RACHHPAL SINGH Vs. STATE OF PUNJAB
SUPREME COURT OF INDIA (FROM: PUNJAB & HARYANA)
STATE OF PUNJAB
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Santosh Hegde, J. -
(1.)The above criminal appeals are preferred by the appellants against the common judgment delivered by the High Court of Punjab and Haryana at Chandigarh in Murder Reference No. 2/99, Crl. A. 130-DB to 132-DB/99 and Criminal Revision No. 443/99.
(2.)The brief facts necessary for disposal of these cases are as follows :
There was a civil dispute pending between the deceased Virsa Singh and his family on the one hand and Kuljinder Singh on the other in regard to a small plot of land which was abutting the residence of the said parties in the village of Srawan Bodla at Police Station Sadar Malout. In the said dispute, appellant No. 2 and his family were supporting Kuljinder Singh. On 11-10-1996 the civil case pertaining to the said dispute was listed before the concerned Court and in the said proceedings the deceased Virsa Singh had obtained an interim order against the said Kuljinder Singh. On the date of the incident at about 3.30 p.m. there was a verbal fight which also led to the parties grappling with each other but that did not culminate in any serious incident due to the timely intervention of some ladies in the families. It is the prosecution case that thereafter at about 8 p.m. the appellants herein along with 3 other accused persons came in a white Maruti car driven by the second appellant and the said accused persons got down from the car, raising a 'Lalkara' (challenge) that they would teach the complainant party a lesson for obtaining stay in regard to the land in question. Thereafter, it is stated that the first appellant herein who was armed with a .12 bore double barrel gun and the second appellant who was armed with a rifle along with 3 other accused persons who were armed with 'dangs' attacked the deceased Virsa Singh and his younger son Kulwant Singh on the roof of their house. It is stated that during the said attack the first appellant - Rachhpal Singh - and the second appellant Gurmit Singh fired shots from their respective weapons at Virsa Singh and Kulwant Singh, consequent upon which each one of them received two bullet injuries and died on the spot. This incident in question was witnessed by Ravinder Singh, PW 3, who is the son of the deceased Virsa Singh and the brother of deceased Kulwant Singh and Darbara Singh, PW 4, who is the mother's sister's husband of PW 3 who resides about a kilometer and a half away from the house of the complainant and was visiting the complainant and his family for returning a trolly which he had borrowed from them. It is the further case of the prosecution that thereafter PW 3 went to the Police Station at Malout which is about 9 kms. from the place of the incident and lodged a complaint at about 11 pm. with SHO Ranjit Singh which complaint was registered and forwarded to the jurisdictional Magistrate who received the same by 2.45 a.m. on 12-10-1996. Immediately after registering the crime under Sections 302, 148, 149, IPC and Sections 25 and 27 of the Arms Act against the named accused, the said SHO took up the investigation of the case and proceeded to the place of the incident along with PW 10, Assistant Sub Inspector, Bohar singh and others. During the course of the said investigation, the said Officer recorded the statements of the witnesses and at the time of the spot inspection he also collected the blood-stained earth which was found underneath the dead bodies of Virsa Singh and Kulwant Singh in the presence of local Panchas. The Investigating Officer also found two empty .12 bore cartridge casings which were sealed as also 3 empties of 44.40 of the bore rifles found near the dead bodies which were also sealed separately. During the course of investigation, the Investigating Officer arrested the said accused persons (except appellant No. 1) on 25-10-1996 while they were travelling in a white Maruti car bearing No. CHK 8320 driven by the second appellant near the village of Punnu Khera. During the said arrest they found Gurmit Singh, appellant No. 2, in possession of a rifle of 44.40 bore on his shoulder and 4 live cartridges which were seized from his possession by the Investigating Officer. He also took the car in question into his possession under Ex. P--. It is stated that on statement made by the concerned accused the Inestigating Officer also recovered certain 'dangs' from the places disclosed by them. It is the further case of the prosecution that on 27-10-1996, the first appellant Rachhpal Singh was traced near the Railway Station of village Kabarwala and at the time of his arrest he was in possession of .12 bore double barrel gun and one belt containing 9 live cartridges which was also seized by the investigating agency.
(3.)The post mortem report and the evidence of Dr. R. S. Randhawa, PW 2 shows that both the deceased persons had lacerated wounds on vital parts of their bodies which had lacerated the lung and the Doctor had opined that the injuries in question were anti-mortem and had been caused by the use of fire arms.
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