SURYA KANT, J. -
(1.)These two criminal appeals, which have been heard through video conferencing, are directed against the judgment dated 15.03.2010 of the High Court of Punjab and Haryana whereby conviction of Rohtas and Sanjay (appellants in Criminal Appeal No. 38 of 2011) and Bijender (appellant in Criminal Appeal No. 775 of 2011) under Sections 307 and 148 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 ("IPC") has been upheld, though the sentence of seven years rigorous imprisonment awarded by the Additional Sessions Judge, Sonipat has been reduced to five years, with a fine of Rs. 1,00,000 (Rupees One Lakh) payable as compensation to the victim-complainant.
(2.)The brief facts of the prosecution case are as follows. A complaint was lodged with the police by the victim-Ranbir Singh (PW-1) on 26.01.1998 stating that two days ago while on his way to irrigate his agricultural field, he was stopped by Rohtas, Sanjay, Bijender (the present three appellants) and Om Prakash (since deceased) who collectively threatened him with death if he were to return to his fields for irrigation. The complainant came back to his house and narrated the incident to his family members who while cautioning him against picking a quarrel, asked him to go about his normal routine. On the following day, i.e. 25.01.1998, when the complainant was passing by the Hudawala field while on his way to another agricultural plot (known as Patewala field), the four accused - Om Parkash, Rohtas, Sanjay and Bijender intercepted him. They started inflicting blows on the complainant's body using axes, thereby causing him to fall down and seriously injuring his legs, hand and head. Another group of three accused persons, comprising Hawa Singh, Virender @ Beero and Rajinder also joined in thrashing the complainant. The assailants further declared that they would not rest till they killed the complainant. Upon hearing the complainant's cries, his brother Balwan (PW-3) who was irrigating a nearby Budewala field, rushed to the spot and raised an alarm. Thereafter, all seven accused ran from the spot. Balwan subsequently carried his injured brother to Government Civil hospital at Sonipat for treatment. Owing to the seriousness of multiple injuries, Ranbir was referred to Post Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences at Rohtak (in short, "PGIMS, Rohtak").
(3.)The jurisdictional police recorded the statement of the injured on 26.01.1998 at PGIMS, Rohtak and formally registered the First Information Report under Sections 307, 323, 325, 506, 148 and 149 of the IPC. All the seven accused were then arrested. Post completion of investigation, they were committed to trial. The Additional Sessions Judge, Sonipat framed two charges; first, of rioting with deadly weapons under Section 148, and second, of attempt to murder with common object as part of an unlawful assembly under Section 307 read with Section 149 of the IPC. All seven accused pleaded not guilty and claimed trial. During trial, however, Om Prakash died and proceedings against him stood abated on 08.11.2000.