Landmark Cases of India / सुप्रीम कोर्ट के ऐतिहासिक फैसले

Criminal Appeal No. 1981 of 2014 Page 1 of 10
The impugned judgment dated 18th December 2012 passed
by the High Court of Judicature at Allahabad in Criminal Appeal No.
5036 of 2005 upheld the conviction of Bhagwati Singh and his three
sons, Bhoop Singh, Balwant Singh and Sanju Singh, for murder of
Chandrapal Singh outside his residence in Village Sahnaul, District
Aligarh, Uttar Pradesh, on 11th August 2003 at about 4:30 p.m. The
appellants have been sentenced, for the offence under Section 302
of the Indian Penal Code, 18601
, to imprisonment for life and fine of
Rs.5,000/- and in default of payment of fine to undergo simple
1 For short, ‘IPC’
Criminal Appeal No. 1981 of 2014 Page 2 of 10
imprisonment for one month. The appellants have also been
convicted under Section 307 of the IPC for attempt to murder the
brother of the deceased Chandrapal Singh, namely, Rakesh
Kumar, who is also the informant and has deposed as PW-1. The
appellants have been sentenced to rigorous imprisonment for
seven years with fine of Rs.3,000/- and in default of payment of fine,
additional simple imprisonment for fifteen days for the offence
under Section 307 of the IPC. The sentences are to run
2. Having considered the evidence on record, for the reasons stated
below, we are inclined to uphold the conviction, albeit we would
discard and not rely upon the testimony of Ramphal Singh (PW-2),
as an eye witness to the occurrence.
3. The appellants have questioned the place of occurrence as well as
the presence of Rakesh Kumar (PW-1) at his home located in
Village Sahnaul, District Aligarh, Uttar Pradesh, on 11th August
2003. These facts, in our opinion, are not only proved from the
testimony of Rakesh Kumar (PW-1), but are also established from
the depositions of Special Sub-Inspector2 Veerpal Singh (PW-6)
2 For short, ‘SSI’
Criminal Appeal No. 1981 of 2014 Page 3 of 10
and Dr. Anil Kumar Purwani (PW-5) who had conducted the
medical examination of Rakesh Kumar (PW-1) on 12th August 2003
and had deposed about the injuries caused on his body.
4. Rakesh Kumar (PW-1) has testified that, on the date of the incident,
he had come to his village from Aligarh, where he and his brother
were working, on account of the Rakshabandhan festival. They had
reached the house separately, within 5-10 minutes, as deceased
Chandrapal Singh had gone to drop his children to his in-laws’
house. At about 4:30 p.m. on 11th August 2003, the appellants had
come to their house. Bhagwati Singh was armed with a lathi while
the three brothers were armed with country-made pistols. Bhagwati
Singh had asked deceased Chandrapal Singh as to why he had
stored bricks on his land. He had also hurled abuses at Chandrapal
Singh. Chandrapal Singh had replied that he would remove the
bricks in 2-3 days, but Bhagwati Singh was not convinced by the
explanation and consequently raised an alarm calling other
appellants to fire and kill Chandrapal Singh. Bhoop Singh had then
fired a shot at Chandrapal Singh with the country-made pistol.
Balwant Singh and Sanju had also fired at Rakesh Kumar (PW-1)
with their country-made pistols, but the latter managed to save
himself by taking shelter behind a wall. Rakesh Kumar (PW-1) did
Criminal Appeal No. 1981 of 2014 Page 4 of 10
not receive any firearm injury, but when he had tried to run inside
his house, he was assaulted by Bhagwati Singh with the lathi.
Chandrapal Singh died on the spot. Before his death, he had taken
two-three steps from the place he had received a bullet injury and
then fell on the ground. The blood had spilled at that place where
he fell. Rakesh Kumar (PW-1) had proceeded to the Police Station,
Atrauli, Uttar Pradesh, where his statement (Exhibit Ka-1) was
recorded and the First Information Report (FIR) No. 136 dated 11
August 2003 (Exhibit Ka-2) was registered. The FIR mentions the
names of the four appellants as the perpetrators. It states that the
deceased Chandrapal Singh had died due to firearm injury and that
the informant, that is, Rakesh Kumar (PW-1), had also suffered
injuries inflicted by lathi.
5. Rakesh Kumar (PW-1) was subjected to a very lengthy crossexamination, and was questioned on the motive or the reason for
the occurrence. He has deposed that the bricks were brought by his
brother Chandrapal Singh, but Rakesh Kumar (PW-1) could not tell
how many days before the occurrence the bricks were brought, as
he resided in Aligarh due to his job, and the bricks were stored near
the village well on the land of the Gram Sabha. Relying on the
cross-examination, during the course of arguments, it was
Criminal Appeal No. 1981 of 2014 Page 5 of 10
suggested that the site plan/spot map, relied upon by the
prosecution, marked as Exhibit Ka-12, did not show the location of
the well or the stored bricks. In our opinion, the argument does not
have any merit as the written complaint (Exhibit Ka-1) does refer to
the well and states that the bricks were stored on the platform of
the well, which existed on the Gram Sabha/Samaj land, but does
not state that the well was located near the house. The questions
put to Rakesh Kumar (PW-1) have been answered with great clarity
and conviction. Rakesh Kumar (PW-1) deposed that the police
station was located at a distance of 6-7 kilometres from his village.
They had left the village at about 5:30 p.m. on 11th August 2003 to
reach the police station. There, they met the SSI Veerpal Singh
(PW-6), and the written complaint (Exhibit Ka-2) was given. They
returned from the police station to the house, and at about 12:00
midnight, they had proceeded to Atrauli Hospital, where Rakesh
Kumar (PW-1) had got his medical examination conducted. The
dead body of Chandrapal Singh was also taken to Aligarh, located
at a distance of 32-33 kilometres from the village, and the postmortem examination was conducted. At the end of the lengthy
cross-examination, the defence gave two suggestions to Rakesh
Kumar (PW-1). First, that Rakesh Kumar (PW-1) had been called
from Aligarh to the police station to make a report, which Rakesh
Criminal Appeal No. 1981 of 2014 Page 6 of 10
Kumar (PW-1) categorically denied as incorrect. He has denied that
the complaint against the appellants was false. Secondly, it was
suggested that Rakesh Kumar (PW-1) was not medically examined.
Rakesh Kumar (PW-1) denied that there was no medical
examination and that he had shown fake/self-inflicted injuries.
6. Dr. Anil Kumar Purwani (PW-5), who had examined Rakesh Kumar
(PW-1) on 12th August 2003, has deposed that Rakesh Kumar (PW1) had as many as six injuries, which included one lacerated wound
and five contusions. The injuries were simple in nature and could
have been caused by a hard blunt object. The injuries could have
been caused in the preceding 12 hours, and thus, might have been
caused on 11th August 2003 at about 4:30 p.m.
7. The death of the deceased Chandrapal Singh by a firearm injury is
not disputed and is proven by the post mortem report (Exhibit Ka10), and vide deposition of Dr. Hira Singh (PW-4), who had
conducted the post mortem on 12th August 2003 at 3:30 p.m. in the
District Hospital, Aligarh. He has testified, and as per the post
mortem report (Exhibit ka-10), the death of Chandrapal Singh was
due to shock and haemorrhage as a result of the ante-mortem
injuries inflicted by a firearm. Dr. Hira Singh (PW-4) has testified
Criminal Appeal No. 1981 of 2014 Page 7 of 10
about the entry and the exit wound on the front and backside of the
left side chest of Chandrapal Singh.
8. Learned counsel for the appellants has submitted that empty
cartridges were not found at the spot and have not been exhibited.
This is correct. However, Veerpal Singh (PW-6) has deposed that
on 11th August 2003 he was posted as SSI at Police Station, Atrauli
and the investigation of the case was handed over to him. On the
same day, he had visited the place of incident and had prepared
the site map of the incident, which was marked Exhibit Ka-12. He
had prepared the seizure report of the blood-stained and plain earth
bearing his signatures, which was marked Exhibit Ka-9. The place
of incident was located at a distance of 5-6 kilometres from the
police station. With reference to the site map (Exhibit Ka-12),
Veerpal Singh (PW-6) had identified and demarcated the place
from where the blood-stained earth was collected. It was a rough
surface of concrete. Blood had also spilled on open soil.
9. What is clear from the above deposition is that there was a time gap
between the actual occurrence and the visit of the police to the
place of incident. By that time, the villagers had collected at the
spot, a factum which has been deposed to by Rakesh Kumar (PW1), wherein he has stated that the villagers saw the police taking
Criminal Appeal No. 1981 of 2014 Page 8 of 10
the dead body 2 hours after the incident. This was not controverted
and challenged in the cross-examination. Disappearance of the
empty cartridges can be explained, as a number of villagers had
gathered on the spot and had access to the place of occurrence.
Further, the place of occurrence cannot be challenged on this
ground. There is overwhelming evidence to establish that the place
of incident was outside the residence of the deceased Chandrapal
Singh and his brother Rakesh Kumar (PW-1).
10. Ramphal Singh (PW-2) has similarly deposed and stated that the
police arrived around 7:00-8:00 p.m. and several persons had gone
along with the dead body. He had also deposed that he was an eyewitness who had seen the appellants and was a witness to the
firing. However, in his cross-examination, he accepted that the SubInspector3 had not recorded his statement and he had not informed
the SI that Bhoop Singh had shot at Chandrapal Singh. Further, he
had not told the SI that he had reached the spot after hearing a
noise and had seen the dispute between the appellants, deceased
Chandrapal Singh and Rakesh Kumar (PW-1). As per Veerpal
Singh (PW-6), Ramphal Singh (PW-2) was a signatory to the
panchnama (Exhibit Ka-9), but Veerpal Singh (PW-6) had neither
3 For Short, ‘SI’
Criminal Appeal No. 1981 of 2014 Page 9 of 10
recorded the statement of Ramphal Singh (PW-2) nor asked him
whether he was an eye-witness. Ramphal Singh (PW-2) did not tell
Veerpal Singh (PW-6) anything with regard to his being an eyewitness. It appears that Ramphal Singh’s (PW-2) statement under
Section 161 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, on his being
an eye-witness, was recorded as late as 2nd September 2003,
which is nearly 20 days after the occurrence. The spot map/site
plan (Exhibit Ka-12) does not mention the location of the house of
Ramphal Singh (PW-2). We would, therefore, discard and not take
into account the testimony of Ramphal Singh (PW-2) as a purported
eye-witness. However, for the reasons stated above, we are of the
view that we can rely upon the testimony of Rakesh Kumar (PW-1)
to affirm the conviction of the appellants, which has been proved
and established beyond reasonable doubt.
11. Recording the aforesaid, the appeal is dismissed. The appellant
Bhoop Singh, who was released on bail pursuant to the order of this
Court dated 9th September 2014, as he had already suffered
incarceration for 11 years, shall surrender within one month from
the date of pronouncement of this judgment. In case he fails to
surrender, the authorities shall take steps in accordance with law to
take him into custody for undergoing the sentence. The other
Criminal Appeal No. 1981 of 2014 Page 10 of 10
appellants are incarcerated and would, therefore, undergo their
sentence. We are not interfering or modifying the order of sentence.
AUGUST 29, 2022.


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