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Paras Ram Vs. the State of Himachal Pradesh - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCriminal
CourtHimachal Pradesh High Court
Decided On
Judge
Reported in1973CriLJ428
AppellantParas Ram
RespondentThe State of Himachal Pradesh
Cases ReferredPershadi v. State of Uttar Pradesh
Excerpt:
- .....accused by the police and they also took the blood-stained earth from the spot and prepared the inquest report and sent the dead body to nalagarh for post-mortem examination. the lady-doctor on autopsy being conducted found the following injuries on the person of the deceased:1. a wound 5' x 1 1' on front of the chest and outer two-thirds of the clavicle bone opening up sub-clavian vessels and cutting the bone.2. 3' x 1' x 1' on the lower one-third of right forearm on its inner aspect. ulnar vessels cut through.3. 1 ' x 1' x ' on the right side of the neck at its lower 1/3rd on its outer side.4. 2' x 1' x 1' on the upper 1/3rd of neck on its left side. no vessels opened up.5. back of left shoulder 2' x 1' x 1' longitudinal wound, outer end of the shoulder bone cut through. no vessels.....
Judgment:

Chet Ram Thakur, J.

1. This is an appeal by Paras Ram. son of Mangal Ram, aged 30 years, resident of village Manakpur, against his conviction under Section 302 and sentence of imprisonment for life, passed by the Sessions Judge, Simla, on 6th January, 1971 for having caused the murder of his wife, Sito, aged 22 years on the 21st May, 1970 at 10 A.M. at his house in village Manakpur. Tehsil Nalagarh.

2. The facts as have appeared In the evidence are briefly as under:

On 21st May, 1970, at about 10 A.M. Gian Chand and Nanak were returning to their houses along with their cattle from Manakpur Khud Jeonu was with Nanak. The houses of Nanak and Gian Chand are near the house of the accused. When these three persons were near the house of the accused they heard the cries, 'Mar Diya Mar Diya; Bachao Bachao' from the house of the accused. Gian Chand went into the house of the accused. He was followed by Nanak Chand and Jeonu. They saw the accused giving Kirpan blows to his wife, Sito who was shouting. 'Chhudao Chhudao'. In the presence of these three witnesses, the accused gave one Kirpan blow on the right hand of Sito. one blow near the left shoulder and the third blow on the neck. Gian Chand caught hold of the accused from the back side and Jeonu snatched the Kirpan from the hand of the accused. Thereafter Nanak and Jeonu lifted Sito and laid her on a cot in the verandah. The tehmat (P. 5), shirt (P. 6) and jacket (P. 7) which were on the person of the accused at the time of occurrence Sot besmeared with blood, Gian Chand left the accused and the in-lured under the guard of Nanak and Jeonu and himself left for the police station. Nalagarh and lodged the report Exhibit P.D. at 12.25 P.M. Accompanied by Kashmir Singh S.I. (P.W. 13), Gian Chand came back to the spot.

The police arrested the accused and the blood-stained Kirpan was taken into possession from Jeonu and the bloodstained clothes, tehmat (P. 5). shrit (P. 6) and jacket (P. 7) were also taken into possession from the person of the accused by the police and they also took the blood-stained earth from the spot and prepared the inquest report and sent the dead body to Nalagarh for post-mortem examination. The lady-doctor on autopsy being conducted found the following injuries on the person of the deceased:

1. A wound 5' x 1 1' on front of the chest and outer two-thirds of the clavicle bone opening up sub-clavian vessels and cutting the bone.

2. 3' x 1' x 1' on the lower one-third of right forearm on its inner aspect. Ulnar vessels cut through.

3. 1 ' x 1' x ' on the right side of the neck at its lower 1/3rd on its outer side.

4. 2' x 1' x 1' on the upper 1/3rd of neck on its left side. No vessels opened up.

5. Back of left shoulder 2' x 1' x 1' longitudinal wound, outer end of the shoulder bone cut through. No vessels opened up.

6. ' x ' x on the upper and outer part of the left arm.

7. Back of the head 1' x ' x ' skull bone underneath with linear cut x 1/12 x 1/12'.

It was opined by her that the injuries has been caused with a sharp-edged weapon and the injuries were sufficient in the ordinary course of nature to cause death. It was further opined that death was due to haeomorrhage and shock and that the injuries found on the person of the deceased could be caused by the Kirpan (P. 1).

3. The accused pleaded complete denial of knowledge about everything. However, in his supplementary statement, he admitted that he was arrested from his house on 21st May, 1970 at about 1.30 P M. In answer to a question, he has denied that he was kept under surveillance of Nanak and Jeonu in his house till the arrival of the police. He stated that he was sitting in the verandah of his own accord. He refused to give any defence.

4. The prosecution relied for the proof of the case on:

(a) the testimony of the eye witnesses, namely Gian Chand (P.W. 2), Nanak (P.W. 3) and Jeonu (P.W. 4);

(b) the extra-judicial confession made by the accused before Nanak (P.W. 3), Pohu Ram (P.W. 10) and Ram Rattan (P.W. 11);

(c) the dying declaration made by Sito before P.Ws. 3, 4, 10 and 11;

(d) the recovery of the blood-stained clothes from the person of the accused; and

(e) the motive.

The learned Sessions Judge found after discussion of the evidence of P.Ws. 2, 3 and 4 that they had witnessed the occurrence and that there was no reason for all these witnesses to depose falsely in respect of the occurrence. As for the dying declaration he found that in so far as the statements of P.Ws. 3 and 4 were concerned there was no cogent reason to disbelieve their statements. However, he refrained from relying on the statements of P.Ws. 10 and 11. He also found that the recovery of the bloodstained clothes from the person of the accused stood proved and that the accused had offered no explanation as to how his clothes were stained with blood and that it was a very important substantial piece of evidence against the accused.

He also placed reliance on the statements of P.Ws. 3 and 4 with regard to the extra-judicial confession made by the accused before P.Ws. 2, 3 and 4; but he did not place reliance for this piece of evidence on the testimony of P.Ws. 10 and 11. In respect of motive he found that the prosecution case was that on the day of occurrence, the accused had asked the deceased to serve him food. The deceased was feeding her child and she told the accused that she would prepare the food after feeding the child. The accused lost his temper and gave a number of Kirpan blows to the deceased. It is said that the motive suggested by the prosecution was not such as could have prompted a man to take the life of his wife. There was no clear evidence on, the record to show as to what was the immediate cause leading to the incident On a consideration of the entire evidence, he was of the view that the prosecution had brought the charge home to the accused beyond reasonable doubt. He, therefore, convicted the accused and imposed the sentence of imprisonment for life.

5. The learned Counsel for the appellant contended that the statements of the eye-witnesses suffer from several infirmities and do not carry conviction. The criticism against the statement of P.W. 2 was. firstly, that there was no occasion for him to have taken his cattle to the Khud for water when his son was present there at his house. The witness has stated in cross-examination that 'normally my son takes the cattle for drinking the water, when my son is not in the house. I take the cattle for drinking the water'. This criticism that only the son could take the cattle to the Khud for water and not the father in the presence of the son does not appear to be a very cogent and weighty argument because the presence of the son does not exclude the possibility that the father could take the cattle to the Khud for water. The witness has only stated that that was the normal practice but there can be a departure from that practice.

I normally take my cattle for drinking water at 12 noon.

This statement, therefore, makes it all the more clear that it is not only the son who takes the cattle to the Khud for water; the father also took the cattle. Therefore the statement of the witness that normally his son took the cattle for drinking water will not detract from the truthfulness of the prosecution story. The second criticism levelled was that on the previous day, i.e. on the 29th May. there was a heavy shower and the fields of P.W. 2 were flooded with water and he had thrashed half of his wheat crop and the remaining was left un-thrashed and that on the day of occurrence he had gone to his thrashing-floor early in the morning and he worked at the thrashing-floor on that day. So, according to learned counsel, if that was so then this witness could not be expected to have gone towards the Khud and could not have witnessed the occurrence. This very point was sought to be argued before the learned Sessions Judge, but the criticism was not accepted as tenable, inasmuch as It was the month of May when it is very hot in the plains and the villagers start their usual work early in the morning and it is not unusual for them to take their cattle to the pond at about mid day and then take the cattle back home. I have no reason to disagree with the observations made by the learned Sessions Judge. It is probable that the witness attended to his agricultural work in the field in the early morning and at about 9 or 10 A.M. when it got quite hot as is usual for agriculturists he laid off work with the intention of restarting it in the afternoon. If the witness has stated that he was working in the field throughout the day that does not mean that he did not lay off work for an interval and did not take the cattle to the Khud after it became very hot. The same criticism has been levelled against the testimony of P.Ws. 3 and 4 and for the same reason it must be rejected.

6. The further criticism levelled against the statement of P.W. 4 is that he is a relation of Nandu, the father of the deceased and on that account his evidence should not be believed because he must be taken to be biased in favour of Nandu, whose daughter has died, and therefore, prejudiced against the accused. This argument does not carry any weight, unless the credit of the witness can be said to have been shaken in cross-examination. Merely because he happened to be a relation of the father of the deceased, his testimony cannot be discarded on that account. It has been held by their Lordships of the Supreme Court in Darya Singh v. State of Punjab : [1964]3SCR397 . that in a trial for the offence of murder when evidence is given by near relatives of the victim and the murder is alleged to have been committed by the enemy of the family, criminal Courts must examine the evidence of the interested witnesses, like the relatives of the victim, very carefully, but a person may be interested in the victim, being his relation or otherwise, and may not necessarily be hostile to the accused. In that case, the fact that the witness was related to the victim or was his friend, may not necessarily introduce any infirmity in his evidence. In dealing with such evidence Courts, naturally begin with the enquiry as to whether the said witnesses were chance-witnesses or whether they were really present on the scene of the offence. If the criminal Court is satisfied that the witness who is related to the victim was not a chance-witness, then his evidence has to be examined from the point of view of probabilities and the account given by him as to the assault has to be carefully scrutinized. In the present case, it will be noticed that the victim is the own wife of the accused and the murder took place at the house of the accused itself and the witness has stated that he had gone there to take the bullocks from Nanak to thrash his wheat. There does not appear to be anything improbable if the witness had gone to Nanak to take his bullocks for thrashing the wheat. It is a general custom among agriculturists to lend their cattle to each other for thrashing the crop during the harvesting season. Nothing has been elicited in his cross-examination to doubt his statement. He has also stated that he had no relationship with Nandu the father of the deceased, although he belongs to his brotherhood, that is he belongs td the same Gujjar community to which Nandu belongs and apart from that he has no other relationship with him. So the criticism levelled by the learned Counsel for the appellant for doubting his testimony cannot be accepted.

7. The further argument raised by learned Counsel for the appellant is that all these three witnesses, P.Ws. 2, 3 and 4 mention that three injuries were caused by the accused, while P.W. 1 makes mention of several injuries. But it is apparent from the statements of the witnesses that they heard the cries of Sito from inside the house. 'Mar Diya, Mar Diya' and she called for rescue, which means that prior to the arrival of the witnesses the accused had already caused some injuries to the deceased. Again, it has very strenuously been urged that one of the witnesses, i.e. P.W. 4, has stated that the accused gave two more blows to the deceased by way of thrusts with the Kirpan. Much capital is sought to be made of this statement. According to learned Counsel if the witness was present and had witnessed the occurrence the truth of his statement would be borne out by the discovery of wounds showing that sharp instrument had been poked into the body, and it is pointed out that the doctor has not stated so. This submission is also not tenable because there is nothing to indicate why the witness should tell a lie and falsely implicate the accused. It depends on the power of observation of the witness. Every witness on the scene of occurrence cannot give an identical account of what happened, and variations are bound to exist especially with the lapse of time when their statements are recorded after a long period after the date of occurrence.

In the present case the occurrence took place on the 21st May, 1970 and their statements were recorded in the Court on 1st January 1971. The witnesses are illiterate. Moreover, when they had gone inside the house on hearing the alarm raised by Sito they could not be expected to stand there as silent spectators. They were anxious to rescue the deceased from the attacks of the assailant, and, therefore, they could not be sure as to which part of the body was hit and in what manner the injuries were caused. The evidence shows that P.W. 2 went to the rear and over-powered the accused and P.W. 4 snatched away the Kirpan from the hand of the accused. In these circumstances it will be unreasonable to expect the witnesses to give an accurate account of the number of injuries and indicate accurately the particular portions of the body where the Injuries were caused. On the contrary, such discrepancies in the statements point to their truth rather than any falsehood. It is only in the case of tutored witnesses that the statements flow parrot-like without any contradiction or discrepancy. Hence, I am not persuaded to accept this contention of the appellant's learned Counsel that the statements of the witnesses should not be believed because in some particulars they run counter to the medical evidence.

8. Much capital is also sought to be made of the fact that the doctor had stated that the inquest report had not been received by her along with the request Exhibit P.C. for post-mortem examination and that the omission to send this inquest report was fatal, because it suggested that the police had fabricated the case in the inquest report at a subsequent stage. Support is sought from Gurdev Singh v. The State (1963) 65 Punj LR 409, in which it has been held that the inquest report is a document of vital Importance and has to be prepared promptly because it has to be sent to the doctor along with the dead body when the body is sent for postmortem examination. If facts about the nature of the occurrence are mentioned in the inquest report they give an early version of the occurrence. In the present case, however P.W. 1, who conducted the post-mortem, examination, has not denied that she did not receive the inquest report along with the document Exhibit P.C. What she has stated is that.

I am not sure if the inquest report Exhibit PB was received by me before I performed the post-mortem.

In cross-examination she does not definitely state that she did not receive the inquest report. She merely says:

As far as I remember, besides the written request from the police to perform the post-mortem. I did not receive any other paper from the police before performing the post-mortem.

She could not be expected to remember such a minor thing after such a long time. On the other hand, there is positive material in the testimony of Niranjan Singh (P.W. 7) the Head Constable who was deputed to go with the dead body to the hospital. He stated.

I took the inquest report Exhibit P. C. and the application. Exhibit P.C. to the Civil Hospital along with the dead body.

In cross-examination also he has stated that he handed over the inquest report and application to the doctor on 21st May and he denied the suggestion that he took only the application. Exhibit P.C. to the doctor and the inquest report was prepared on the next day. P.W. 13, the Investigating Officer, no doubt has stated that he sent the application Exhibit P.C. to the doctor for performing post-mortem and has omitted to mention that the Inquest report was also sent along with Exhibit P.C. but in cross-examination he has stated that in the application. Exhibit P.C. he had written that the details of the injuries had been given in column No. 10 of the inquest report. From this no other conclusion is possible except that the inquest report was also sent along with the request Exhibit P.C. A glance at the document Exhibit P.C. also reveals that it is mentioned that the details of the Injuries inflicted on the deceased ate mentioned in column No. 10. It is apparent that reference wag Invited only to column No. 10 of the Inquest report, wherein the injuries are enumerated. Therefore, the cumulative effect of this document Exhibit P.C. and the statements of P.Ws. 7 and 13 is that the Inquest report was sent along with the application Exhibit P.C. to the doctor.

9. Again it has been urged that the S.H.O. had returned to Nalagarh in the evening and It was there that he wrote the F.I.R. Reliance is placed on the statement of P.W. 6 to show that the Sub-Inspector had returned to Nalagarh earlier, that is before the dead body was sent to the doctor for post-mortem examination, whereas the S.H.O. who has appeared as P.W. 13, states that he spent the night of 21st May, 1970, in Manakpur. If the S.H.O. has spoken a lie here it Is not of such significance as to vitiate the entire Prosecution case.

10. It is also pointed out that the special report reached the Magistrate quite late at night although the Rest House, where the Magistrate was staying is only about a furlong from the police station. This argument carries no weight, because by the special report what the S.H.O. meant is the subsequent report whereunder the case was registered under Section 302 instead of Section 307. During the day the case was registered under Section 307, because at that time Sito had not died but by the time the police reached the spot Sito had died and, therefore, the police made a special report about this and the report was sent by a special messenger. The village is about 7 or 8 miles away from Nalagarh and. therefore, it is nothing strange if the report reached the Magistrate very late at night. The constable had to traverse all the distance on foot, and therefore, this delay is not at all fatal,

11. It was further pointed out that Ram Rattan and Pohlo were not mentioned as witnesses in the list accompanying the challan and that they should not be believed. But from the challan we find that their names have been already mentioned in the list accompanying the challan. These two witnesses were examined by the police after two months of the occurrence, and the contention is that if the witnesses were really at the spot then the S.H.O. (should have examined them on the same day when he examined the other witnesses. However, their statements have not been relied upon by the learned Sessions Judge, both with regard to the dying declaration as also about the extra-judicial confessions made by the accused, and therefore, I need not comment on this argument advanced by the learned counsel for the appellant. It has been urged that no information was sent to the parents of the deceased. If the information was not sent by the witnesses to the father of the deceased, that does not mean that the witnesses are telling a lie.

12. The last argument raised was that there was no motive on the part of the accused to have murdered his wife. In Bhagwan Swarup v. State of Maharashtra AIR 1965 SC 682 : 1965 (1) Cri LJ 608 it has been held by the Supreme Court that motive is not an ingredient of an offence. The proof of motive helps the court in coming to a correct conclusion when there is no direct evidence. Where there is direct evidence implicating an accused in an offence the absence of proof of motive is not material. Similarly in Atley v. State of Uttar Pradesh AIR 1965 SC 807 : 1935 Cri LJ 1653 it has been held that where there is clear proof of motive for the crime the circumstance lends additional support to the finding of the court that the accused was guilty. The absence of clear proof of motive does not necessarily lead to the contrary conclusion. In the instant case there are three eye-witnesses who have seen the accused inflicting Kirpan blows on the deceased. Sito was crying and the accused wag giving blows In the presence of these witnesses and these witnesses rescued Sito and snatched away the Kirpan from the accused. Sito was laid on a cot and the accused was put under the surveillance of Jeonu and Nanak till the arrival of the police. The accused had nothing to say against these witnesses except that they were deposing under the pressure of the police. There is nothing on the record to indicate why the police should want the witnesses to depose falsely against the accused. Further. It was urged that the witnesses were deposing falsely at the instance of Nandu the father of the deceased. This also does not carry any conviction. There is no reason why Nandu should falsely implicate the accused. The accused states that he was in the verandah of his house when the police arrested him. He has no explanation to offer how his wife was killed or who killed her. He also denies ownership of the clothes and also betrays ignorance about the stains on the clothes. His conduct is Inconsistent with his innocence. I place reliance on Pershadi v. State of Uttar Pradesh : 1957CriLJ328 .

13. These were the only points argued and they have not appealed to me. In my opinion, the accused has rightly been convicted for having caused the murder of Sito.

14. The result, therefore, is that the conviction and the sentence passed by the learned Sessions Judge are affirmed and the appeal is dismissed.

R.S. Pathak, C.J.

16. I agree.


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