Decided on September 03,2002


Referred Judgements :-



Brijesh Kumar, J. - (1.)THE above-noted appeals arise out of the judgment and order dated September 29, 2000, passed by the High Court of Himachal Pradesh in Criminal Appeal Nos. 304 and 367 of 1998. THE three appeals before us have been heard together and they are being disposed of by one common judgment.
(2.)THE appeals preferred by Dharminder and Durga Nand are against their conviction under Section 302/34, I.P.C. for murder of Laiq Ram. THEy have been sentenced to undergo imprisonment for life and also to pay a fine of Rs. 5,000 each and in default of payment of fine, to undergo rigorous imprisonment for a further period of two years. THEy have also been convicted under Section 307/34, I.P.C. for attempt to murder Neel Kanth, son of Laiq Ram and sentenced to undergo rigorous imprisonment for seven years and also to pay a fine of Rs. 1,000 each and in default of payment of fine, to undergo rigorous imprisonment for a further period of six months. THEy have also been convicted under Section 323 read with Section 34, I.P.C. for causing simple injuries to Gangawati, wife of Laiq Ram and sentenced to undergo rigorous imprisonment for six months and also to pay a fine of Rs. 500 each and in default of payment of fine, to undergo rigorous imprisonment for a further period of two months. So far the appeal filed by the State of Himachal Pradesh is concerned, it has been preferred against the acquittal of Hukmu Devi, Pramod Kumar and Padma Ram by the trial court and upheld by the High Court.
According to the prosecution case, the incident occurred on 24.10.1995 at about 2.00 p.m. when Gangawati P.W. 5 on return to her house after cutting grass from jungle, heard the sound of cutting of tree and on going to the spot, she found that the appellant Durga Nand was cutting her baan tree and the appellant Dharminder was ploughing the field. She wanted to go to her house to inform her son but in the meantime, the appellants along with Hukmu Devi, Bhaskra Nand and Bimla Devi attacked her with dandas. They were also helped by Pramod. She raised alarm, upon which Neel Kanth, her son arrived to rescue her. All the accused persons started beating Neel Kanth. On seeing this merciless assault, Laiq Ram, father of Neel Kanth and husband of P.W. 5 Gangawati, finding himself helpless to save his son, took up the gun and fired to scare away the assailants as a result of which Durga Nand received injuries on his legs, things and abdomen. The accused persons are said to have snatched the gun of Laiq Ram and he was also given lathi blows. They are said to have pushed Laiq Ram and Neel Kanth below the field. Durga Nand gave a blow with pipe on the head of Laiq Ram. As a result of the injuries received, Laiq Ram died at the spot. His dead body was thrown in the nala. It is further alleged that Neel Kanth, who had also received severe injuries was dumped near the dead body of Laiq Ram.

P.W. 14 Kanta Devi, wife of Neel Kanth rushed to the house of Shiv Lal for help. He came to the spot and saw Laiq Ram lying dead and Neel Kanth in injured condition. He went to Lafughati where he lodged the report and his statement was recorded by P.W. 18 Pratap Singh, A.S.I. He also took Neel Kanth to Theog and got him admitted in the hospital.

(3.)THE police after completing the investigation filed the charge-sheet against the aforesaid persons.
The prosecution case in so far as motive for commission of crime is concerned is that Padma Ram, at the instance of Ganeshu, father of Gangawati started living in Ganeshu's house in village Kelvi Jubber, Gangawati was then aged about 6 or 7 years. Laiq Ram and Durga Nand are sons of Padma Ram. On the death of Ganeshu, Padma Ram started looking after the entire property of Ganeshu. It is said that Ganeshu desired that his daughter Gangawati be married with Laiq Ram. Gangawati on attaining majority inherited the property of her father. Padma Ram married his son Laiq Ram to Gangawati. The prosecution case further is that Padma Ram wanted that Durga Nand be also recorded as co-sharer to the extent of half share in the property inherited by Gangawati but Gangawati and Laiq Ram did not agree to it. Appellant Durga Nand, Padma Ram and other members of the family harassed Laiq Ram so much on that count that he started living in another village Kathog with one Soda. Gangawati is said to have been pregnant at that time and later she gave birth to Neel Kanth. It is further said that Laiq Ram stayed away from home for about 20-22 years. In the meantime, Padma Ram succeeded in getting half share in the property of Gangawati recorded in the name of Durga Nand. Neel Kanth persuaded his father to come back to the village in 1994 during Diwali festival. Return of Laiq Ram was not liked by Padma Ram and Durga Nand and members of his family so much so that they wanted to finish him and in that regard, Padma Ram is said to have asked Gangawati and Neel Kanth not to come out of their house on 24.10.1995 as he apprehended such an incident to take place.

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