BEJOY SINGH ALIAS VIJAYNARAIN SINGH Vs. STATE OF WEST BENGAL
SUPREME COURT OF INDIA (FROM: CALCUTTA)
Bejoy Singh, Vijay Marian Singh And Others
STATE OF WEST BENGAL
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K. Jayachandra Reddy, J. -
(1.)This Criminal appeal pursuant to leave granted under Art. 136 of the Constitution of India had arisen in respect of convictions of the four appellants under S. 302 read with S. 34, I. P. C. and sentenced to imprisonment for life. They along with five others were tried by the Sessions Court. Appellants Nos. 1 and 2 herein were sentenced to death. Appellants Nos. 3 and 4 and the remaining five were sentenced to imprisonment for life. On appeal, the High Court acquitted five of the accused and confirmed the conviction of all the four appellants but the sentence of death passed against appellants Nos. 1 and 2 reduced to imprisonment for life.
(2.)On 30th July 1984 at about 7.45 P. M. Teg Bahadur Singh, hereinafter referred to as the 'deceased', was in the company of his brother Arjun Singh, PW. 3, Darshan Singh PW. 13 and Pradeep Sharma PW. 15 in Cotton Bazar, Calcutta after attending to a customer Ram Babu Gupta, P. W. 9. At about 7.45 P.M. the deceased left the shop and was proceeding towards the Guddy. Then all of a sudden, appellants Nos. 2 to 4 emerged and caught hold of his hands and legs. At that time appellant No. 1 came with two unknown persons on a motor-cycle and stopped at the spot where the deceased was held. Appellant No. 1 along with two unknown persons stabbed the deceased indiscriminately with knives. At that time the other accused in the case also came and shouted that the deceased should be finished. Then appellant No. 2 who had a knife in his hand thrust the knife in the abdomen of the deceased. The deceased fell down and the assailants ran away. PW. 3 the brother of the deceased witnessed the occurrence. He could not apprehend anyone of them. P.Ws. 13 and 15 also were there. They removed the victim to the hospital. PW. 3 gave a statement and Sub Inspector of Police registered the crime. PW. 22 the Investigating Officer took over the investigation. An inquest was held and the dead body was sent for post-mortern. PW. 11 the Doctor, conducted the autopsy and he found a number of incised wounds all over the body. He also found injuries Nos. 8 to 13, 15 and 16 on the right and left hand and right and left forearm and the fingers. He opined that these injuries were defensive in nature. He also found an injury on the abdomen. On internal examination he found that vital organs were ajured and death was due to these injuries. The Investigating Officer arrested the accused and at their instance it is alleged that lid recovered some weapons. The prosecution mainly relied on the evidence of the three eye-witnesses P.Ws. 3, 13 and 15. The learned Sessions Judge believed their evidence and convicted everyone of the accused as mentioned above. The High Court acquitted the five accused who are said to have come later. The rest of the prosecution case has been believed by the High Court.
(3.)Learned counsel for the appellants submits that the prosecution case that appellants Nos. 2 to 4 caught hold of the deceased is belied by the medical evidence. According to the Doctor there were a number of injuries on the hands, forearms and fingers and they were defensive in nature. The evidence of the eye. witnesses is that the, appellant, Nos. 2 to 4 caught hold of the deceased. This vague allegation cannot be believed. The High Court mostly concentrated on the case of appellants Nos. 1 and 2. But, however, the High Court was not prepared to place reliance on the evidence of these witnesses in respect of other five accused. In our view, the same ratio applies to the case of appellants Nos. 2 to 4 so far as the allegation that they caught hold of the deceased goes. That apart, a number of injuries that are found on the deceased would also go to show that nobody could have held him in the manner spoken to by these witnesses. Having carefully considered the evidence and the facts and circumstances of the case and the medical evidence, we are of the view that the prosecution case suffers from a serious infirmity in respect of the allegation made against accused Nos. 2 to 4 namely that they caught hold of the deceased. If we look at the injuries and particularly on the hands and also on other parts of the body, the case that they caught hold of him falls to the ground and their conviction on the basis of this unsatisfactory evidence may result in miscarriage of justice. Therefore, interference is called for. So far as appellant No. 2 is concerned, a further allegation is that he had a knife and thrust it into the stomach after Bejoy Singh, appellant No. 1 and the two unknown persons stabbed him indiscriminately. This appears to be clearly an afterthought. In the earliest report given by PW. 3 the principal witness, it is not mentioned at all that Ujagar Singh, appellant No. 2 had a knife and stabbed the deceased in the abdomen after Bejoy Singh, appellant No. 1 and the two unknown persons inflicted so many injuries on him. As a matter of fact it is in the FIR that only Bejoy Singh, appellant No. 1 and the two unknown assailants were cutting the deceased all over the body with their weapons and the three appellants including appellant No. 2 only held the deceased in such. a way that he could not move and PW. 3 went in front of his elder brother and on seeing him all the assailants ran away leaving the deceased. We are satisfied that the overt act attributed to appellant No. 2 namely that he stabbed the deceased is clearly an after-thought. Therefore this aspect of the prosecution case also is unacceptable. So far as the first appellant is concerned, the evidence against him is consistent. In the earliest report it is mentioned that he along with two unknown assailants came and stabbed the deceased. The evidence of P.Ws. 3, 13 and 15 also is consistent against him. It was he who brought the other two unknown assailants who also inflicted injuries on the deceased. The medical evidence also corroborates.
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