Decided on November 13,1997

STATE OF H P Respondents


- (1.)This appeal at the instance of convict Ranjit Singh is against the judgment dated 31-1-1997, passed by Sessions Judge, Bilaspur, whereby he was convicted under Section 302 IPC and sentenced to undergo imprisonment for life and to pay a fine of Rs. 2,000/-. In case of his non-payment of fine, he was to undergo further rigorous imprisonment for six months.
(2.)The matrix of prosecution case in brief is that the sister of Appellant, namely, Kashmiro Devi was married to deceased Sunder Ram and was residing with him along with her three children Sunilma aged 12 years, Sunil aged 10 years and Monu aged about 7 years in village Jeor, Sub Tehsil Shree Naina Devi Ji, District Bilaspur. Deceased Sunder Ram, along with his two brothers, namely, Budhi Ram (P.W.-1) and Prasa Ram were jointly residing in a house with their respective wives and children, along with their mother Sunehru Devi (P.W.-4), though each one of them was having separate room and kitchen. According to the prosecution, there was no love-lost between Kashmiro Devi and deceased Sunder Ram and about one year prior to the occurrence a 'Khangi Panchayat' was held before whom they had re-conciled their disputes. Daring that time, deceased Sunder Ram had asked the Appellant, who had been running a medical practitioner's shop in village Jeor, not to visit his house because he has been instigating his wife Kashmiro Devi as a result of which there used to be quarrels between him and Kashmiro Devi. Accordingly, the Appellant did not visit the house of his sister Kashmiro Devi for about one year but on 6-8-1994 he visited her in the absence of deceased Sunder Ram, had his meals and went away. On the very next day, i.e., 7-8-1994 he again came to the house of deceased Sunder Ram at about 8 P.M. when he was sitting in his kitchen along with his son Sunil Kumar (P.W.-2) and daughter Kumari Sunilma (P.W.-3). He was noticed by Sunerhru Devi (P.W.-4), Nanki Devi (P.W.-5) and Budhi Ram (P.W.-1) going straight to the kitchen, who were sitting in the courtyard and soon thereafter they heard the cries of Sunil Kumar (P.W.-2) and Sunilma (P.W.-3) that the Appellant had attacked their father with a knife. Budhi Aam (P.W.-1) rushed to kitchen and saw the Appellant giving knife blows to deceased Sunder Ram, who was sitting against the wall and bleeding from his chest and head. Thereafter, the Appellant ran away from the spot. Deceased Sunder Ram was brought out of the kitchen and was put on the cot in the courtyard. In the meantime, Hari Singh, Bhagat Ram (P.W.-9), Siri Ram (P.W.-11) and Sant Ram came on the spot. One Dr. Ranjit Singh from village Jagaatkhanna was called through Budhi Ram (P.W.-1), who, after examining Sunder Ram, declared him dead. Jai Singh (P.W.-6), the then Pradhan Gram Panchayat informed the police over the telephone that Sunder Ram had been murdered by his real brother-in-law, namely, Ranjit Singh, the present Appellant. On receipt of telephonic message Inspector Hans Raj (P.W.-17) came on the spbt and recorded the statement of Budhi Ram (P.W.-1) under Section 154 Code of Criminal Procedure on the basis of which F.I.R. was recorded. After completing investigation challan was put up, Respondent was tried under Section 302 IPC and ultimately convicted. The defence of the Appellant was of clear denial. Pleading his innocence, he has stated in his replay to the last question put to him in his statement under Section 313 Code of Criminal Procedure as under:
I am innocent. I have not committed any offence. I have been falsely implicated in this case. In fact, my brother-in-law Sunder Ram was having litigation with his brothers as he was deprived of the ancestral property. Even mother of deceased was also involved in litigation against deceased Sunder Ram. One week prior to the incident while deceased Sunder was under the influence of liquor, he had abused Suresh and Budhi Ram and then Sunder deceased was mercilessly beaten up by Suresh, Paras Ram and Budhi Ram. Thereafter, I gave treatment to the deceased on 8-8-1994 at about 7.30 a.m. while I was coming from my house in a boat, then I was arrested by the police and involved in this case. No knife was recovered from my possession.

(3.)To prove its case, the prosecution has produced as many as 17 witnesses aneTout of them Budhi Ram (P.W.-1), Sunil Kumar (P.W.-2), Kumari Sunilma (P.W.-3), Sunehru Devi (P.W.-4) and Nanki Devi (P.W.-5) are the eye-witnesses. Budhi Ram (P.W.-1) is the real brother or deceased Sunder Ram and he has reiterated his statement in Ext. P.W.-1/A recorded under Section 154 Code of Criminal Procedure. According to him, on hearing the cries of Sunil Kumar (P.W.-2) and Sunilma (P.W.-3) "Papa Ko Maar Diya" he rushed to the kitchen of deceased Sunder Ram and saw the Appellant giving another knife blow on the head of deceased Sunder Ram besides the one he had already given on his chest. Besides identifying the assailant, he has also deposed that knife Ext. P-1 is the same with which the Appellant had attacked deceased Sunder Ram. This witness has denied the suggestions put to him in the cross-examination that at the relevant time deceased Sunder Ram was taking liquor in the kitchen along with other two persons; that a week prior to the occurrence deceased Sunder Ram was given beating by this witness and his nephew Suresh as a result of which he remained confined to the bed for 3/4 days and that it was Suresh, who was involved in the commission of the crime, and in order to save him this witness was deposing falsely. However, he had admitted that the ancestral property was divided between him, his two brothers and his mother, who had gifted her share to him excluding his two brothers but he has denied that because of the gift made by his mother in his favour deceased Sunder Ram was having grudge against him. The other two eye-witnesses Sunehru Devi (P.W.-4) and Nanki Devi (P.W.-5), who were sitting on a cot in the courtyard at the relevant time, have deposed that they had seen the Appellant going to the kitchen where deceased Sunder Ram was present along with his son Sunil Kumar (P.W.-2) and Sunilma (P.W.-3). According to them, they saw the Appellant giving knife blows to deceased Sunder Ram and thereafter running away from the spot when Budhi Ram (P.W.-1) rushed to the kitchen. Sunehru Devi (P.W.-4) was given even threat of her life when she asked the Appellant as to why he had killed her son Sunder Ram. All those suggestions which were put to Budhi Ram (P.W.-1) were also asked from these two eye-witnesses in their cross-examination which they have denied. Nanki Devi (P.W.-5) has explained that the kitchen of deceased Sunder Ram is visible from the place where she, along with Sunehru Devi, was sitting in the courtyard. She has also deposed that deceased Sunder Ram had asked the Appellant not to visit his house as he was instigating his wife for entering into quarrels with him.

Click here to view full judgement.
Copyright © Regent Computronics Pvt.Ltd.