Arijit Pasayat, J. -
(1.)Lehna (hereinafter referred to as accused) was awarded "Sentence of Death" by the learned Sessions Judge, Sonepat which has been confirmed by the Punjab & Haryana High Court. Accusations against him were that he took away the lives of his mother, brother and sister-in-law. It was also alleged that he caused injury on his father Suraj Mal (PW-6) and nephew - Chand (PW-7). He was tried for allegedly committing offences punishable under Sections 302 458 and 324 of the Penal Code 1860 (in short IPC), was found guilty and accordingly convicted. Corresponding sentences imposed were sentence of death, 4 years and 6 months respectively. The sentences were directed to run concurrently.
(2.)Prosecution version sans unnecessary details is as follows:
Suraj Mal (PW-6) had two sons i.e. the accused and Jai Bhagwan (hereinafter referred to the deceased by that name) and a Younger brother Dariya Singh. The accused and deceased-Jai Bhagwan were residing separately. Suraj Mal (PW-6) owned 10 acres of land and had given 2 acres to the accused for the purpose of cultivation. But the accused who was a person of bad habits and a drunkard wasted time in useless pursuits and did not pay any attention to cultivation. He tried to alienate the land that was given to him by his father. This led to rethinking by Suraj Mal (PW-6), who took back the land. This led to serious disputes among the members of the family and there were frequent quarrels. On August 5, 1998, deceased and his wife, Saroj were sleeping on the roof of the house. Suraj Mal (PW-6), his wife Manbhari, their grandsons Chand (PW-7) and Wazir were sleeping in the courtyard. After mid-night Suraj Mal (PW-6) heard a noise from the roof of the house and he switched on the electric light. Chand, Wazir and Manbhari woke up and they rushed up stairs and found the accused armed with a Gandasa inflicting blows on both deceased - Saroj and Jai Bhagwan. After causing injuries to these two, the accused turned towards Suraj Mal (PW- 6) and others; but they ran down the stairs screaming in fear. The accused followed them and after pushing Manbhari to the ground inflicted blows on her neck and when PW-6 and PW-7 tried to intervene, he also inflicted blows on both of them. Then he ran away from the spot. PW-6 found that his wife had already succumbed to her injuries. So was the case with his son and daughter-in-law. Next morning, report was lodged at the police station and investigation was undertaken. On completion of investigation, charge-sheet was placed and the accused was charged for offences punishable under Sections 302/ 458/ 324 of the IPC. The accused pleaded innocence. The Trial Court relied on the evidence of PW-6 and PW-7 who were injured eye-witnesses and found the accused guilty of the aforestated offences. After hearing on the question of sentence, he awarded death sentence as noted above. The matter was submitted to the Punjab & Haryana High Court for confirmation of the death sentence in terms of Section 366 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (in short the Code). The High Court held that the judgment suffered from no infirmity to warrant any interference. Accordingly, the reference was accepted and the appeal filed by the accused against the conviction and sentence was dismissed.
(3.)In support of the appeal before this Court, learned Counsel submitted that both the Trial Court and the High Court ignored a very significant fact that the evidence on which prosecution rested, its version was that of relatives. There was admitted hostility, rendering the same suspect. The injuries which were of serious nature on the accused were not explained. That added to vulnerability of prosecution version. Finally, it was submitted that this is not a case which belonged to the category of "rarest of rare" to warrant death sentence. The non application of mind according to the learned Counsel is evident from the fact that accused has been treated to be a trespasser in his own house, for holding him guilty of offence punishable under Section 458 of IPC. There is no discussion whatsoever as to how ingredients of that Section are present.