ANUJ SINGH @ RAMANUJ SINGH @ SETH SINGH vs THE STATE OF BIHAR

ANUJ SINGH @ RAMANUJ SINGH @ SETH SINGH vs THE STATE OF BIHAR

Landmark Cases of India / सुप्रीम कोर्ट के ऐतिहासिक फैसले


REPORTABLE
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION
CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 150 OF 2020
ANUJ SINGH @ RAMANUJ SINGH
@ SETH SINGH … APPELLANT (S)
VERSUS
THE STATE OF BIHAR … RESPONDENT (S)
WITH
CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 151 OF 2020
MANOJ SINGH … APPELLANT (S)
VERSUS
THE STATE OF BIHAR … RESPONDENT(S)
JUDGMENT
KRISHNA MURARI, J.
1. The appellants in these two connected appeals have challenged the
common judgment and order dated 16.01.2018 passed by the High Court of
Judicature at Patna (hereinafter referred to as ‘High Court’) in Criminal Appeal
(SJ) No. 69 of 2007 filed by the present appellants modifying the judgment
passed by the Trial Court convicting the appellants under Section 307 read with
1
Section 34 Indian Penal Code (for short ‘IPC’) and confirming their conviction
under Section 27 of the Arms Act. The Trial Court after convicting the
appellants under Section 307 read with Section 27 of the Arms Act, sentenced
them to undergo five years Rigorous Imprisonment under Section 307 and fine
of Rs.5,000/- and three years Rigorous Imprisonment under Section 27 of the
Arms Act and a fine of Rs.2,000/-. On an appeal filed by them, the High Court
converted their conviction under Section 307 read with Section 34 IPC to
Section 324 IPC and awarded two years rigorous imprisonment with a fine of
Rs.5,000/- and three months simple imprisonment in case of default. The
sentence awarded to the appellant by the Trial Court of three years Rigorous
Imprisonment under Section 27 of the Arms Act was confirmed. Aggrieved by
the same, the two appellants are before us.
2. The prosecution case in brief is as under :-
On the basis of fardbeyan of PW-6 (injured informant), Kumar Nandan
Singh made at the clinic of Dr. Himkar, the police registered an FIR being
Case No. 312 of 1999 dated 10.10.1999, Police Station - Lakhi Sarai,
under Sections 323, 307 read with Section 34 IPC and Section 27 of the
Arms Act. The injured informant, PW-6, stated in his fardbeyan that on
the fateful day at about 05:30 PM, while he was repairing the ‘Kaccha
Mud Wall’, which had fallen down due to rain, with the help of hired
labourers, his neighbour, namely, accused–appellant, Manoj Singh came
2
and objected to repairing of the wall. The informant told him that the
land belongs to him, after which Manoj Singh went to his house and
came back again along with co-accused Anuj Singh having guns in their
hands. The other two accused, Praveen Singh and Arvind Singh, also
came having spears in their hands. It was further stated that Manoj Singh
and Anuj Singh both with a malafide intention to kill him, fired shots.
The bullet shot fired from the gun of Manoj Singh struck in the left leg
and the bullet fired from the gun of Anuj Singh hit the hand. It was
further stated that Praveen Singh and Arvind Singh assaulted him with
the spear and lathi in their hands. On hearing gun shots, his family
members and other villagers came there. Seeing the people coming, all
the four accused ran away to their houses. It was further stated that he
was brought in an injured condition to the clinic of Dr. Himkar where on
arrival of police, the statement was recorded.
3. On the basis of the aforesaid statement made by the injured informant
PW-6, the FIR was registered on the same day, however, it was not forwarded to
the Court of Chief Judicial Magistrate on the same day but was sent after two
days i.e., on 12.10.1999. After completing the investigation, the police
submitted a charge-sheet against the two appellants, Anuj Singh and Manoj
Singh, under Section 307 IPC read with Section 27 of the Arms Act. The other
two co-accused, Praveen Singh and Arvind Singh, were charged under Section
3
307 read with Section 34 IPC. The Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate took
cognizance against the accused persons on 01.09.2000 and the case was
committed to the Court of Sessions on 16.01.2001.
4. The Trial Court after analyzing the statement made by the prosecution
witness and the evidence of the defence, vide judgment and order dated
22.12.2006 convicted the accused appellants, Anuj Singh and Manoj Singh, and
the other two co-accused, Praveen Singh and Arvind Singh, under Section 307
read with Section 34 IPC. The two appellants herein were also held guilty for
the offence punishable under Section 27 of the Arms Act. All the four accused
were sentenced to undergo five years of Rigorous Imprisonment under Section
307 IPC read with Section 34 IPC along with a fine of Rs. 5,000/- each with
default clause of Rigorous Imprisonment for six months. The two appellants
herein were further sentenced to undergo Rigorous Imprisonment for three years
under Section 27 of the Arms Act with a fine of Rs. 2,000/- each with default
clause for three months on failure to pay the fine.
5. Two sets of Criminal Appeals were filed before the High Court. The two
accused, Praveen Singh and Arvind Singh, filed Criminal Appeal (SJ) No. 16 of
2007 whereas the present appellants filed Criminal Appeal (SJ) No. 69 of 2007
challenging their conviction and sentence.
4
6. The High Court decided both the appeals by common judgment and order
dated 16.01.2018 impugned herein. Insofar as, Criminal Appeal (SJ) No. 16 of
2007 filed by Praveen Singh and Arvind Singh is concerned, the same was
allowed by the High Court and their conviction and sentence was set aside and
they were exonerated.
7. Insofar as the Criminal Appeal (SJ) No. 69 of 2007 filed by the two
appellants herein is concerned, the High Court modified the conviction under
Section 307 IPC read with Section 34 IPC to Section 324 IPC and modified the
sentence awarded under the said Section by the Trial Court to Rigorous
Imprisonment for two years with a fine of Rs. 5,000/- with three months Simple
Imprisonment in case of default. However, the conviction of the two appellants
and their sentencing under Section 27 of the Arms Act was confirmed.
8. We have heard Mrs. Anjana Prakash, learned Senior Counsel appearing
for the appellants and Mr. Abhinav Mukerji, Mr. Saket Singh, learned counsel
appearing on behalf of the Respondent State and Shri Gaurav Agrawal, learned
counsel appearing for the intervenor.
9. Mrs. Anjana Prakash, learned Senior Counsel appearing for the appellants
vehemently submitted that though the conviction is under Section 27 of the
Arms Act but there is no material available on record to indicate recovery of any
5
gun or any seizure memo showing recovery of any bullet or pellets from the
spot. She also points out that even though the fardbeyan was recorded on
10.10.1999 and First Information Report was registered on the same day but the
same was sent to the Court of Chief Judicial Magistrate on 12.10.1999 and in
the absence of any explanation for delayed submission of FIR, the whole
prosecution story becomes doubtful.
10. After taking us through the statement of prosecution witnesses, she
pointed out the contradictions therein and vehemently submitted that the
contradictory statements made by the prosecution witnesses cast a serious
shadow of doubt on the genuineness of the prosecution story and, thus, the
appellants have been wrongly convicted and are liable to be discharged.
11. Learned Counsel appearing for the respondent and the intervenor
submitted that the High Court after analysing the statement of the witnesses has
rightly convicted the appellants and there being no illegality in the impugned
order, the same does not warrant any interference.
12. We have considered the arguments advanced by the learned Counsel
appearing for the parties and perused the record.
6
13. The main issue arising in this appeal for our consideration is whether
conviction of the two appellants, Anuj Singh and Manoj Singh, under Section
324 IPC and Section 27 of the Arms Act is sustainable?
14. The prosecution in all examined nine witnesses and two witnesses were
produced on behalf of the defence. An analysis of the testimony of the
prosecution witness are as follows:
a) PW-1 and PW-2, Bidya Sagar and Anil Singh, were declared as hostile by
the prosecution.
b) PW-3 Janardhan Singh stated that on 10.10.1999 at 5:30 PM, an
occurrence took place and at that time he came from his field to
Bajrangbali Mandir and saw Kumar Nandan Singh who was repairing his
wall. In the meantime, all the accused person came and started abusing
Kumar Nandan Singh. After which, the accused persons went to their
house and Anuj Singh and Manoj Singh came back armed with gun while
Praveen Singh and Arvind Singh came armed with lathi and spear.
Kumar Nandan Singh raised an alarm and told everybody around him to
escape from the place of occurrence and in the meantime, the accused
Manoj Singh fired a bullet shot on Kumar Nandan Singh which hit his
left foot. A second shot was fired by accused Anuj Singh due to which
Kumar Nandan Singh fell down. Thereafter, all the accused persons ran
7
away from the place of occurrence. In his cross examination, PW-3 stated
that accused Manoj Singh was present at the time of occurrence. He also
stated that due to gun shot injury, blood was oozing out from the body of
Kumar Nandan Singh as a result of which his clothes were stained with
blood. He further stated that Lakhisarai Referral Hospital is in between
his house and the clinic of Dr. Himkar, however, the doctor was not
available in the referral hospital. Therefore, Kumar Nandan Singh was
taken to the private clinic of Dr. Himkar for treatment.
c) PW-4 Naveen Singh has stated that occurrence took place on 10.10.1999
at 5:00 PM. At that time, he was standing near Bajrangbali Mandir and
Kumar Nandan Singh was repairing his wall. In the meantime, accused
Manoj Singh came and wanted him to stop repairing the wall. Upon this,
an altercation took place between them and after that accused persons
returned back to their home. Accused Manoj Singh and Anuj Singh came
back from their home and fired upon Kumar Nandan Singh which hit his
foot and hand. The accused person fled away on hearing that an alarm
was raised. In his cross-examination, PW-4 admitted that there was blood
oozing out from his foot and hand due to bullet shot injury. He also stated
that accused Manoj Singh is in Government Service but he was present at
the place of occurrence.
8
d) PW-5 Gauri Shankar Singh is one of the signatories of the fardbeyan but
he has not proved his signature on fardbeyan. He has stated that the
occurrence took place on 10.10.1999 at 5:00 PM and at the time, Kumar
Nandan Singh was repairing his wall and accused Manoj Singh came and
wanted to stop the repairing work. An altercation took place between the
two and after that accused Manoj Singh ran towards his house and came
back with a gun in his hand. Anuj Singh also had a gun in his hand while
Praveen Singh and Arvind Singh were carrying spear and lathi in their
hand respectively. Accused Manoj Singh opened fire upon Kumar
Nandan Singh as a result of which he sustained injury on his leg and Anuj
Singh fired upon Kumar Nandan Singh which hit the arm of Kumar
Nandan Singh. In his cross-examination, PW-5 admitted that there is an
ongoing dispute between the accused persons and Kumar Nandan Singh.
He also stated that blood was oozing out from his hand and foot due to
the bullet shot injury. He further stated that Manoj Singh and Anuj Singh
fired the bullet shot from a distance of 6-7 hands and both bullet shots
were fired from the same distance.
e) PW-6 Kumar Nandan Singh, the injured and informant of the case has
stated that occurrence took place on 10.10.1999 at 5.30 PM and at that
time, he was repairing his wall. Accused Manoj Singh came on a
motorcycle and asked him why he was repairing the wall on the roadside
for which he replied saying that he was erecting wall on his own land.
9
Subsequent to which, altercations took place between the two. Accused
Manoj Singh and Anuj Singh came with guns and Arvind Singh and
Praveen Singh came with lathis. Thereafter, Accused Manoj Singh and
Anuj Singh fired upon him which hit his left foot and right arm as a result
of which he fell down and became unconscious. He was immediately
taken to the private clinic of Dr. Himkar whereby he was given the
treatment. In his cross-examination, PW-6 admitted that partition between
him and accused person took place 30 years ago and he further stated that
he cannot say whether there was any blood oozing out from his body as
he was unconscious. He also stated that his dhoti and kurta were stained
with blood and on showing it to the sub-inspector, he did not take the
same.
f) PW-7 Jagdish Singh stated that at the time of occurrence, he saw Kumar
Nandan Singh was constructing the boundary wall by extending it on the
road. Upon this, Praveen Singh, Anuj Singh and Arvind Singh came there
and started assaulting Kumar Nandan Singh. On raising alarm, Vinod
Singh came with a pistol and fired upon Kumar Nandan Singh as a result
of which he sustained injuries on his leg and hand. In his crossexamination, PW-7 stated that accused Manoj Singh was not present at
the place of occurrence.
10
g) PW-8, Dr. Himkar is said to have examined the injured informant, Kumar
Nandan Singh. He stated that on 10.10.1999 while he was posted as
Additional P.H.C Parsama, he examined Kumar Nandan Singh and found
the following injuries:
“I. (A) Wound of entry- Lacerated wound of about 1/6”
diameter with inverted margin over dorsum of right forearm
about 2” proximal to corresponding wrist. There was
charring of skin.
(B) Wound of exit- Lacerated wound of about ¼” diameter
averted margin over the dorsum of right forearm at the same
level of wound A.
II. (A) Lacerated wound of about 1/6” diameter over lateral
aspect of left Leg about 6” distal to left knee. It was the
wound of entry since the margin of the wound was inverted.
(B). Wound of exit- Lacerated wound of about ¼” diameter
over the lateral aspect of left leg and at the same level of
wound IIA. Margin of wound was inverted.
(III) Age of injuries within six hours. All injuries are caused
by fire arms and simple in nature.”
In his cross examination, he stated that in his private capacity,
he treated the injured informant and has also stated that he had
informed the police about the same. He further stated that he
cannot say about the position of entry and exit of the wound
when one fires beyond 5 feet. He further stated that he has not
11
found any blunt object and the legs and hands are not vital part
of the body.
h) PW-9 Ram Anup Mahto, the IO of the case has stated that on 10.10.1999,
he was posted at lakhisarai PS and on the same day, he was entrusted
with the investigation of this case. During the investigation, he took the
statement of the informant and he visited the place of occurrence which is
situated at Village Sodhi. He also stated that a dispute was going on
between the parties over the said land and he further took the statement of
other witnesses. In his cross-examination, he stated that he has not taken
the statement of the accused.
15. On behalf of the defence, two witnesses have been examined. DW-1 is
Shivendu Ranjan, who has been examined on the point of alibi and he has stated
that accused Manoj Singh was posted at Islampur Block as junior engineer and
he was not present at the place of occurrence on the relevant date. DW-2 is
Manish Kumar, who has accepted the original letter sent by B.D.0., lslampur to
S.I. Lakhisarai (Ext. A), which was issued on the basis of checking of
attendance register.
16. A bare perusal of the deposition of the witnesses prove that the two
appellants, Anuj Singh and Manoj Singh were present at the place of occurrence
with a firearm and injury has been caused to the informant PW-6 due to the act
12
of the Appellants. The defence of plea of alibi taken by appellant Manoj Singh
that he was posted at Islampur Block does not inspire confidence as there is no
attendance register maintained by the office and the prosecution witness has
categorically stated that the Appellant, Manoj Singh was present at the place of
occurrence.
17. It is not disputed that there are minor contradictions with respect to the
time of the occurrence or injuries attributed on hand or foot but the constant
narrative of the witnesses is that the appellants were present at the place of
occurrence armed with guns and they caused the injury on informant PW-6.
However, the testimony of a witness in a criminal trial cannot be discarded
merely because of minor contradictions or omission as observed by this court in
Narayan Chetanram Chaudhary & Anr. Vs. State of Maharashtra1
. This Court
while considering the issue of contradictions in the testimony, while
appreciating the evidence in a criminal trial, held that only contradictions in
material particulars and not minor contradictions can be a ground to discredit
the testimony of the witnesses. Relevant portion of para 42 of the judgment
reads as under:
“42. Only such omissions which amount to contradiction in
material particulars can be used to discredit the testimony of
the witness. The omission in the police statement by itself
would not necessarily render the testimony of witness
unreliable. When the version given by the witness in the
court is different in material particulars from that disclosed
1
 (2000) 8 SCC 457
13
in his earlier statements, the case of the prosecution
becomes doubtful and not otherwise. Minor contradictions
are bound to appear in the statements of truthful witnesses
as memory sometimes plays false and the sense of
observation differ from person to person. The omissions in
the earlier statement if found to be of trivial details, as in the
present case, the same would not cause any dent in the
testimony of PW 2. Even if there is contradiction of
statement of a witness on any material point, that is no
ground to reject the whole of the testimony of such witness.”
18. The evidentiary value of a medical witness is very crucial to corroborate
the case of prosecution and it is not merely a check upon testimony of
eyewitnesses, it is also independent testimony, because it may establish certain
facts, quite apart from the other oral evidence. It has been reiterated by this
court that the medical evidence adduced by the prosecution has great
corroborative value as it proves that the injuries could have been caused in the
manner alleged. In the case at hand, PW-8, Dr. Himkar who examined the
informant PW-6 has clearly stated that all the injuries attributed on the
informant were caused by firearms and that tattooing may not appear over the
wound (injured area) if a person fires from 6-7 ft.
19. A detailed examination of prosecution witnesses clearly establishes:
i. That there was altercation between Informant PW-8 and the two
appellants Anuj Singh and Manoj Singh with respect to preventing
the Informant Pw-8 from repairing his wall.
ii. All the witnesses unequivocally confirmed the presence of the two
appellants at the place of occurrence on 10.10.1999.
14
iii. All the eyewitness have confirmed that the two appellants Anuj
Singh and Manoj Singh were armed with firearm.
iv. The medical evidence of PW-8, Dr. Himkar corroborates that
injuries inflicted on the Informant PW-8 were firearm injuries.
v. Injuries were inflicted on the non-vital part of the body of the
Informant PW-8.
20. It is a well-known fact that the term “hurt” simply means performing an
act which leads to physical pain, injury or any disease to a person. At times, hurt
may be caused voluntarily or it can by caused by using dangerous weapons or
mean. A person will be liable to have caused hurt voluntarily through dangerous
weapons and means under Section 324 IPC which reads as under:-
“324. Voluntarily causing hurt by dangerous weapons or
means.—Whoever, except in the case provided for by section
334, voluntarily causes hurt by means of any instrument for
shooting, stabbing or cutting, or any instrument which, used
as weapon of offence, is likely to cause death, or by means of
fire or any heated substance, or by means of any poison or
any corrosive substance, or by means of any explosive
substance or by means of any substance which it is
deleterious to the human body to inhale, to swallow, or to
receive into the blood, or by means of any animal, shall be
punished with imprisonment of either description for a term
which may extend to three years, or with fine, or with both.”
21. To establish an offence under Sec 324 IPC, the presence of following
ingredients is a must which are as follows:-
 1. Voluntary hurt caused to another person by the accused, and
 2. Such hurt was caused:
15
a. By any instrument used for shooting, cutting or stabbing, or any other
instrument likely to cause death, or
b. By fire or other heated instruments, or
c. By poison or other corrosive substance, or
d. By any explosive substance, or
e. By a substance that is dangerous for the human body to swallow,
inhale, or receive through blood, or
f. By an animal.
When a person commits an offence of voluntarily causing hurt by
dangerous weapons and means under Section 324 of Indian Penal Code,
then such person shall be punished with imprisonment for a period of
three years, or with fine.
22. In the case at hand, it is evident from the evidence of prosecution
witnesses that the two appellants have caused hurt on the body of the informant,
PW-8 by using firearm on account of an altercation which took place between
the appellants and the informant PW-8. It also stands corroborated from the
evidence of the prosecution witness that there existed previous enmity between
the parties due to a land dispute and the same can be perceived from their acts.
Thus, the charge of Section 324 IPC stands established against the two
appellants. Once the charge against the appellants under Section 324 IPC of
voluntarily causing injuries by firearm, which is a dangerous weapon stands
established, they cannot escape the punishment for using arms prescribed by
Section 27 of the Arms Act.
16
23. From the analysis of the above facts and circumstances, the High Court
has rightly convicted the appellants for the offences punishable under Section
324 IPC and Section 27 of the Arms Act. We do not find any good ground to
interfere with the impugned judgment. The appeals lack merits and are
accordingly dismissed.
.......................................CJI.
(N.V.RAMANA)
...........................................J.
(KRISHNA MURARI)
...........................................J.
(HIMA KOHLI)
NEW DELHI;
APRIL 22, 2022
17

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

100 Questions on Indian Constitution for UPSC 2020 Pre Exam

संविधान की प्रमुख विशेषताओं का उल्लेख | Characteristics of the Constitution of India

भारतीय संविधान से संबंधित 100 महत्वपूर्ण प्रश्न उतर