Santosh Hegde, J. -
(1.)Appellant Suraj Bhan and four others were charged for an offence punishable under Ss. 148, 302, 325 and 323 read with S. 149, IPC for having committed the murder of one Kehar Singh on 20-3-1989 at about 8 a. m. before the Additional Sessions Judge, Sonepat. Learned Sessions Judge by his judgment dated 3-3-1992 convicted all the appellants under S. 302 read with S. 149 and sentenced them to undergo imprisonment for life. It also sentenced the accused before it for offences under Ss. 148, 149 and S. 325 read with S. 149 and S. 323 read with S. 149. In appeal before the High Court of Punjab and Haryana, the High Court acquitted accused Ram Nivas A-3, Santosh A-4 and Darshan A-5 of all the offences charged against them, giving them the benefit of doubt. While it convicted Jagmender A-1 for an offence under S. 325, IPC and confirmed the sentence awarded on this count by the learned Sessions Judge. However, in regard to the appellant before us in these appeals, it confirmed the conviction awarded to him under S. 302, IPC and under S. 323, IPC and the sentence awarded by the trial Court on these two counts were affirmed. The conviction of the appellant under S. 325, IPC awarded by the Sessions Court was however set aside.
(2.)It seems that both Jagmender, A-1 and the present appellant Suraj Bhan preferred this appeal but from the records, we notice that the appeal of Jagmender A-1 came to be withdrawn on the ground that he had already served the sentence imposed on him, therefore, Suraj Bhan is the lone appellant before us in this appeal.
(3.)Briefly stated, the prosecution case is that a week before the incident, namely, 20-3-1989, Ram Gopal, son of the appellant was caught plucking plums from the trees standing in the field of Kehar Singh, deceased, for which he was reprimanded by deceased Kehar Singh and his father Zile Singh. On this count, the appellant and his family members entertained an animosity against the deceased. On the date of the incident namely on 20-3-1989 at about 8 a.m. when the deceased Kehar Singh and PW-9 Mehar Singh, were returning from fields, they were attacked by the appellant and other acquitted accused persons with lathis and bricks, consequent upon which the deceased suffered severe head injuries. It is also stated that PW-9 also received injury in this attack. It is the prosecution case that after the attack the accused persons fled from the scene of occurrence and the deceased and PW-9 were taken to the Primary Heath Centre, Juan but in view of the seriousness of the injuries suffered by the deceased, the local doctor referred them to the General Hospital at Sonepat where they reached at about 4.30 p.m. PW-14, the doctor who treated the deceased and PW-9 thought it fit that the deceased should be sent to the Medical College Hospital at Rohtak, hence, while treating PW-9, he sent the deceased to the said hospital at Rohtak. The further case of the prosecution is that in view of the fact that PW-9 Mehar Singh had to attend an examination, he went back to his place while deceased Kehar Singh was taken to the hospital by his uncle. After completing the examination, it is stated that PW-9 came to the hospital at Rohtak in the evening when he came to know that his brother had died so an intimation was sent to the Police Station at Gannaur where a complaint was registered and a special report was forwarded to the Ilaka Magistrate, Sonepat at 3 a.m. on 21-3-1989. Based on the said complaint, the investigating officer, PW-13 recorded the statements of the witnesses and on completion of the investigation, filed a charge-sheet against the above-mentioned 5 accused persons.