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

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCriminal
CourtSupreme Court of India
Decided On
Case NumberCriminal Appeal No. 33 of 1968
Judge
Reported in(1970)3SCC197
ActsIndian Penal Code (IPC), 1860 - Sections 326, 325, 324, Read With 34, 148, 149
AppellantAjit Singh and ors.
RespondentState of Punjab
DispositionAppeal Dismissed
Excerpt:
.....of causing injury by ajit singh on the right leg of jawand singh. responsibility for the injury caused on the left wrist of jawand singh. causing of injury by mohan singh accused on the left leg of jawand singh......for the injury caused on the left wrist of jawand singh.6. causing of injury by mohan singh accused on the left leg of jawand singh.7. causing of injury by takwa blow by bira accused.8. giving of takwa blow on the hand of jawand singh.9. causing of lathi blow on the person of rajinder singh.10. taking the injured person to home. by whom and how?11. presence of blood at the spot and in the home.12. presence of blood on the clothes of the injured.13. the story of cot.14. the story of taking the injured.”he did not examine the case of the prosecution as a whole, and, in our opinion, the high court rightly criticised this method of dealing with the prosecution case. the high court was perhaps forced also to discuss the reasons given by the learned judicial magistrate in.....
Judgment:

S.M. SIKRI, J.

1.This appeal by special leave is from the judgment of the High Court for the State of Punjab and Haryana accepting the State appeal and convicting the present appellants under Section 326, read with Section 34 and under Section 325, read with Section 34 IPC The three appellants had purchased about 16 acres of agricultural land from Joginder Kaur and Lakhwinder Kaur in the area of Village Hasirowwala. Mohinder Singh, PW 1 and Phuman Singh, PW 8, were in possession and instituted a suit for presumption on the ground that the land was comprised in their tenancy. This suit was pending when this occurrence took place.

2. Six persons were sent up by the Sultanpur Lodhi Police to stand their trial under Sections 324, 325 and 326, read with Sections 148 and 149 IPC. The learned Judicial Magistrate acquitted all the six accused. The State filed an appeal against three accused appellants before us, which, as we have already stated, was accepted by the High Court.

3. In brief, the case of the prosecution was that on April 29, 1964 at about 9 a.m., the appellants started ploughing the land bought by them, by force. Jawand Singh, PW 6, tried to stop them and told them to desist from ploughing the land pending the decision of the suit for presumption. The accused, however, hurled abuses. In the meantime the three accused who have been acquitted came armed. The assault is described by PW 2, who seems to be an independent witness, thus: “Jit Singh picked up a Kirpan kept nearby and Amar Singh and Pritam Singh picked up Lathies. Jit Singh saying that the old bloody man was the source of all trouble and that he should be finished gave a Kirpan blow to Jawand Singh on his right leg. On receiving the injury he fell down. Mohinder Singh slipped forward to rescue him, whereupon Beer Singh gave him a Takwa blow on his left leg from behind. Mohan Singh gave a Kirpan blow to Jawand Singh on his left leg. Amar Singh and Pritam Singh gave one Lathi blow each to Jawand Singh on his left wrist joint as a result of which his wrist joint got fractured. Thereafter Amar Singh gave a dang blow to Harjinder Singh on his right leg. He also fell down. Ram Singh gave a Takwa blow to Jawand Singh on his right hand. We raised an alarm saying Mar Diya (killed-killed) and pushed the accused back with great difficulty”. The prosecution case further was that Jawand Singh was placed on a cot and taken to his house and from his house he was taken to the hospital. Mohinder Singh was also taken to the hospital where his statement was taken down and this statement was treated as first information report on the basis of which investigation started. The Police went to the site of the occurrence but did not take into possession any blood from the land.

4. It is necessary to reproduce the injuries on the victims because the learned Counsel for the appellants has tried to raise an important argument on the basis of the injuries. Dr Kalra, PW 4, deposed that on April 29, 1964, he examined Jawand Singh and found the following injuries on his person:

“1. An incised wound 11 cm. × 6 cm. muscle cut elliptical in shape in its upper 1/3rd part of left leg on its posterior surface. Pursued bleeding in the wound. Wound is stitched in layer.

2. An incised wound 5 cm. × 1 cm. bone cut on the interior surface of right leg in its upper 1/3rd part. Piece of the bone has been taken out from the wound. Margin of the wound is appealable by the dingier examination. Most probably piece is of right tibial bone. Plain X-ray require for any evidence of fracture. Piece of bone has been handed over to the police under sealed bottle cover.

3. Deformity of the left wrist joint is present. Swelling around the wrist joint is present by 4 cm. × 3 cm. Collis fracture of the left joint is suspected. Plain X-ray of the left wrist joint to be taken for any evidence of fracture lower end of the radius ulna or any wrist joint bones.

4. An incised wound of 3½ cm. × 2 mm. skin deep on the interior surface of the right hand 4 cm. from the base of the right little finger transverse in nature. Wound stitched.

5. Two lacerated injuries on the base of right middle finger and the right ring finger transverse in nature. First is 2 cm. × 2 mm. Second is 2½ cm. × 2 mm. wound stitched.”

He described Injury 2 as grievous. Injury 3 was kept under observation and he described Injuries 1, 4 and 5 as simple. According to him, Injuries 1, 2 and 4 were caused by a sharp weapon and Injuries 5 and 3 by a blunt weapon. He took an X-ray of the right leg and from the X-ray he found a small cut, about 1/6th inch in the cortex of tibia in its upper part and on this finding he declared Injury 3 as grievous.

5. The injury on Rajinder Singh was described as follows: “A swelling around the right ankle joint 4 cm. x 3 cm. is present mainly on the medial side of right ankle. A contused area 6 cm. × 2 cm. on the posterior surface of right leg in its lower 1/3rd part of it. Transverse in nature”

6. Mohinder Singh's injury was described thus: “An incised wound of 5 cm. × 1.5 cm. elliptical in shape transverse in position. On the posterior surface middle part of the left leg. Both the end of it have a tail of cut. The wound is only skin deep. The wound has been stitched by me. Wound also shows clotted blood in it”

Dr Kalra was cross-examined in order to establish that these injuries were self-suffered or self-inflicted. He deposed that neither Rajinder Singh' injury nor Mohinder Singh's injury could be self-inflicted or self-suffered. He was also cross-examined to establish that the story about the piece of bone having been removed and handed over to the police was false but he stuck to his version, as stated in his examination-in-chief.

7. The defence examined Dr Pritam Singh, Radiologist, who had X-rayed Jawand Singh's right leg and, according to him, he found no evidence of fracture in the upper part of the leg. Confronted with the earlier skiagram, he said: “There is a partial cut of 1/6″ in an upper part of the tibia but this cut could not be seen in the X-ray taken by me. Probably it might have healed as it was so small”.

8. One other point which the learned Counsel mentioned in connection with the injuries was that it has not been established that Injury 3 on Jawand Singh was the result of two blows, as deposed by the witnesses. No such question was asked from Dr Kalra and therefore the learned Counsel is not entitled to raise this point.

9. The learned Counsel urged that the injuries in this case have been self-inflicted. We are unable to agree with him in this respect. Not only has the doctor given opinion on this fact, but we are also not inclined to believe that Jawand Singh would let himself be injured in the way in which he was actually injured. There are five eye-witnesses who support the prosecution story; three are injured persons and Amar Singh, PW 2 and Banta Singh, PW 3, seem to be quite independent. They were both working near about the place of occurrence.

10. The learned Judicial Magistrate adopted a curious method of judging the prosecution case. He listed about 14 points and then dealt with each point separately. The points which he took were:

“1. The presence of the witnesses at the spot. Their order of reaching there.

2. Possibility of causing injury by Ajit Singh on the right leg of Jawand Singh.

3. Giving of Lalkara. By whom?

4. Presence of the accused at spot.

5. Responsibility for the injury caused on the left wrist of Jawand Singh.

6. Causing of injury by Mohan Singh accused on the left leg of Jawand Singh.

7. Causing of injury by Takwa blow by Bira accused.

8. Giving of Takwa blow on the hand of Jawand Singh.

9. Causing of Lathi blow on the person of Rajinder Singh.

10. Taking the injured person to home. By whom and how?

11. Presence of blood at the spot and in the home.

12. Presence of blood on the clothes of the injured.

13. The story of cot.

14. The story of taking the injured.”

He did not examine the case of the prosecution as a whole, and, in our opinion, the High Court rightly criticised this method of dealing with the prosecution case. The High Court was perhaps forced also to discuss the reasons given by the learned Judicial Magistrate in respect of each point, but perhaps it would have been better to have dealt with the evidence as a whole.

11. We have looked into the evidence and we find that there is no reason why we should not believe the evidence of Amar Singh, Banta Singh and the three injured witnesses.

12. The learned Counsel urged that the story of the prosecution is not probable because no blood had been found from the site of the occurrence. But there is no reason to disbelieve PW 2 and PW 3 when they say that the accused stayed behind and destroyed the evidence by ploughing the land when the police came there was neither any blood nor the foot prints of the bullocks, apparently because the accused had cleared the site the next day.

13. The learned Counsel then urged that the police did not take any blood from the house of the injured persons where they were taken after the assault. We do not see why the police should have bothered to take any blood from the house because if the prosecution case is false and the injuries were self-inflicted blood would be present in the house in that eventuality also.

14. The learned Counsel then said that three accused persons have been acquitted on the same evidence and that weakens the evidence of the alleged eyewitnesses. The High Court has distinguished the case of those accused persons because they had no motive whatsoever. But we are at present not concerned whether those persons were guilty or not guilty. The present appellants had motive and were likely to have committed the assault.

15. The last point which the learned Counsel urged was that the injured persons went to the hospital rather than to the police station. We see no force in this point. It is not necessary that the injured witnesses should first go to the police station. The other witnesses were not really interested in the dispute and they chose not to go to the police station. We cannot draw any adverse inference from their behaviour.

16. In the result the appeal fails and is dismissed. The bail bonds are cancelled.


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