Skip to content


Satwant Singh Vs. the State of Punjab - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCriminal
CourtPunjab and Haryana High Court
Decided On
Judge
Reported in1975CriLJ1605
AppellantSatwant Singh
RespondentThe State of Punjab
Cases ReferredEmperor v. Musammat Anandi
Excerpt:
- sections 80 (2) & 89 & punjab motor vehicles rules, 1989, rules 85 & 80: [t.s. thakur, cj, jasbir singh & surya kant, jj] appeal against orders of state or regional transport authority imitation held, a stipulation regarding the period of limitation available for invoking the remedy shall have to be strictly construed. that is because any provision by way of limitation is in the nature of a restraint on the remedy provided under the act. so viewed two inferences are clear viz., (1) sections 80 and 89 of the act read with rule 85 of the rules make it obligatory for the authorities making the order to communicate it to the applicant concerned and (2) the period of limitation for any appeal against the order is reckonable from the date of such communication of the reasons would imply.....s.s. sidhu, j.1. this appeal has been filed against the judgment dated 13th december, 1971, of the learned sessions judge, hoshiarpur (shri udham singh).2. briefly, the facts of the case are that satwant singh accused (now appellant), who is resident of village rampur jhanjowal, had a brother khushwant singh by name. kteuahwant singh died abotust an year prior to the occurrence and he was survived by his wife daljit kaur (p.w. 9) and his three daughters. it is alleged that satwant singh appellant was not pulling on well with his wife and, therefore, his wife parted company with the appellant and started living in the house of her father. satwant singh appellant, his grandmother, his mother, shrimati daljit kaur (p. w. 9) and three daughters of daljit kaur were living together in the same.....
Judgment:

S.S. Sidhu, J.

1. This appeal has been filed against the judgment dated 13th December, 1971, of the learned Sessions Judge, Hoshiarpur (Shri Udham Singh).

2. Briefly, the facts of the case are that Satwant Singh accused (now appellant), who is resident of village Rampur Jhanjowal, had a brother Khushwant Singh by name. Kteuahwant Singh died abotust an year prior to the occurrence and he was survived by his wife Daljit Kaur (P.W. 9) and his three daughters. It is alleged that Satwant Singh appellant was not pulling on well with his wife and, therefore, his wife parted company with the appellant and started living in the house of her father. Satwant Singh appellant, his grandmother, his mother, Shrimati Daljit Kaur (P. W. 9) and three daughters of Daljit Kaur were living together in the same house in village Rampur-Jhanjowal and they were also joint in mess. Satwant Singh appellant wanted to contract a Karewa marriage with Shrimati Daljit Kaur, but she was not agreeable to the same in spite of the fact that the appellant used to put pressure through his mother in that behalf on her. Shrimati Daljit Kaur sent a message to her father so that the appellant could be persuaded not to put that pressure on her.

3. Amar Singh (P.W. 3), father of Shrimati Daljit Kaur, along with Gurbaksh Singh (P.W. 4), brother of his wife, came to Rampur Jhanjowal about ten days prior to the occurrence. The appellant told them that he wanted to marry Storimati Daljit Kaur, but they replied that it was not possible for them to marry Shrimati Daljit Kaur with him. The appellant insisted, but in order to put him off Amar Singh told the appellant that his other brother-in-law (wife's brother) would wait his village in a few days' time and that he would be in a position to talk further about the matter. After that, Amar Singh and Gurbafcah Singh, P. Ws., returned from Rampur Jlianjowal.

4. Pritam Singh (since deceased) came to the house of Shrimati Daljit Kaur and others at village Rampur Jhanjowal about 45 days before the occurrence and stayed there for four days continuously. During has stay, Pritam Singh tried; to persuade the appellant to leave the idea of contracting Karewa marriage with Shrimati Daljit Kaur.

5. On the night intervening 8th and 9th December, 1970, Pritam Singh deceased had slept in the room where Daljit Kaur (P.W. 9), her three daughters and the grandmother of the appellant had gone to steep. The appellant and his mother had slept in another room of the house. Daljit Kaur woke up in the early hours of the morning and after milching she-buffalo in the cattle-shed, returned to her house at about 6-00A. M. on 9th December, 1970. When she was busy in attending to some work in the kitchen, the appellant came out of the room where he had slept with a 'Kassi' in his hand, and entered the room where Pritam Singh was sleeping. After going inside that room, the appellant made an attack on Pritam Singh with the 'Kassi' (Exhibit P-1). Pritam Singh cried and came out of the room followed by the appellant. The appellant again attacked him witih 'Kassi' in the courtyard of the house with the result that Pritam Singh received numerous injuries at the hands of the appellant. As a result of those injuries, Pritam Singh fell on the ground and expired there and then. This occurrence was witnessed by Shrimati Daljit Kaur (P.W. 9).

6. Shrimati Daljit Kaur (P.W. 9) raised hue and cry which attracted Thakar Singh, Sanpanch (P.W. 13), Mehnga Singh (P.W. 14) and Mehar Singh (P.W. 15) to the place of occurrence. They saw the dead body of Pritam Singh lying in a pool of blood in the courtyard of the house and also noticed that Shrimati Daljit Kaur P.W. was present there. In the meantime, the appellant came from outside armed with the blood-stained 'Kassi' (Exhibit P-1) and made confession before them that he had murdered Pritam Singh. The appellant is stated to toe an old patient of Epilepsy. He entered the room of Hie house with Kassi Exhibit P-1 in his hand and Mehar Singh P.W. chained the door of that room from outside. Thakar Singh and Mehar Singh, P.Ws. left for the .police station for reporting the matter to the police after leaving Eakha Ram Ghowkidar (P.W. 2) and Mehnga Singh, Lamberdar (P.W. 14) at the spot to guard the dead body. They both reached the Police Station Mahilpur at 9-35 A. M. on 9th December, 1970 after covering a distance of about 6 1/2 K.M. Thakar Singh Sarpandh lodged the First Information Report (Exhibit PH) with the police at that time.

7. Sub-Inspector Anokh Singh (P.W. 16), the then Station House Officer of Tlhana Mahilpur, came to the spot along with Thakar Singh, Mehar Singh and some police officials at about 11-00 A.M. He prepared the inquest report (Exhibit PC) in respect of the dead body and despatched the same to Civil Hospital, Hoshiarpur for post-mortem examination under the escort of Constable Paras Ram (P.W. 11). He collected the blood-stained earth from the spot and made it into a sealed parcel. He further arrested Satwant Singh appellant from inside the room where he had been confined. He then removed the clothes (Exhibits P-2 to P-4) which the appellant was wearing as those appeared to be stained with blood and turned them into a staled parcel. He also toot into his possession the bloodstained Kassi (Exhi-bit P-1) from the possession of the appellant at the time of his arrest That weapon too was made into a sealed parcel.

7-a. Dr. Joginder Paul (P.W. 1) conducted autopsy on the dead body of Pritam Singh at 11-10 A.M. on 10th December, 1970 and found the following injuries on the same:

1. Incised wound 3' X 2' X bone deep on the back side of head 4 1/2' above and behind the right ear. A flap of skin was hanging.

2. Incised wound 2 1/2 'x 1/2' X bone deep the left parietol area 2' above the left ear.

3. Extensive lacerated wound 8'X7' involving whole of the left side face, eye (left) and right cheek, left half of neck above the level of pomen adami. Depth of the wound was deep structures of skull (ferain) face and neck. Left eye ball was missing. Tip of the nose was severed. The wound was extending into right orbit.

4. Two incised wounds each 3/4'X1' skin deep on the right eye brow inner third and 3/4' apart.

5. Incised wound 6'X1' muscle deep vertical on the right side of face and neck, cutting the right ear lobe and the mastoid bone underneath.

6. Incised wound 1 1/2'X1/2' muscle deep on the right side of neck 1 1/2' behind the pomen adami.

7. Incised wound 1 3/4' X 1/2' tone deep on the top of left shoulder. The underlying bone was cut

8. Two abrasions each 1 1/2'X 1/2' and 1/2' apart on outer surface and middle part of left arm.

9. Scratch 2'X1/8' on the front of right arm upper part

10. Linear abrasion 4' long vertical on the back of left scapula.

In the opinion of the doctor, the probable time that elapsed between injuries and death was instantaneous and between death and post-mortem examination 48 hours; the cause of death was shock and haemorrhage as a result of injuries which were ante-mortem and sufficient to cause death in the ordinary course of nature. According to the doctor, injury No. 3 was individually sufficient to cause death in the ordinary course of nature and that injuries found on the dead body could be caused with Kassi Exhibit P-1. The doctor gave the post-mortem examination report, carbon copy Exhibit PB, and shewed the location of the injuries in the pictorial diagrams Exhibits PB/1 and PB/2.

8. Subsequently, the sealed parcels containing the above mentioned articles were seat by the police of Thana Mahilpur to the Chemical Examiner and the Serologist, who vide their respective reports Exhibits PO and PO/1 opined that Kassi Exhibit P-1, clothes. Exhibits P-2 to P-4 and bloodstained earth lifted from the place of occurrence were stained with human blood.

9. Satwant Singh appellant was tried under Section 302, Indian Penal Code, for the commission of the murder of Pritam Singh by the learned Sessions Judge, Hosihiarpur. During the trial, the prosecution produced 13 prosecution witnesses, besides tendering into evidence the affidavits of three formal witnesses and also the reports of the Chemical Examiner and the Serologist marked Exhibits PO and PO/1, respectively.

10. The appellant in Ms statement recorded under Section 342, Criminal Procedure Code, denied the prosecution allegations and pleaded innocence. It was also pleaded by him that he was serving in the army and was discharged from there on 15th June, 1955 as he was suffering, from epilepsy, as would be clear from the discharge certificate (Exhibit D.D.) which was issued to Mm by tie Military Authorities, After his discharge from the Army, he could not be cured of his disease in spite of his setting treatment from various doctors. He had no grudge against Pritam Singh deceased. After his arrest in this case, he was given treatment in. Civil Hospital, Roshiarpur, but in spite of that he could not be cured of his disease. He was medically examined by Dr. Bal Gopal Goel (P.W. 5) at Civil Hospital, Hoshiarpur. It was also pleaded by him that he was innocent and bad not committed the offence. He, however, declined to produce any evidence in defence.

11. The learned Sessions Judge, Hoshiarpur, after trial of the appellant, came to a finding that provisions of Section 84, Indian Penal Code, were not attracted in the instant case. Accordingly, he vide Ms impugned judgment dated 13th December, 1971, convicted the appellant under Section 302, Indian Penal Code, and sentenced him to undergo imprisonment for life. Feeling aggrieved, Satwant Singh convict has come up in appeal to this Court against the said judgment of the learned Sessions Judge, Hoshiarpur.

12. Shrimati Daljit Kaur (P.W. 9) has stated that after milching she-buffalo in the cattle shed, she came to the kichen of her house. In the meantime she, saw Satwant Singh appellant coming out of the room where he had slept during night with Kassi in his hand, he entered the room where her maternal-uncle Pritam Singh war lying asleep. Immediately thereafter, she heard the shrieks of Pritam Singh and also the sound .produced by striking of blows. She has further added that she saw Pritam Singh emerging out of that room and the appellant following him; the appellant then gave two Kassi blows on the head of Pritam Singh in the courtyard of the house; she started raising an alarm, and, in the meantime, the appellant gave some more Kassi blows to the victim; she herself then went to the roof of the house and started raising alarm from there. It is also stated by her that Thakar Singh, Mehnga Singh and Mehar Singh (P.Ws.) then arrived at the scene of occurrence. The aforesaid three prosecution witnesses have deposed that after they had reached the place of occurrence, they found the dead body of Pritam Singh with injuries thereon lying in the courtyard of his house and soon thereafter Satwant Singh appellant came to his house from outside with blood-stained Kassi in his hand and entered the room of that house, the door of which was then chained from outside by them. Mehar Singh (P.W. 15) has also stated that at that time, the clothes then worn by the appellant also appeared to be stained with blood. According to Thakar Singh (P.W. 13), Satwant Singh appellant, while coming to his house from outside had also told them that he had murdered Pritam Singh with Kassi (Exhibit P-1). All this prosecution evidence provides sufficient proof on the file, which has not been seriously challenged by the counsel for appellant either, that Satwant Singh appellant had caused fatal injuries with Kassi, Exhibit P-1, on the person of Pritam Singh at his house in village Rampur Jhanjowal, in which he along with others, including Shrimati Daljit Kaur (P.W. 9), was residing. Now, the only question which is to be determined toy this Court is as to whether the appellant had intentionally caused those fatal injuries to Pritam Singh, as is the case of the prosecution put forth in Court, or that he was then having a fit of epilepsy and as such was incapable of knowing the nature of his acts of causing injuries to Pritam Singh by reason of unsoundness of mind so as to attract the provisions of the exception embodied in Section 84, Indian Penal Code, as pleaded by the appellant in his defence. Section 84, Indian Penal Code reads as under:

Nothing is an offence which is done by a person who, at the time of doing it, by reason of unsoundness of mind, is incapable of knowing the nature of the act. or that he is doing what is either wrong or contrary to law.

12-a. In order to make correct approach to the above problem, the first point to be considered is whether the appellant had any motive to kill Pritam Singh. With regard to the motive part of the prosecution story, the finding given by the trial Court is that motive is not proved and it can be said that the appellant had no motive to commit the offence. The learned trial Court has given very cogent and convincing reasons for giving that finding and this Court, too, has no sufficient grounds to differ with that conclusion arrived at by the trial Court. It is to be noted that Amar Singh (P.W. 3), Gurbaksh Singh (P.W. 4) and Shrimati Baljit Kaur (P.W. 9) have made contradictory statements as to what talk, and with whom, Amar Singh and Gurbaksh Singh had when they had come to the house of Shrimati Daljit Kaur (P.W. 9), the appellant and the others, about 10 days before the occurrence, with respect to the proposal made by the appellant for contracting a Kareva marriage with Shrimati Daljit Kaur (P.W. 9). Amar Singh (P.W. 3) has stated that he and Gurbaksh Singh (P.W. 4) had a talk on that subject only with Satwant Singh appellant when they had gone outside in the fields in order to ease themselves and that they had had no talk in this respect either with his mother (i.e., the mother-in-law of Shrimati Daljit Kaur) or with Shrimati Daljit Kaur. Shrimati Daljit Kaur (P.W. 9) contradicts her father Amar Singh (P.W. 3) by stating that her father had a talk with her regarding the appellant's marriage proposal with her during the night at their house, though she adds that she was not present when her father and maternal uncle had a talk on this subject with the appellant, Gurbaksh Singh (P.W. 4), the maternal uncle of Shrimati Daljit Kaur (P.W. 9), comes with a still different version. He has stated that when he and Amar Singh had a talk with Shrimati Daljit Kaur in the evening, she had told them that the appellant was pressing her for contracting marriage with him and thereupon they both told Shrimati Daljit Kaur that in the presence of his living wife Satwant Singh could not marry her in accordance with law. It is also stated by him that since Shrimati Daljit Kaur was not willing to marry the appellant, so they told her not to worry any longer because under no circumstances they would permit the appellant to marry her. It is also significant to note that before the committing Magistrate Shrimati Daljit Kaur (P.W. 9) did not state at all that 10 or 15 days prior to the occurrence, her father Amar Singh and her maternal uncle Gurbaksh Singh had come to her house. That being so, the only inference which can be drawn, after appreciating the evidence of these three prosecution witnesses, is that Amar Singh (P.W. 3) and Gurbaksh Singh (P.W. 4), in fact, had not come to the house of Shrimati Daljit Kaur (P.W. 9) and others about 10 days before the occurrence, as alleged by the prosecution, and that they both have been introduced as witnesses in order to establish motive for the appellant to take the life of Pritam Singh because they are the near relations of Pritam Singh deceased and also the eye-witness Shrimati Daljit Kaur (P.W. 9). It is also significant to note that Shrimati Daljit Kaur (P.W. 9) had stated in her (police statement that the appellant and the deceased (Pritam Singh), during the night, had taken meals together and that although Pritam Singh had stayed in her house for 4 days', yet the appellant had had no quarrel with him (during those days). It was also stated by Shrimati Daljit Kaur in her police statement that she could not tell as to for what reason, or grudge, the appellant had killed Pritam Singh. The said facts stated by Shrimati Daljit Kaur in her police statement are not disowned by her now; rather, she owns to have so stated then. It is, therefore, abundantly clear that, in fact, Satwant Singh appellant had no motive to kill Pritam Singh and, as such, the prosecution has made a futile attempt to show that he had some motive for killing Pritam Singh, as already stated above. Accordingly, I uphold the finding given by the trial Court that Satwant Singh appellant, in fact, had no motive to take the life of Pritam Singh.

13. The next point on which great stress has been laid down by the learned Counsel for the appellant, in the course of his argument, is that the appellant was suffering from a fit of epilepsy and as such was of an unsound mind when, he had attacked and caused fatal injuries with, a Kassi to Pritam Singh. From the perusal of Exhibit D.D., the discharge certificate of Satwant Singh appellant, which has been produced in evidence on behalf of the defence, it is clear that the appellant who was serving in the Army was released from there on June 15, 1955, AS he was suffering from epilepsy. Thakar Singh Sarpanch (P.W. 13) has admitted that in the First Information Report Exhibit P.H., he has stated that he knew this thing that the balance of the brain of Satwant Singh appellant was not properly working. He has further added that the appellant was employed in the Army and he had come on release from there about 14 years ago; when he came from the Army he had some mental defect and used to get fits occasionally; when he was under fits the appellant used to have quarrel or fight with people- about 5 years ago, while under fits, he gave two injuries to Master Joginder Singh but the matter was compromised; about 3 years ago he caused injuries to one Mota Singh, while under fits, but that matter, too, was compromised and about one month prior to the occurrence he gave beating to his mother while he was under fits. It is also in the evidence of this witness that when .they saw the appellant for the first time with the Kassi in his hand, he appeared to be under a fit and that his eyes were absolutely red; he was chained inside a room and that while he (the appellant) was there he set the clothes on fire and that sometimes the appellant was shouting that he did not kill Pritam Singh and sometimes he would shout that he did kill him (Pritam Singh) and, therefore, they could do whatever they liked and at another time he would shout that he had killed a dog and not a man. From the above discussed evidence, it is quite apparent that Satwant Singh appellant had a past history of his suffering from major epilepsy and that his conduct, immediately after he had killed Pritam Singh, shows that he was under the fit of epilepsy when he had committed the crime. Dr. Bal Gopal Goel (P.W. 5), who examined the appellant on May 8, 1971, under the order of the committing Magistrate dated May 1, 1971, after the appellant had presented an application before the committing Magistrate, found that the appellant was suffering from major epilepsy and that he would become mentally confused for a few hours, after the fit of epilepsy, otherwise in between the attacks he was mentally sound and that he had given report Exhibit P.A/1 in this behalf of the reference of the Court, Exhibit P.A., made to him for his (the appellant's) examination. It is also stated by Dr. Bal Gopal Goel (P.W. 5) that the appellant remained admitted in the Civil Hospital as an indoor patient from January 20, 1971 to February 15, 1971, for treatment and that at the time of his discharge from the Hospital he was relieved of his illness but he was not declared as cured of his disease and, therefore, it was recommended that he should continue with the treatment for the disease of epilepsy from which he was suffering. This medical evidence goes to show that although the occurrence had taken place on December 9, 1970, yet the appellant was not cured of his disease of major epilepsy till May 8, 1971, when he was examined by Dr. Bal Gopal Goel (P.W. 5) under the order of the committing Magistrate dated May 1, 1971. Mehnga Singh (P.W. 14) has stated that when the appellant was chained inside the room he had burnt some clothes. It is so stated by Thakar Singh Sarpanch (P.W. 13) also. Sub-Inspector Anokh Singh (P.W. 16) has admitted that some burnt clothes were found in the adjoining room of the room where the appellant was. He has further admitted that during the course of inquest proceedings, which were conducted by him, he came to know that Satwant Singh appellant was suffering from mental defect Thakar Singh Sarpanch (P.W. 13), Mehnga Singh, Lambardar (P.W. 14) and Mehar Singh (P.W. 15) have stated that after they had been attracted to the scene of occurrence, they found the dead body of Pritam Singh with injuries on it lying in the courtyard of his house and, soon thereafter, Satwant Singh appellant came to has house from outside with blood-stained Kassi in his hand. According to Mehar Singh (P.W. 15) the apparels then worn by the appellant also appeared to be stained with blood. All thin conduct of the appellant can (be treated to be only of an abnormal person The past history of the appellant, disclosing that he had been suffering from major epilepsy, the conduct of the appellant, immediately after the occurrence had taken place, as observed by three prosecution witnesses, namely, Thakar Singh, Mehnga Singh and Mehar Singh, mention about his mental defect made in the First Information Report by Thakar Singh (P.W. 13), knowledge of Sub-Inspector Anokh Singh (P.W. 16) about this state of mind of the appellant during the course of inquest .proceedings, the result of medical examination conducted on May 8, 1971, by Dr. Bal Gopal Goel (P.W. 5) and the fact that in spite of the said doctor's giving treatment to the appellant from January 20, 1971 to February 15, 1971, he was not fully cured of the disease of epilepsy, about which reference has already been made above, all these facts and circumstances taken together, would go to show that in fact the appellant was under the fit of epilepsy when he had attacked and caused fatal injuries on the person of Pritam Singh with a Kassi and, therefore, he, then being of unsound mind, did not know the nature of the acts committed by him or that he was doing something which was either wrong or contrary to law. Accordingly, the provisions of general exception, as embodied in Section 84, Penal Code, can reasonably be invoked in the present case and, as such, the appellant is entitled to acquittal by getting benefit of that exception.

14. It has been argued on behalf of the State that in accordance with the provisions of Section 105 of the Evidence Act the burden of proving that the case of the appellant came within the general exception embodied in Section 84, Penal Code, was on him and since he has led no evidence in this behalf, excepting producing Exhibit D.D., his discharge certificate, he cannot take advantage afforded by Section 84, Indian Penal Code. I do not find way merit in this argument. I quite agree that the initial burden of proving that the cam of the appellant comes within an exception is on him, but this onus may be discharged by producing evidence as to conduct of the appellant shortly prior to, at the time of, and immediately after the commission of the offence and also by evidence showing his mental condition and his past history etc., in order to show that he was of unsound mind at the time of commission of the offence so as to attract the application of the provisions of Section 84, Penal Code, to his ease. Further, it may be pointed out that if it is so clear from the evidence brought on the file, whether produced by the prosecution or by the defence, that the case of the accused comes within the general exception incorporated in Section 84, Penal Code, the Court is fully justified to consider whether that evidence proves, to the satisfaction of the Court, that the accused's case actually comes within that exception. I am fortified in this behalf by the view taken in Emperor v. Musammat Anandi (1923) ILR 45 All 329 : 24 Cri LJ 225. In the present case, since so many facts and circumstances of the nature mentioned above stand proved even from the prosecution evidence brought on the file, it can reasonably be said that the prosecution had already performed the task of the appellant and, therefore, there was no necessity for him to lead further evidence to show that those facts and- circumstances existed which would bring his case within the exception laid down in Section 84, Indian Penal Code. When it is shown from the prosecution evidence itself that the act of the commission of the offence by the accused falls within an exception, the accused is clearly relieved of the burden cast upon him under Section 105, Evidence Act. It may be pointed out that the appellant had taken up the plea from the very beginning of the case against him that his case was covered by the exception (embodied in Section 84, Penal Code). But even in cases in which the accused does not plead any particular exception, it is the duty of the Court to find out facts and circumstances appearing in the evidence which might justify the finding that the case of the accused is covered by one or the other exception. Thus, the argument of the learned Counsel for the State that it is for the appellant to prove by leading evidence that hiss case is covered by the exception contained in Section 84, Penal Code, seems to overlook the general principle that the accused can be benefited even if it can be made out from the prosecution evidence that his case is covered toy an exception. The meaning of 'proof', as contemplated by Section 3 of the Evidence Act, is not affected as to on which of the parties the burden of proof has been laid down by the relevant provision made in the Evidence Act. Therefore, although the burden of proving that the appellant's case was covered by the exception embodied in Section 84, Penal Code, was on him, yet it does not mean that the facts and circumstances which can be made out from the prosecution evidence, together with the appellant's statement made under Section 342, Criminal Procedure Code, and the production of the discharge certificate Exhibit D.D. by him, are not sufficient to establish that his case is covered toy that exception, when all that evidence, to the satisfaction of the Court, is sufficient to warrant a finding to that effect. In the present case, the appellant had taken up the plea during cross-examination of the prosecution witnesses and also in his statement under Section 342, Criminal Procedure Code, that he was suffering from epilepsy and, therefore, he was innocent and had committed no offence. He also produced Exhibit D.D., discharge certificate, showing that he was released from the Army on account of his suffering from epilepsy about 15 years ago. Besides that, from the prosecution evidence it is clear that the conduct of the appellant shortly prior to, at the time of, and after the commission of the offence by him, his mental condition as subsequently found, as a result of medical examination, and his past history were of such a nature that no other inference could possibly be drawn therefrom excepting that the appellant was of unsound mind on account of his having a fit of epilepsy at the time of occurrence and, as such, he was incapable of knowing the nature of his act of causing fatal injuries to Pritam Singh, or that he was doing what was either wrong or contrary to law. In my opinion, the salient facto and circumstances which stand proved on the file in this case from the prosecution as well as the defence evidence, furnish a very cogent and convincing proof to the satisfaction of the Court that the case of the appellant is fully covered by the general exception embodied in Section 84, Indian Penal Code; rather; I am of the view that there could be no better proof than which has already come on the file in this case, even if the appellant had tried to lead some more evidence of his own in this behalf, besides producing the discharge certificate Exhibit D.D. in evidence,

15. It has also been argued by the learned Counsel for the State that since Satwant Singh appellant was not got medically examined either by Sub-Inspector Anokh Singh (P.W. 16), the investigating officer, or by Shri A.S. Kailay, the then Deputy Superintendent of Police, Hoshiarpur, who, too, had partly investigated this case, at an early time or date after the occurrence had taken place, it cannot be said that the appellant was actually under the fit of epilepsy at the time of occurrence and, consequently, the appellant is not entitled to get benefit of the provisions of Section 84, Indian Penal Code. He, in this connection, has made reference to the relevant portion in the judgment of the trial Court and has urged that since the trial Court had declined to give benefit of that provision to the appellant, this Court, too, should be reluctant to give benefit of that exception to the appellant. I do not find any force in this argument. It is very sad that Sub-Inspector Anokh Singh (P.W. 16) has been quite negligent in the performance of his duty in not getting the appellant examined by the doctor in connection with the disease of epilepsy from which he (the appellant) was suffering, even during the days of occurrence. Sub-Inspector Anokh Singh (P.W. 16) admits that in the First Information Report, the informant Thakar Singh Sarpanch (P. W. 13) had mentioned that the mental balance of the appellant was a bit abnormal and that during the inquest proceedings he himself had also come to know that the appellant was suffering from mental defect. I do not understand that when Sub-Inspector Anokh Singh (P.W. 16) knew that the appellant was suffering from some mental defect, and it had been so alleged even in the First Information Report by the informant, then as to why he did not care to get him medically examined in that respect at the earliest, which examination would have provided very cogent and convincing evidence for showing whether he (the appellant) was of unsound mind at the time of occurrence or not. The trial Court also made some observations in this behalf in its impugned judgment but that Court gave benefit of the same to the prosecution and not to the appellant. In my opinion, the trial Court was not justified in giving that benefit to the prosecution and denying it to the appellant because the trial Court itself had observed, in other parts of the impugned judgment, that 'the appellant had been appearing before it and it was observed that he (the appellant) was not a normal person and that he was very much subdued and had remained absolutely unmindful from the proceedings which were taken against him : that ha was not fully cured from the disease and he became insane when he suffered from the fits of epilepsy and that when the fit was over he would become mentally sane but the effect of the fit or the attack did remain and made him weak, dull and sullen'. In view of those observations made by the trial Court, and also in view of the past history of the disease of the appellant, coupled with the other evidence on the file, disclosing conduct of the appellant prior to, at the time of, and after the commission of the offence and his mental condition as found by the doctor, though after a lapse of considerable time from the commission of offence, as has been discussed above, I have no hesitation in coming to a finding that the appellant was under the fit of epilepsy at the time of occurrence and as a result of that he was incapable of knowing the nature of his acts of causing fatal injuries with Kassi to Pritam Singh by reason of unsoundness of mind. Under these circumstances, the provisions of Section 84, Indian Penal Code, can safely be invoked in this case and the appellant is entitled to acquittal on that account.

16. In the result, this appeal is accepted and the conviction and sentence of the appellant are set aside and he is acquitted of the charge.

Bhopinder Singh Dhillon, J.

17. I agree.


Save Judgments// Add Notes // Store Search Result sets // Organizer Client Files //