Decided on September 27,2012

Manjeet Singh @ Manjinder Singh Appellant


- (1.) In the instant case, the Priest of Gurudwara, situate at Mahadevpur, Police Station Ram Nagar, is the victim. In respect thereof, a First Information Report was lodged by the son of the victim, who deposed in course of trial as PW3. The First Information Report was lodged on 21st September, 2003 at around 07:45 a. m. alleging that, in the intervening night of 20th / 21st September, 2003, at the Gurudwara, the victim was killed by the appellant, whereupon, appellant put the dead body of the victim on fire. In the First Information Report, it was alleged that, a few days before the incident, appellant had broken the donation box of the Gurudwara and took out money therefrom, for which he was admonished by the victim. It was alleged that, at the time of the incident, the victim was having a sum of Rs 22,000/- with him for the purpose of purchasing a Jeep; no trace whereof was found at the time when the dead body of the victim was discovered. In course of investigation, the dead body of the victim was sent for post mortem. The doctor, who conducted the post mortem, found six incised wounds on the dead body and two burn injuries; one superficial and the other deep burn. At the time when the appellant was arrested, in course of investigation, it was found that he has shortened his hair and removed his beard. In course of investigation, on the disclosure made by the appellant, while a turban and his cut hair and beard were recovered, a knife was also recovered. The knife was sent for examination and the examiner reported that the same contained human blood. Appellant was, accordingly, charged for having committed offences punishable under Sections 302, 201 and 404 of the Indian Penal Code.
(2.) In course of trial, Mukhtyar Singh and Pargat Singh deposed respectively as PW1 and PW2. They held out that, around 01:00 a. m. of 21st September, 2003, while they were going to their field and, for that purpose, crossing the Gurudwara, they saw the appellant inflicting injuries upon the victim in the veranda of the Gurudwara. Balkeet Singh, who deposed as PW4, stated that he reached the Gurudwara in the early morning of 21st September, 2003, when he found that a large number of people have gathered at the Gurudwara and steps are being taken to douse the fire on the dead body. The said witness as well as the Investigating Officer deposed before the court that no ingredient for causing the burn was found in the vicinity. PW1 and PW2 held out that they had seen what they had deposed because there was an electric bulb in the vicinity. The Investigating Officer held out that there was no such electric bulb. Further, while PW1 and PW2 held out that the victim was being assaulted by the appellant in the veranda of the Gurudwara, the Investigating Officer held out that blood was found inside a room of the Gurudwara and not in the veranda.
(3.) The learned Amicus Curiae submitted that, having regard to such material contradictions as regards the facts pertaining to the incident, the evidence of PW1 and PW2 should not be accepted. The learned Amicus Curiae, further, submitted that the conduct of PW1 and PW2 is such that no prudent person should believe the evidence tendered by them. It was contended that, though PW1 and PW2 were going to their field in the night at 01:00 a. m. , obviously for protecting the crops standing thereon from miscreants; but, when they saw that the Priest of the Gurudwara is being assaulted by the appellant, on the mere threat meted out by the appellant, as alleged by them, they left the place and kept their mouths shut and did not even bother to inform the other villagers about the incident. It was submitted that, in the circumstances, the evidence of PW1 and PW2 should not be used against the appellant.;

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