were apparently only carrying out. the orders or at least following the example of their superior, although it is pitiable to note that in dealing with the matter when it became the subject of a criminal charge, each in that cowardly fashion, so characteristic of bullies, tried to shift his responsibility on to the other. As to the gravity of the offence and the necessity of serious example being made, I recognise that what was done was done by these men in the heat of human passion. Disappointed, irritated and annoyed at the failure of their mission, they did what they could not possibly have done if they had not occupied the position of authority which they did. One cannot but feel particularly in the case of Gokul Singh that if his mind was not the originator of the idea, such occurrence would be impossible, if it did not exist to his knowledge, I will not say as a practice, but as an occurrence from time to time in the force to which he belongs. It is for that reason that I regard this case as one of serious public example. On the other hand, these accused will lose all chance of re-employment in the force which has passed from them for ever. They will lose their pensions and will come out from prison, so far as the Police force is concerned, as disgraced men. I take that into account, and after considering all the circumstances and not desiring to discount in the slightest degree the grave view which the Judge below took of this offence, I think justice will be done by reducing the sentence in the case of Gokul Singh to three years' rigorous imprisonment and in the case of his two subordinates to nine months each. The convictions are affirmed and the sentences are reduced, as stated above, to take effect from the date of their conviction in the Court below.


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