1. This is an appeal by Amru, aged 18, who has been convicted and sentenced to transportation for life by the Additional Sessions Judge, Jullundur.
2. On 23rd June 1944, at about sunset, Amru convict and Ratan Singh attacked the deceased Bhola near the shops of Chhaju and Bebari, who are prosecution witnesses in this case, using a kirpan and a barchha. Bhola had as many as 24 injuries and according to the doctor he must have died almost instantaneously. The first) information report was lodged by Sucheta a bro- ther of the deceased, on the same day at about 11-30 p. M. Ratan 8ingh was arrested but Amru absconded. Ratan Singh was tried and sentenced to death and that sentence was confirmed by the High Court at Lahore. Amru was arrested later on and he was put up for trial before the learned Additional Sessions Judge of Jullundur and was convicted as I have said before and sentenced to transportation for life.
3. The motive for the crime is stated to be the gift by a widow Mahan Kaur of half the estate of her husband, which came to about 20 Khomauns, in favour of Bhola deceased. On her death the other half which was in her possession was mutated in favour of Ratan Singh and others who were the collaterals of Mahan Kaur's husband. Ratan Singh had asked Bhola to return the land which had been gifted to him but he refused and this is stated to be the reason why this murder was committed.
4. The conviction rests on the testimony of four eye-witnesses who are Suchat Singh, P.W. 6, Gurbachan Singh, P.W. 8, Chhajju Ram, P.w. 9, Behari Lai, P.W. 10 and Hazara Singh, P.W. 11. According to the witnesses, it was nearing sunset when this attack took place and a noise was raised and then these witnesses saw the occurrence from different places. I shall not discuss the evidence of Suchat Singh, but shall first refer to the evidence of other persons. Gurbachan Singh, P.W. 8, is a Lainbardar. After hearing the noise ho hurried to the spot and he saw Ratan Singh and Amru assaulting the deceased. Amru had a kirpan and Ratan Singh had a barchha. According to him although he and others remonstrated they could not do anything to rescue the deceased as they themselves were threatened with violence. This statement has not been subjected to any detailed cross-examination, There i3 nothing to show why this Gurbaohan Singh, who is a Lambardar, should be giving false evidence against Amru. The next witness is P.W. 9, Chhajju Brahmin, who says that he witnessed the occurrence from the chaubara of his house. Some argument was addressed by the learned Counsel for the appellant that what was stated by Chhajju was that he witnessed the occurrence from the balcony of his chaubara and that as a matter of fact no balcony exists and that he could not have seen the occurrence from where he aaya he saw it. For this purpose a commission was issued to Dilbagh Rai who appeared as p, w. 1. He has stated that from near the burdah in front of the chaubara the place of the occurrence was visible. Ghhajju has not been cross-examined on this particular point. At any rate there is nothing to show why Chhaju Ram, who is an absolutely independent person, should give false evidence against Amru with regard to the witness Behari Lal, P.W. 10, the learned Counsel says that he came later and even according to his own evidence he just shut himself up in this house. The fact remains however that he Bays that he saw Amru and Ratan Singh standing there with a Urpan and a barchha respectively and he also saw them giving blows to Bhola. He again has not been cross-examined as to why he should implicate Amru falsely. There is the evidence of Suchat Singh, P.W. 6, who is the brother of the deceased and he also has stated that he witnessed the occurrence. But even if his evidence is eliminated there is, in my opinion, sufficient evidence to show that Amru participated in the assault on the deceased,
5. The learned Additional Sessions Judge has, in my opinion, correctly come to the conclusion that Amru is guilty ; but in the matter of giving the sentence he has imposed the lesser of the two sentences, that is of transportation for life. The reason given by him to my mind appears to be absolutely inadequate. He says that Amru was not related to Bhola in any way and he did not stand to gain by the murder of Bhola but he took part in the murder simply to oblige Ratan Singh who was his friend (very thick friend) and this was the reason for his not giving the sentence of death. This is wholly an inadequate reason. The murder was of a most brutal kind, as many as 24 injuries were given, the arm3 were cut off and all the injuries were of a very severe type. There was no extenuating circumstance in this case and the learned Judge seems to have been carried away, which I may say with great respect, by the fact that Ratan Singh and Amru were 'hamniwala.hampivala.' In those circumstances the normal sentence of death should have been given.
6. The Crown has put in an application for enhancement, but considering the fact that Amru was convicted on 31st August 1948, and it is more than a year ago that he was so convicted, I do not feel that we should enhance the sentence to one of death.
7. In the result both the appeal and the revision are dismissed.
8. I would like a copy of this judgment to be Sent to the learned Additional Sessions Judge, Jullundur, and his attention should be drawn in the matter of award of sentence in cases of this kind.