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Sukhvinder Singh and ors. Vs. State of Punjab - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
CourtPunjab and Haryana High Court
Decided On
Reported in1981CriLJ840
AppellantSukhvinder Singh and ors.
RespondentState of Punjab
.....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..........are inter-related. sukhvinder singh and gurmej singh, aged 19 and 17. are brothers. their nephew balbir singh is aged 16. their other relation surjit rai alias sita is aged 18. except for gurmej singh, others were/are stated to be students. the victim of the crime was gurdev raj (p. w. 9). the prosecution case was thus:gurdev raj was statedly friendly with balbir singh and sita appellants. about a month prior to the occurrence, gurdev raj got an imported under-shirt from his uncle. the same was taken over by balbir singh appellant for temporary wear, but he did not return it despite gurdev raj's repeated asking. on that account, they had quarrelled also and exchanged hot words when gurdev raj had lodged a protest at the house of balbir singh to his family members. on that account.....

M.M. Punchhi, J.

1. This judgment will, dispose of Criminal Appeals Nos. 635 and 643 of 1979, since they arise out of the same judgment and order passed by the Additional Sessions Judge, Jullundur, whereby the appellants of both the appeals were convicted under Sections 307, 326 and 324, Indian Penal Code, some with and others without the aid of Section 34, Indian Penal Code, and variously sentenced (as disclosed in the judgment under appeal).

2. The appellants are four in number. They are inter-related. Sukhvinder Singh and Gurmej Singh, aged 19 and 17. are brothers. Their nephew Balbir Singh is aged 16. Their other relation Surjit Rai alias Sita is aged 18. Except for Gurmej Singh, others were/are stated to be students. The victim of the crime was Gurdev Raj (P. W. 9). The prosecution case was thus:

Gurdev Raj was statedly friendly with Balbir Singh and Sita appellants. About a month prior to the occurrence, Gurdev Raj got an imported under-shirt from his uncle. The same was taken over by Balbir Singh appellant for temporary wear, but he did not return it despite Gurdev Raj's repeated asking. On that account, they had quarrelled also and exchanged hot words when Gurdev Raj had lodged a protest at the house of Balbir Singh to his family members. On that account Balbir Singh was alleged to entertain a grudge, but apparently they kept being on talking terms. At about 8 P. M. on 30-8-1978, Gurdev Raj in the company of Balbir Singh and Sita appellants, who were armed with a Kirpan and a datar respectively, was out on a stroll on a road proceeding from their village Garri Baksha to village Rozha. On both sides of the road, orchards fell. One such orchard was on lease with Lal Chand (P. W. 8). Another such orchard was on lease with Pritam Dass and Dheru Ram P. Ws. The lessees lived in their respective orchards to look after their leased properties. At that time, the aforesaid three lessees, being Dheru Ram, Lal Chand and Pritam Dass, were casually standing on the road talking to each other. The trio of Gurdev Raj victim and Balbir Singh and Sita appellants passed by their side. Lal Chand P. W. questioned Gurdev Raj as to where were those going and he was told that they were going for an evening stroll. After about five or seven minutes, an alarm of Gurdev Raj P. W. was heard 'save me save me' and those three P. Ws. went towards that side. They found near the boundary of the field of one Sadhu Singh, Gurdev Raj (P. W. 9) being confronted with the four appellants as apparently Sukhvinder Singh and Gunnel Singh armed with datar and kirpan respectively had joined Balbir Singh and Sita appellants who were already armed. Balbir Singh appellant raised an exhortation that Gurdev Raj should not be allowed to go alive and should be taught a lesson for seeking the return of the under-shirt. It is then that Gurmej Singh gave a kirpan blow on the head of Gurdev Raj, but it was received by the victim on his right hand. Similarly, Sita aimed a datar blow on the head of Gurdev Raj, but the victim raised his left hand and received the injury there. Balbir Singh gave a kirpan blow hitting on the back of the neck of the victim. He then fell down on the ground. While he was so lying, Sukhvinder Singh appellant gave two datar blows on Gurdev Raj hitting him on his head and left elbow. Pritam Dass, Dheru Ram and Lal Chand P. Ws. witnessed the occurrence. The appellants then left the place of occurrence with their respective weapons. The injured was removed to the village and then to Primary Health Centre at Kala Bakra where he was medically examined. Since the condition of the injured was serious, he was referred to Civil Hospital, Jullundur. The father of the injured, however. deputed Lal Chand P. W. to go to Police Station, Bhogpur and lodge a report. On the way, Lal Chand P. W. met Gurbachan Singh A.S.I. at Bus Stand, Bhogpur where he gave statement, Exhibit P. H./2, a.t 1.25 A. M. which became the basis of the first information report.

3. Dr. Prem Parkash (P. W. 1) of the Primary Health Centre, Kala Bakra, on examination of Gurdev Raj injured at, 10 P. M. on 30th August, 1978 found the following injuries on his person:

1. An incised wound 13 cm. x 5 cm. x 3 cm. present on the left side of neck behind left ear. Bone underneath was cut.

2. An incised wound 3 cm. x 1 cm. x 1 cm. present on the anterior aspe.ct of first phalanx of right ring finger. Bone underneath cut.

3. An incised wound 2 cm. x 1 cm. x 1 cm. present on anterior aspect of middle finger on first phalanx of right side. Bone underneath was cut. Bleeding was present.

4. An incised wound 2 cm. x 1 cm. x 1 cm. present on anterior aspect of first phalanx of right index finger. Bone underneath was cut.

5. The index finger of left hand is completely amputated. A tag of skin was only hanging. Bleeding was there.

6. An incised wound 4 cm. x 2 cm. x 2 cm. present on outer side of left elbow joint.

7. An abrasion 6 cm. x 1 cm. present on the outer side of left arm leading from 6th injury.

8. An incised wound 5 cm. x 2 cm. x 1 cm. present on the centre of vertex. Bleeding was there.

9. An abrasion 4 cm. x 3 cm. was present on left occipital region.

Injuries Nos. 1 to 5 were found by him to be grievous. He opined that the injuries on the person of the injured were dangerous to life and since there was imminant danger of his death, he was advised to be taken to Jullundur. Dr. B. S. Parmar (P. W. 2), Surgical Specialist, Civil Hospital, Jullundur, operated upon the injured, but despite adequate medical aid rendered gave the opinion that there was permanent loss of the left hand index finger and the fingers of the right hand had developed loss of function which were required to be reconstructed and reoperated upon.

4. A. S. I. Gurbachan Singh (P. W. 11) after recording the statement of Lal Chand (P. W. 8) and sending the same for formal registration of the case proceeded to the dace of occurrence. Blood-stained earth was taken into possession therefrom. He came to Jullundur and, on obtaining the requisite fitness certificate of the doctor, recorded statement of the injured and also of his father Mohan Lal. He arrested the accused on 7-9-1978. On 9-9-1978, Balbir Singh appellant made a disclosure statement that he had kept concealed a kirpan in the sugarcane field of Kundan Singh and could get the same recovered. And in pursuance thereof he did get recovered kirpan, Exhibit P. 1, which was found to be blood-stained. The disclosure statement as also the recovery memo, Exhibit P. E. and Exhibit P. E./l respectively, were attested by Ujagar Singh and Desondha Singh P. Ws. The other weapons of the remaining three accused could not be recovered.

5. At the trial, the prosecution examined the injured Gurdev Raj (P. W. 9) who gave statement substantially on the same lines as given out in the early part of the judgment. It was fully corroborated by Lal Chand (P. W. 8) and Dheru Ram (P. W. 10) against whom not a breach of enmity could be poured out. The medical evidence of the nature afore-indicated was given by Dr. Prem Parkash (P. W. 1) and Dr. B. S. Parmar (P. W. 2). Bachna Ram (P, W. 4), Dasondha Singh (P. W. 6) deposed to the recovery of blood-stained earth and blood-stained Kirpan respectively. Not a word was suggested against them as to why they should be deposing against the appellants. Gurbachan Singh (P. W. 11) gave out the details of the investigation. When confronted with the prosecution case, Balbir Singh appellant maintained that some unknown assailants had caused injuries to Gurdev Raj in the darkness and that he was innocent of the crime. He suggested that he had been falsely implicated due to party faction on the asking of the grandfather of Gurdev Raj P. W. and the latter's brother as they were inimical towards his family. Same was the stance of Surjit Rai, Sukhvinder Singh and Gurmej Singh appellants. No worthwhile defence was led by the appellants.

6. Now in appeal, the learned Counsel for the appellants has taken me through the evidence led by the prosecution and in particular that of the in-iured. The statement of the injured and the statements of the eye-witnesses are so clear, consistent and natural that there is no escape from placing complete reliance thereon. Nothing has been suggested in their cross-examination nor could any comment be offered by the learned Counsel for the appellants as to in what way could they be discredited. Gurdev Raj was a friend of Balbir Singh and Surjit Rai. Being a young man of 20 years of age, he had no reason to suspect motives of the aforesaid two appellants despite their being armed, when he had gone out with them on a stroll. The fact that he had been taken out on a stroll with a pre-design is proved by the emergence of Sukhwinder Singh and Gurmei Singh appellants who are the uncles of Balbir Singh appellant and were obviously prepared to share community of interest with him. The first information report came to be lodged with utmost promptitude and in the same all the four appellants have been denounced as the culprits. The number of injuries found on Gurdev Raj P. W. is corroborative of his version at the trial that all the four appellants had participated in the crime. Thus the conviction of the appellants is well based and calls for being maintained.

7. The learned Counsel for the appellant then prayed for leniency in sentence of the appellants predominantly on the ground that they were young men and below 21 years of age. It was also stated at the bar that out of them, Sukhwinder Singh and Surjit Singh were students of M. A. classes and if they are now incarcerated, it will affect their studies. On the other hand, the learned Counsel for the State contended that the injured had lost proper utility of his hands rendering his most important limbs permanently deformed and weakened and on that score the appellants deserved no leniency. It was also highlighted that it is with the aids of hands alone that predominantly one earns one's bread and carries out his day-to-day affairs. On careful consideration of this aspect of the case. I am inclined to agree with the learned Counsel for the State. Though retribution is not the main plank of sentencing justice but the criminal propensities of the offender may sometimes impel the Court his segregation from society. So far nothing worthwhile is available for the purpose except incarceration in the four walls of the prison. It is patent that Balbir Singh and Surjit Singh appellants abused the trust towards their friend and the remaining two joined them in the murderous assault. Had Lal Chand and Dharu Ram witnesses not reached there in time, he was bound to be killed by them. The crime was not impulsive but a calculated one. The comparative young age of the appellants pales into insignificance when viewed with the substratum of the crime.

8. At the same time it was suggested by the learned Counsel that the appellants were in a position to pay some compensation to the injured and some leniency towards the substantive sentence was called for. Taking avail of that suggestion and employing the principles of victimology, it would be appropriate to reduce the substantive sentence of Balbir Singh appellant under Section 307, Indian Penal Code, and the remaining appellants under Section 307/34, Indian Penal Code, to three years rigorous imprisonment each. The fine thereunder would, however, be trebled. Balbir Singh appellant would now pay a fine of Rs. 1500/- and the remaining three appellants a fine of Rs. 900/- each under their respective counts. In default, nine months and six months rigorous imprisonment respectively. Remaining sentences of the appellants under the other counts are left unaltered. The total fine now imposed comes to Rs. 6,600/-. If recovered wholly or partially, let the same be given over to Gurdev Rai as compensation.

9. Subject to the aforesaid reduction in sentence, these appeals otherwise fail and are hereby dismissed.

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