TARSEM SINGH Vs. STATE OF PUNJAB
SUPREME COURT OF INDIA (FROM: PUNJAB & HARYANA)
STATE OF PUNJAB
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Santosh Hegde, J. -
(1.)The appellant and 12 others were chargesheeted before the learned Sessions Judge, Barnala, for various offences; principal offence amongst them being one punishable under Section 302, IPC for having caused the death of Hari Singh and Bharpur Singh in an incident which took place on 4-6-1987 at about 10 a.m. It is the prosecution case that in regard to certain disputes the appellants' group and complainant PW-4, Nazar Singh's group had in regard to the right to bid for certain Shamlat land which was being auctioned on the relevant date, the appellant and other accused persons assaulted the group of the complainant, caused injuries to various persons, consequent to which the abovesaid two persons died due to the injuries suffered in the said attack. The learned Sessions Judge as per his judgment dated 22-12-1988 convicted 9 of those persons for offences punishable under Section 304, Part II, IPC, and sentenced them to undergo RI for a period of 8 years and to pay a fine of Rs. 1,000/- each. Being aggrieved by the said judgment, the appellants preferred criminal appeals before the High Court of Punjab and Haryana at Chandigarh, and the High Court as per its judgment dated 2-11-1995 upheld the conviction of the appellants imposed on them under Section 304, Part II, IPC but on taking into consideration various extenuating factors, reduced the said sentence from 8 years to 5 years' RI, maintaining the fine imposed by the Sessions Court. The other sentences imposed on the appellants under other minor charges were maintained and were made to run concurrently. It is against this judgment of the High Court that the appellants, 8 in numbers, are before us.
(2.)Having perceived the difficulty in arguing for a clear acquittal. Mr. Mahabir Singh, learned counsel appearing for the appellants, in our view rightly, confined the two-fold arguments to the nature of the offence and the quantum of sentence only.
(3.)He contended that the Courts below erred in coming to the conclusion that the offence in question was one falling under Section 304, Part II, IPC, while if at all a conviction is to be based, according to him, it could be only under Section 325, IPC. Based on the material available on record, he pointed out that though the appellants had carried sharp-edged and blunt weapons which could cause serious injuries, a perusal of the injuries caused on the deceased would show that they were not used for the purpose of causing such injuries which in their knowledge would cause death.
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