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Baldev Singh Vs. the State of Himachal Pradesh - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCriminal
CourtHimachal Pradesh High Court
Decided On
Judge
Reported in1976CriLJ758
AppellantBaldev Singh
RespondentThe State of Himachal Pradesh
Excerpt:
- .....were examined, however, he made a clean breast of the thing. he admitted that he forged the grazing permits with the object of misappropriating the grazing fee. however, the prosecution produced several witnesses including ilam din (p.w. 1), jamal din (p.w. 2), rahim bux (p.w. 3) aziz (p.w. 4), mussadi (p.w. 5) and mohammadu (p.w. 6). most of them were graziers and they proved the forged permits and further stated that they made payments of various fees to the accused. they had gone to the range officer at bhandal for renewal of permits. sudesh raj (p.w. 7) a clerk in the office of the divisional forest officer, chamba proved the handwriting and signatures of the accused on the forged permits. the prosecution witnesses were not cross-examined by the accused.5. it is much less true.....
Judgment:

D.B. Lal, J.

1. This is an appeal directed against the Judgment of the Special Judge, Kangra wherein the appellant Baldev Singh has been convicted under Sections 420, 467, 468 and 471 of the I. P-Code as well as Section 5(2) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, and has been sentenced to an imprisonment tin the rising of the Court and to pay Rs. 400/-as fine under each count, in default to undergo imprisonment for four months under each count.

2. After the appeal was heard, the judgment was pronounced on March 24, 1975 which was to the effect that the appeal was dismissed but modification was made in the sentence of fine awarded inasmuch as the total fine was not to exceed Rs. 600/-. At present I am proposing to give my reasons for that judgment.

3. The case of the prosecution was that between the year 1965 and 1967 the accused Baldev Singh was posted as Forest Guard in Kihar forest (Chamba). While performing the duty of Forest Guard, he collected a sum of Rs. 1,164.62 P as grazing fee from several person. This was done under certain Forest rules whereby a grazing fee is charged from persons doing grazing inside forest areas-The accused issued permits Exs. P. 1 to P. 28 and P.A. to P.C. to these, graziers. These permits were really forged ones and the purpose was to cheat the Government of the grazing-fee. When the graziers went to the Range Officer, Bhandal for renewal of permits, the forgery was detected and the permits were held back. On these facts, Baldev Singh was prosecuted for the various offences delineated above.

4. At first the accused denied his guilt. After six of the prosecution witnesses were examined, however, he made a clean breast of the thing. He admitted that he forged the grazing permits with the object of misappropriating the grazing fee. However, the prosecution produced several witnesses including Ilam Din (P.W. 1), Jamal Din (P.W. 2), Rahim Bux (P.W. 3) Aziz (P.W. 4), Mussadi (P.W. 5) and Mohammadu (P.W. 6). Most of them were graziers and they proved the forged permits and further stated that they made payments of various fees to the accused. They had gone to the Range Officer at Bhandal for renewal of permits. Sudesh Raj (P.W. 7) a Clerk In the office of the Divisional Forest Officer, Chamba proved the handwriting and signatures of the accused on the forged permits. The prosecution witnesses were not cross-examined by the accused.

5. It is much less true to say that cross-examination of a witness is allowed with the avowed object of testing his veracity and if in any case the witness Ss not cross-examined, unless his statement suffers from inherent improbability, it should be presumed that whatever he stated is accepted as true by the person afforded opportunity to cross-examine him. Therefore, a presumption can be raised against the accused that whatever the witnesses stated was true and he did commit the offence.

6. It Is, therefore, abundantly clear that the offences imputed against the accused were made out and he was rightly convicted by the learned Special Judge. As regards the sentence, however, a lenient view can be taken. The accus- ed himself made an application that he wanted to give a statement admitting his guilt He has paid all the amount back to the Government. As observed by the learned Special Judge, he was not given a term of imprisonment because he has a large family to support. He is already dismissed from service. In the circumstances, I reduce the sentence of fine to Rs. 100/- for each count under Sections 420, 467, 468 and 471 of the I.P. Code. In default of payment of such fine, the sentence will be one month under each count. However, the sentence of imprisonment till the rising of the court for these offences is maintained. Similarly the sentence awarded under Section 5(2) of the Prevention of Corruption Act is also maintained. With this modification, regarding the sentence, the appeal is dismissed.


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