(1.)The three appellants in this appeal, namely - Constables Lakhwinder Singh, Pargat Singh and Paramjit Singh have challenged their conviction and sentence passed by the High Court of Punjab and Haryana in Criminal Appeal No. 423-DB of 1999 whereby they have been sentenced to one year rigorous imprisonment under Section 148, IPC; life imprisonment and fine of Rs. 1,000/- under Section 302/149, IPC; two years rigorous imprisonment and a fine of Rs. 500/- under Sections 325/149, IPC; one year rigorous imprisonment under Section 324/149, IPC, six months rigorous imprisonment under Section 323/149, IPC; three months rigorous imprisonment under Section 336, IPC and seven years rigorous imprisonment and a fine of Rs. 500/- under Section 27 of the Arms Act. The High Court disposed of three appeals before it arising out of the same judgment and order of the Additional Sessions Judge, Ludhiana dated 20th July, 1999 in Sessions Case No. 13/56 of 6-6-1997/16-3-1999. It allowed Criminal Appeal No. 344-DB of 1999 preferred by Ranjit Singh accepting his plea of alibi. It partly allowed Criminal Appeal No. 376-DB of 1999 inasmuch as it acquitted Kulwant Singh and Gurmit Singh of all the charges levelled against them on a finding that there was no acceptable evidence of their participation in the offence. The appeal preferred by the third appellant in that appeal, namely - Jit Singh alias Parmi was rejected. It appears that Jit Singh alias Parmi has not preferred an appeal to this Court.
(2.)The occurrence is said to have taken place on 24th Dec. 1996 at 8.00 p.m. at village Talwandi Rai within the jurisdiction of P.S. Raikot. In that incident, it is alleged, the appellant and four others variously armed committed the murder of Chamkaur Singh and caused injuries to Dharshan Singh, PW 14, (informant); Sohail Singh, PW 15 and Maghar Singh (since deceased). It also appears from the record that Kuldip Singh, who was also charged of having committed the offence along with the appellants and others absconded during trial and was, therefore, declared a proclaimed offender. In this appeal, therefore, we are only concerned with the three appellants before us.
(3.)The case of the prosecution is that after the occurrence took place at about 8.00 p.m. Darshan Singh, PW 14, proceeded to P.S. Raikot to lodge a report but he met Inspector Gur Tejinder Singh, S.H.O., Raikot at the bus stand, Raikot and lodged his report there at about 10.00 pm. In his report he stated that he was a resident of village Pabbian but resided with his maternal grandfather in village Talwandi Rai where he was employed as a Munshi. At about 8.00 p.m. on hearing a commotion he rushed towards the path way near the village pond where he saw Jit Singh alias Parmi, Gurmit Singh and Kulwant Singh (both since acquitted) quarrelling with Sohail Singh, PW 15, Maghar Singh (since deceased) and Chamkaur Singh, who was killed in the incident. Brick bats were being hurled. In the meantime Ranjit Singh (since acquitted) along with his gunmen and the gunmen of his father Joginder Singh came there. He exhorted Jit Singh alias Parmi to kill as many persons as he liked and he would take responsibility for it. On his exhortation, Jit Singh alias Parmi snatched the rifle of one of the gunmen and fired a shot at Chamkaur Singh injuring him on his neck. Chamkaur Singh fell down and died soon thereafter. The others assaulted Sohail Singh, PW 15 and Maghar Singh (since deceased) with 'dangs' and sticks. One of the gunmen gave him a blow on his head with the butt of his rifle causing an injury. All of them raised alarm, whereafter Ranjit Singh along with his gunmen; Gurmit Singh and Kulwant Singh fled towards the village firing from their weapons. The motive for the occurrence disclosed in the report is that Gurmit Singh, Kulwant Singh and Parmi were preventing Sohail Singh, Hardev Singh and others from using the path way in the shamelat land near the village pond.