RAJENDRA BABU -
(2.)ON the night intervening the 19th and 20th July, 1984 Mohan Lal and Ram Kumar were murdered. ON the allegation that Ram Sarup-respondent committed the said murders, he was tried under section 302 IPC. The trial court, after considering the testimony of the witnesses who were examined in the case, held that the respondent was guilty of the offence with which he was charged and sentenced him to life imprisonment and fined him Rs. 1000/- and, in default of payment of fine, the respondent would suffer further rigorous imprisonment for two years. ON appeal, the High Court set aside the order made by the trial court and acquitted the accused. Hence this appeal.
This Court by an order dated 15.4.1994 released the accused on bail on his furnishing bail bond in the sum of Rs. 10,000/- with two sureties of the like amount to the satisfaction of the chief judicial magistrate, Hissar.
The prosecution case unfolded in the trial court is that on 19.7.1984 at about 4 p.m., both the deceased Mohan Lal and Ram Kumar were playing cards at the dera of Baba Asa Nath with Ram Sarup and Diwas Singh alias Dana; that Ram Singh, PW 3, brother of Mohan Lal deceased and Ram Kishan, PW 4, brother of Ram Kumar deceased were also present there watching the game; that some other persons were also playing the game of cards 'Chaupat'; that it appears, an altercation took place between Mohan Lal and Ram Kumar on one side and Ram Sarup on the other; that Mohan Lal was taken to his house by his brother Ram Singh; that Ram Kumar and Ram Sarup also left for their houses. Further, it was submitted that on the same day, the last rites ceremony of one Kundan Gujar also took place and about 70-80 persons had gathered; that Ram Singh and Ram Kishan participated in serving food to the guests and they took their food at 11 p.m. and continued to sit there smoking 'Huqa'; that PW 3, Ram Singh and PW4, Ram Kishan and the two deceased Mohan Lal and Ram Kumar left for their houses at about 1 or 1.30 a.m. [intervening night between 19.7.1984 and 20.7.1984]; that both the deceased were little ahead of Ram Singh and Ram Kishan, who were following them and as they reached near the dera of Baba Asa Nath; the accused was found lying in his 'chabutra' and smoking a biri; that the accused shouted towards Mohan Lal as to why he was passing from there at that hour; that Ram Kumar was a little behind at that time and Mohan Lal answered that it was a thoroughfare and anybody could come and go; that at this Ram Sarup picked up his gun, loaded it and fired at Mohan Lal hitting on the right side of his chest on the front side; that by that time Ram Kishan and Ram Singh had taken shelter near the wall of the dera; that as Ram Kumar asked the accused as to why he had fired a shot and advanced towards him, the accused fired at him also hitting on the right chest; that the accused also fired towards Ram Singh and Ram Kishan, but they escaped as they were taking shelter near the wall of the dera; that the shots had been fired towards them because both Ram Singh and Ram Kishan had shouted towards the accused as to why he had fired at their companions. Ram Kumar after receipt of the injury had fallen down on the charpai lying on the Chabutra of Ram Sarup and he got up from there after a few minutes and collapsed after covering 4/5 paces. The accused in the mean while after loading his gun had run away towards his fields. Both Mohan Lal and Ram Kumar were found dead. Brij Lal, Chowkidar and Sadhu Ram, Sarpanch came to the spot and were told of the incident. The two PW 3 and PW4 went to the village and remained throughout the night out of fear of the accused. On the next day PW3-Ram Singh lodged a report with the police at about 10.50 a.m. and also made a special statement to a constable Ram Chander- PW 9 and the report reached the magistrate at 1 p.m. on 20.7.1984 at Fatehabad. ASI Rajbir Singh prepared inquest reports regarding the dead bodies of Mohan Lal and Ram Kumar and conducted investigation after preparing a spot Panchnama. He also seized the charpai which was taken into possession. Dr. D.L. Bansal, PW 2, performed the post mortem examination on the dead body of Ram Kumar, while Dr. S.K. Dogra, PW 1, performed the post mortem examination on the dead body of Mohan Lal. They noted that the cause of death was the fire arm injuries sustained by each one of them and described the nature of the injuries. On 26.7.1984 the accused Ram Sarup was arrested from Bhuna and the gun, which was licensed, was also seized from him along with cartridges. The prosecution examined 10 witnesses in all. The accused claimed that he was innocent and stated that a false case had been made out against him by the Sarpanch.
(3.)THE trial court adverted to the testimony of eye witnesses PW 3 and PW4 and found that it is reliable. As regards motive the trial court proceeded on the basis that if the evidence of eye witnesses PW 3 and PW4 was to be taken into consideration, the question as to whether there was any motive for committing the murders or not would become insignificant. THE trial court noticed that altercation while playing cards was not an insignificant event and might provoke the accused depending upon how worked up he was to commit the murders. While the contention of the defence counsel was that the said quarrel was not sufficient to provoke the accused to commit the murders, on the other hand, the prosecution contended that this motive was sufficient enough and had been mentioned even in the first information report [FIR] recorded at the earliest stage of the proceedings; that there was no enmity between the accused and the deceased; that, therefore, the accused could not have been falsely implicated in a serious charge of murder. THE learned sessions judge took caution to state, whether the incident of playing cards was sufficient to provoke the accused to commit the murders would depend on as to how sensitive he is, but, however, much would depend upon the evidence of the eye witnesses. THE defence plea was that there was enmity between the two parties inasmuch Kesra, brother of the accused, had given evidence against Chhotu,. which had resulted in his conviction. According to them, they were sleeping on the chabutra of Kesra along with one Manphul, when the two deceased had come and opened fire at them after raising lalkara that Kesra would be taught a lesson for giving evidence against their friend Chhotu. However, this stand of the defence was not accepted by the trial court.
The two eye witnesses PW3-Ram Singh, brother of Mohan Lal, and PW-4-Ram Kishan, brother of Ram Kumar, narrated the incident exactly in the manner in which the incident took place. The broad features of their evidence are as set out while narrating the prosecution case. The trial court found their evidence to be trustworthy which was consistent with the medical evidence as well. The medical evidence disclosed that there was one injury on each of the deceased caused by a fire arm and four empties had been found at the place of occurrence and as per report of the ballistic expert, these had been fired from the S.B.B.L. gun belonging to the accused and not from any other fire arm, even of the same make and bore. There was no dispute that the single barrel gun from which these shots had been fired did belong to the accused.