Landmark Cases of India / सुप्रीम कोर्ट के ऐतिहासिक फैसले

Criminal   Appeals   No.598­600   of   2013   have   been
preferred by accused Ajai alias Ajju, Braj Pal and Ravi
respectively.  Ajai alias Ajju has since died, as reported
by the learned counsel for both the sides.  Accordingly,
Criminal Appeal No.598 of 2013 stands abated. Criminal
Appeal No.337 of 2014 has been preferred by accused
2. The   above   appeals   assail   the   correctness   of   the
judgment and order of the High Court dated 22.02.2012
whereby the conviction recorded by the Trial Court under
section 302/149 of the Indian Penal Code1
  and other
allied offences, both under the IPC as also the Arms Act,
1959 has been affirmed.   However, sentence awarding
death penalty by the Trial Court has been commuted to
life sentence for all the accused. Rest of the sentences
have been maintained.
3. Criminal   Appeal   Nos.745­748   of   2015   have   been
preferred by the State of Uttar Pradesh against the above
referred common judgment of the High Court to enhance
the punishment to all the four respondents and award
them death sentence.
4. Prosecution story in brief is that Braj Pal Singh (one
of the accused) made a complaint to the police station at
Muradnagar, District Ghaziabad at about 4.30 AM on
25.08.2007 that early  in the morning at around 3.00 AM
he   heard   the   shouting   and   shrieking   of   Ms   Rashmi,
daughter of his brother Vijay Pal Singh whereupon along
with other villagers he reached the house of his brother
in the neighbourhood only to find that his brother Vijay
Pal Singh, his wife Smt Rajesh were lying on the ground
floor on their cots with their necks cut by sharp edged
weapons, and further, when he went on the upper floor,
he saw Nishant, son of Vijay Pal Singh and also Mangal
Singh, son in law of Vijay Pal Singh also lying dead on
their cots with their necks also cut. Smt Pinky, daughter
of Vijay Pal Singh was also lying on the ground floor in
an injured condition. She was taken to the hospital and
admitted   there   whereas   the   dead­bodies   of   the   four
deceased persons were lying on the spot where the crime
was   committed.     After   registering   the   case,   the
investigation started.  
5. The Investigating Officer recorded the statements of
the   two   daughters   of   the   deceased   Vijay   Pal   Singh,
namely Ms Rashmi and Smt Pinky (PW­1). According to
Smt Pinky and also Ms Rashmi a very shocking sequence
of events were revealed. According to Smt Pinky, there
was enmity of her father with his brother Braj Pal and
son of other brother Indra Pal; further, there was enmity
with their neighbour Mukesh over consuming alcohol.
She further stated that she was sleeping with her parents
on the ground floor.  Her sister Ms Rashmi, brother­inlaw Mangal Singh, brother Nishant were sleeping on the
upper floors of the house.  At about 3.00 AM, she woke
up due to some noise only to see that her neighbour
Mukesh, son of Tungal Singh, Braj Pal Singh, Ravi, Ajai
alias Ajju were assaulting her parents with  talwar  and
gandasa.  Mukesh assaulted her with a sword. She tried
to save herself but then she fell down and lay quietly.
She also narrated that Mukesh was saying ‘Abrar makes
sure   that   no   one   is   left   alive.   Kill   all   of   them’   and
thereafter he went upstairs.  She continued to lie close to
her mother in a state of fright and shock.   They left
thinking that she was also dead.  They were also taking
name of one Pramod. Both Abrar and Pramod are from
village Noorpur, which is the in­law’s place of Mukesh.
They used to regularly come to Mukesh and that she had
seen   them   earlier.   When   these   assailants   left   after
assaulting,   her   sister   Ms   Rashmi   came   down   from
upstairs   only   to   see   that   their   parents,   brother   and
husband   had   been   murdered.   Both   the   sisters   ran
outside   shrieking  and   shouting,   and   after  some   time,
Braj Pal and Mukesh came along with others and they
asked what had happened. They came inside and saw
the entire place of occurrence and asked Smt Pinky if she
had recognised the assailants.   Out of fright both Ms
Rashmi   and   Smt   Pinky   denied   having   seen   anyone.
Thereafter Mukesh called for the vehicle of Ajai alias Ajju
and they brought them to the hospital.  They were also
asking her on the way as to whether she had recognised
any one, to which she had denied.  She also requested
the Investigating Officer that both of them have told the
correct sequence but please keep to himself as there is
imminent threat to her life and also to her sister’s life.
After narrating the entire story   Smt Pinky (PW­1) fell
unconscious.     Ms Rashmi, the other daughter of the
deceased   has   also   given   a   similar   statement   to   the
Investigating   Officer,   although   she   was   not   examined
during   trial.   After   recording   the   said   statements,   the
Investigating Officer completed all the formalities, sent
the dead­bodies for post­mortem, informed the superior
authorities,   prepared   the   sight   plan,   made   necessary
recoveries from the spot. 
6. Smt Pinky (PW­1) suffered the following injuries as
per the injury report prepared by Dr Rajeev Sharma(PW2)   of   the   Sarvodaya   Hospital,   Ghaziabad   who   had
examined her at 5.25 AM on the same day:
(i) Amputated   little   &   ring   finger   at   level   of
proximal crease (R)
(ii) Cut lacerated wound on palmar aspect of
(R) hand 8 cm. x 2 cm. red in colour. 2 cm
distal to palmar crease.
(iii) Cut   lacerated   wound   on   front   side   of
forearm (R) 6 cm. x 2 cm. red in colour
profusely, bleeding, 5 cm. above wrist joint.
(iv) Cut   lacerated   wound   over   face   extending
from (Lt.) Angle of mouth 5 cm. x 3 cm.
(v) Cut lacerated wound over neck 5 cm. x 1
cm. just above upper crease of neck.
(vi) Cut lacerated wound at base of index and
middle finger on back side 2 cm. x 1 cm. &
2 cm. x 0.5 cm. respectively.
(vii) Cut lacerated wound on (L) ear 3 cm. x 1
cm. red in colour and bleeding.” 
X­ray of the neck and jaws was also conducted on the
same day and a report to that effect was submitted by
Dr.Rajeshwar Yadav, Radiologist (PW­3).  
7. Post­mortem was conducted in the afternoon on the
same day by Dr K.N.Tiwari (PW­4) and the following antemortem injuries were reported on the four deceased:
Antemortem Injuries (Exhibit Ka­3)
(1)Incised wound over neck lower part anteriorly
and on Rt.side 8 cm. x 4 cm., bone deep, 3
cm. above supractenal notch, soft tissues of
neck including blood vessels and trachea are
cut in the wound.
(2)Incised wound on Lt. side neck lower part 8
cm. below ear 7 cm. x 3 cm. wound in muscle
deep, soft tissue and muscle cut. 
Post­mortem wound
Three clean cut wounds on right hand dorsum
are present.  Sixe 8 cm. x 5 cm., 7 cm. x 4 cm., 3
cm. x 2 cm., 2.3 cm. apart.
Vijay Pal
Antemortem Injuries (Exhibit Ka­4)
(1)Incised   wound   in   upper   part   of   neck   on
anterior and sides size 10 cm. x 3 cm. bone
deep, wound is 8 cm. below ear lobule laryux,
hyoid soft tissues and blood  vessels are cut in
the wound.
Post mortem wound
Post mortem wounds (1) clean cut 7 cm x 3 cm.
on dorsum of Rt. Hand, (2) Abrasion 7 cm. x 3
cm. on dorsum of Rt. Hand and 1 cm. x 1 cm.
clean cut over Lt. angle of mouth noted.
Antemortem Injuries (Exhibit Ka­5)
(1)Incised wound 25 cm. x 9 cm. on upper part of
neck and lower jaw on anterior and Rt. Side,
wound is reactive upto Vertebrae, Mandible,
soft tissues of neck muscles, Larix, hyoid and
blood vessels are cut in the wound.
(2)Upper part of wound in at level of ear lobule
and oblique, oblique Incised wound on Rt.side
face, from upper lip to ear 11 cm. x 1 cm.
muscle deep.
Antemortem Injuries (Exhibit Ka­6)
(1)Incised wound 9 cm. x 2 cm, oblique, Rt. Side
neck reaching upto mid line 6cm. Below ear
muscle deep.
(2)Incised wound 5 m.m. Below injury no.1 on
Rt.   Side   neck   reaching   up   to   midline   size
10cm   x   8   cm.,   muscles,   Larynx,   (thyroid
cartilage   and   hyoid)   vessels   are   cut   in   the
8. After   having   recorded   the   statements   of   the   two
daughters of Vijay Pal Singh, namely Smt Pinky and Ms
Rashmi,   the   Investigating   Officer   Sub­Inspector   Ram
Babu Saxena (PW­9) also noted that mobile number of
the deceased Nishant bearing No.9336780542 was also
not traceable. Later on, the Investigating Officer arrested
Mukesh   and   Braj   Pal   Singh.     Mukesh   after   his
confessional statement also got recoveries made on his
pointing out of blood­stained pant, Khukri from his house
which   were   taken   into   custody,   sealed   and   memo
prepared.   Motor cycle belonging to Abrar, co­accused
was also recovered and taken into custody.   Braj Pal
Singh after giving his confessional statement also got a
blood­stained  gandasa  recovered from his house which
was taken into custody, sealed and memo prepared.  On
28.08.2007,   co­accused   Ravi   was   arrested   and   in   his
confessional statement, and on his pointing out, a bloodstained T­shirt and a mobile phone LG Reliance bearing
No.9336780542 was also recovered from the house of his
mother’s sister. The same was taken into custody, sealed
and a memo prepared.   Ajai alias Ajju was arrested on
4.11.2007   and   upon   recording   his   confessional
statement, and on his pointing out, a knife was recovered
from his village hidden near a canal, the said knife was
taken into custody and a recovery memo was prepared.
The recovered articles were sent for forensic examination
to the Vidhi Vigyan Prayogshala, Agra.  
9. After   completing   the   investigation,   a   charge­sheet
was   filed   against   the   four   accused   namely,   Braj   Pal
Singh, Mukesh, Ravi and Ajai alias Ajju. Two separate
cases were registered against Mukesh and Ajai alias Ajju
under sections 4/25 of the Arms Act.  In these two FIRs
also a charge­sheet was submitted.  All the matters were
clubbed together and tried by the Trial Court.  
10. The   prosecution   examined   13   witnesses.   They   all
supported the prosecution story. All the relevant material
and documents were proved and exhibited.  
11. The   four   accused   gave   their   statements   under
section 313 of the Criminal Procedure Code2
   in which
they denied their involvement and alleged that they had
been falsely implicated; they also stated that the recovery
was   not   at   their   instance;   the   witnesses   were   giving
evidence out of enmity; the accused in defence examined
two   witnesses.     Dr   Islamuddin,   a   resident   doctor   in
Sarvoday Hospital was examined as DW­1 to prove the
medical papers regarding admission of Smt Pinky in the
hospital Exh. Kha­1 to   Kha­38. Smt Berwati, wife of
Mool Chand, mother of the accused Ajai alias Ajju was
examined as DW­2. She stated that her son was arrested
along with Mukesh and Braj Pal, thereafter released and
again after 20 days he was arrested.     
2 CrPC
12. The   Trial   Court   vide   judgment   dated   24.09.2009,
after thorough scrutiny and appreciation of the material
evidence   on   record,   came   to   the   conclusion   that   the
prosecution had successfully brought home the guilt of
the four accused in committing the murder of the four
deceased and attempt to murder of Smt Pinky (PW­1)
who were their close relatives and, accordingly, convicted
them under section 302/149 and section 307 of IPC  and
other allied offences under IPC and Arms Act, 1959 and
awarded them death sentence and life imprisonment and
other lesser sentences for different offences proved.  
13. Appeals were preferred before the High Court by the
accused which were heard along with death reference
forwarded by the Trial Court.  Before the High Court, the
appellants Braj Pal, Ajai alias Ajju and Ravi had engaged
separates   counsels   whereas   appellant   Mukesh   was
provided an  amicus curiae  from the legal aid. The High
Court, after considering the respective arguments and
the material on record, affirmed the conviction recorded
by the Trial Court of all the offences.   However, on the
question  of sentence,  after  discussing the  law  on  the
point   and  taking  into  consideration  the  various   other
relevant factors, commuted the death sentence into life
14. Aggrieved by the same, present appellants are before
this Court.
15. We have heard learned counsel for the parties at
length and also perused not only the record provided by
the learned counsel for the parties but also the Original
Record of the Trial Court.
16. On   behalf   of   the   appellants,   the   arguments
advanced are briefly recorded as follows:
(i) This is a case of solitary eye­witness, namely,
Smt Pinky (PW­1), her testimony was that of a
witness   related   to   the   deceased   and   also   a
witness having enmity with the appellants and,
therefore, would not be a reliable witness and
ought not to have been relied upon;
(ii) There is no other evidence to corroborate the
testimony of the solitary eye­witness, PW­1;
(iii)Smt Pinky (PW­1), at the first instance, does not
disclose   the   names   of   the   assailants   to   the
villagers and other family members who collected
on   her   shouting   and   shrieking   nor   did   she
disclose the names of the assailants at the time
she was admitted to the hospital, therefore, it is
a case of improvement;
(iv) There is evidence to show that a dog squad was
summoned in the morning, as such it was a case
of unknown assailants and that the eye­witness
Smt Pinky had actually not seen any one and
even   if   she   had   seen   any   one,   she   did   not
recognise   them.   A   dog   squad   would   not   have
been put into action, in case the names of the
assailants   were   known;   as   such   this   also
suggests improvement;
(v)No   explanation   as   to   why   Ms   Rashmi   and
Horam, father of the deceased Vijay Pal Singh,
accused Braj Pal and grandfather of Ravi were
not examined, even though they were there at
the place of occurrence; and 
(vi) The   statement   of   Smt   Pinky   (PW­1)   was   not
recorded before the Magistrate under section 164
CrPC which creates a doubt.
(vii) Learned counsel on behalf of the appellant Ravi
raised   an   additional   argument   that   Smt   Pinky
(PW­1)   did   not   take   his   name   before   the
Investigating   Officer   while   giving   her   statement
under section 161 CrPC.   According to him, the
name of Ravi has been taken for the first­time
during trial as an improvement. His client has
been falsely implicated.
(viii)Learned   Amicus   appearing   for   appellant
Mukesh has referred to various discrepancies in
the testimony of the witnesses.
17. On the other hand, learned counsel appearing for
the   respondent   ­State   submitted   that   the   findings
recorded by the Trial Court and the High Court are based
upon   a   thorough   scrutiny   and   appreciation   of   the
evidence on record and do not require any interference.
It is further submitted by the learned counsel for the
State   that   the   appellants   being   close   relatives   and
neighbours of the deceased, in order to gain property,
settled their score of enmity by committing a ghastly act
of brutally murdering four members of the same family
and also attempting to murder the injured witness Smt
Pinky who had been attacked and assaulted on her neck
and in the act of protecting herself she lost a couple of
fingers of her upper hand. No leniency needs to be shows
to   them.     The   High   Court   committed   an   error   in
commuting   the   death   sentence   to   life   imprisonment.
Accordingly, the sentence of life imprisonment awarded
by the High Court be set aside and that of the Trial Court
of death sentence be restored.
18. The submissions advanced are being dealt with in
the same sequence.   PW­1 is an injured witness.   Her
injuries have not been challenged.   There is no reason
why PW­1 would make false implication and allow the
real assailants to go scot­free.  A perusal of her testimony
shows that she has fully supported the prosecution story
as narrated by her in her statement under section 161
CrPC.  Even during cross­examination nothing has been
elicited   from   her   which   in   any   way   may   weaken   or
demolish her testimony.  She was a fully reliable witness
and has stated the things in natural course.
19. The two daughters of the deceased Vijay Pal Singh
having   seen   the   assailants   murdering   their   family
members and also causing injury to one of them i.e. Smt
Pinky (PW­1) being close relative rightly and wisely did
not speak out anything in their presence and allowed
them to remain in dark that she had actually seen them
committing the crime.   At the first instance, when the
Investigating Officer went to the hospital to record her
statement,   they   immediately   came   out   with   the   true
sequence   of   events   as   they   had   happened.     The
appellants   cannot   gain   anything   out   of   the   above
20. The pressing of the dog squad into service was also
fully justified as till that time when the dog squad was
pressed into service in the morning the names of the
assailants had not been disclosed.   The dog squad had
been pressed into service as per the FIR since the names
of the assailants were not known. It is the case of the
prosecution itself that the time when the FIR was lodged
and at the time when Smt Pinky (PW­1) was admitted to
the hospital, the names of the assailants had not been
disclosed   deliberately   and   for   justifiable   reasons.   The
daughters   of   the   deceased   Vijay   Pal   Singh   needed   to
protect their lives otherwise they would also had been
done to death.
21. Non­examination of Ms Rashmi and Horam, father
of Vijay Pal Singh also has no material bearing. It is the
discretion of the prosecution to lead as much evidence as
is necessary for proving the charge.  It is not the quantity
of   the   witnesses   but   the   quality   of   witnesses   which
matters.   Smt   Pinky   (PW­1)   was   the   injured   witness
having received grievous and life­threatening injuries. We
are not impressed by this argument also. 
22. Non­examination of the statement under section 164
CrPC also has no relevance or bearing to the findings and
conclusions arrived at by the courts below. It was for the
Investigating   Officer   to   have   got   the   statement   under
section   164   CrPC   recorded.   If   he   did   not   think   it
necessary in his wisdom, it cannot have any bearing on
the testimony of PW­1 and the other material evidence
led during trial.
23. Insofar as the attempt of the learned counsel for
Ravi is concerned, regarding his name not being taken in
the statement of Smt Pinky under section 161 CrPC, we
are of the view that the same is factually incorrect. This
Court has perused the statement of Smt Pinky and finds
that at two places she has taken the name of Ravi, both
during the assault and otherwise also.
24. Learned Amicus for the appellant Mukesh has tried
to point out several discrepancies and inconsistencies in
the evidence. We need not go into details as the same are
minor   and   do   not   have   any   impact   on   the   findings
recorded by the courts below.
25. For all the reasons recorded above, we do not find
any infirmity in the order of the High Court affirming the
conviction   of   the   appellants.     Accordingly,   Criminal
Appeal Nos.598­600 of 2013 and Criminal Appeal No.
337   of   2014   are   liable   to   be   dismissed   and   are
accordingly dismissed.   Insofar as the appeals filed by
the State are concerned for enhancement of sentence, we
find that the High Court has given sound and cogent
reasons for commuting death sentence into life sentence.
Accordingly, the Criminal Appeal Nos.745­748 of 2015
also stand dismissed. The appellants are in custody and
they will serve out their sentence.
26. Pending applications, if any, are disposed of.
FEBRUARY 15, 2023. 


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