LAL SINGH AND ORS. Vs. STATE
HIGH COURT OF PUNJAB AND HARYANA
Lal Singh And Ors.
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Teja Singh, C.J. -
(1.) IN an incident that took place at village Didargarh on 18 -6 -2004, one Amar Singh received injuries at the hands of Sarwan Singh, Nikka Singh and Lal Singh, P.W. Sohan Singh went to the Police Station which is about 4 1/2 miles from the village and lodged the report during the night. The police registered a case under Section 307, Penal Code, and later on when they were informed that Amar Singh had succumbed, changed the offence to one under Section 302, Penal Code. Sarwan Singh was arrested on the following day and was properly challaned. He was tried by the Sessions Judge on the charge of murder and on conviction under Section 302, Penal Code, was sentenced to transportation for life. The sentence was confirmed by the High Court. Nikka Singh and Lal Singh, who had absconded and remained fugitive from justice when the case against Sarwan Singh was put in Court, were arrested on 4 -1 -2005. The learned Sessions Judge in whose Court they stood their trial, has convicted Nikka Singh under Section 326/34, Penal Code, and Lal Singh under Section 324, Penal Code. The sentences, awarded to them are 7 years' rigorous imprisonment with a fine of Rs. 250 and two years' rigorous imprisonment and a fine of Rs. 100 respectively. Both the convicts have preferred separate appeals against their convictions and sentences. Tara Singh, the brother of Amar Singh deceased, has made a revision petition praying (1) that the order acquitting Nikka Singh and Lal Singh for the charges of murder be set aside and they be retried; and (2) their sentences be enhanced. These appeals and the revision will be disposed of by one order.
(2.) BOTH sides are agreed that the accused party had no previous enmity with Amar Singh deceased. The prosecution case is that the trouble arose because Sarwan Singh, Nikka Singh and Lal Singh had broken open a house belonging to a Muslim of the village, named, Mehar Jolaha, and while they were about to take away the things that were lying in the house, Amar Singh deceased happened to pass by and remonstrated with them for interfering with the house which was virtually in the possession of the Panchayat. It may here be mentioned that those were the days of communal disturbances and Muslims of various villages had left either for Pakistan or for the refugee camps. In some places the houses of the Muslim evacuees were plundered but in other, the notables or the Panchayats of the village kept guard over them and tried to preserve the things lying therein till the authorities came and took charge of them. The position of the prosecution in the present case is that Mehar's house had been taken hold of by the Panchayat and for this reason Amar Singh tried to dissuade the accused party from interfering with it. The accused, however, did not desist on Amar Singh's intervention and started calling him names. This resulted into the exchange of abusive language between them and the accused then caused injuries to him with the spears with which they were armed. Unfortunately the post mortem examination on the dead body could not be conducted till 21st of Bhadon 2004. The reason for the delay was that it was first taken to Dhuri and when it was discovered that the doctor in -charge of that dispensary was not qualified to perform a post mortem examination, it was later on taken to Barnala. By that time almost complete decomposition of the body had taken place though the doctor stated that he found as many as 10 penetrating wounds spreading on all parts of the body, he was not in a position to say whether all of them had been caused anti -mortem. (His Lordship considered the evidence and proceeded:) For all these reasons I hold that the prosecution version was fully proved and the Appellants joined Sarwan Singh in attacking the deceased and caused injuries to him with Bhallas.
(3.) BEFORE proceeding further, I consider it necessary to refer to the point raised by the Appellants' counsel that since the prosecution failed to adduce any evidence to show that the dead body was not tampered with from the time it was discovered by the police to the time of the post mortem examination, it was quite possible that some of the injuries that the doctor found on it had been caused after the death had occurred. He particularly drew our attention to Rules and Orders of the High Court of Judicature at Patiala, vol. 1. Chap. 5, para. 20, which reads as follows:
In all cases in which a post mortem report has to be proved, formal evidence must be led to the effect that the dead body since its discovery was properly kept in custody and was delivered to the Medical Officer concerned for post mortem examination without being tampered with by anyone. Similar evidence must be led when any articles are sent to a Chemical Examiner for examination of blood -stains etc.;
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