SUPREME COURT OF INDIA (FROM: PUNJAB & HARYANA)
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Fazl Ali, J. -
(1.)This is an appeal against the Judgment of the High Court at Patiala upholding the conviction and sentence of the appellant, who was tried by the Sessions Judge of Sangrur for the offence of murder and sentenced to death.
(2.)The prosecution story is a somewhat long and complicated one, but ignoring unnecessary details, the material facts may be stated shortly as follows:
(3.)On the 5th October 1949, there was a quarrel between the appellant and one Darbara Singh, in the course of which the appellant attacked the latter with a phawra (a cutting instrument). About that time Gurmail Singh, the deceased person, returned to his house, which was close to the house of Darbara Singh, from his cotton field, where he had been working, in order to take tea for his companions who were still working in his field. The appellant asked Gurmail Singh to lend him a spear to enable him to kill Darbara Singh, but since the latter refused to do so, there ensued a quarrel between him and the appellant, in the course of which they exchanged abuses and grappled with each other, and the fight was stopped only by the intervention of certain persons present at the place. It appears that the appellant was greatly affected by this quarrel, and thereafter he is said to have armed himself with a rifle and attacked a person in the vicinity of Gurmail Singh's cotton field. He fired firstly at Kartar Singh son of Sarwan Singh, while the latter was returning to his house from the field of Gurmail Singh, but he was not hurt. Soon after that, while Gurmail Singh was returning to his field after attending to his buffaloes in a garden which was nearby, the appellant chased him and fired at him thereby causing his instantaneous death. Lastly, he is said to have fired at Kartar Singh, son of Bishan Singh and one Jangir Singh, while they were raising an alarm, but the bullet missed them. Upon these allegations, the following three charges were framed against him:
"(1) That you ....fired a shot at Gurmail Singh deceased with riffle P. I. with the intention of killing him and caused his death and thereby committed an offence punishable under S. 302.
(2) That you .... fired a shot at Kartar Singh and Jangir Singh with rifle P. I. with the intention of causing death and made an attempt to cause their death ... and thereby committed an offence punishable under S. 307....
(3) That you.... fired a gun-shot at Kartar Singh s/o Sarwan Singh ... with the intention of killing him and made an attempt to cause his death and thereby committed an offence punishable under S. 307...."
It appears that the appellant was an Instructor in the Home Guards, and the rifle which he is said to have used had been given to him by his superior officer with 20 rounds of ammunition.
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