IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION
Criminal Appeal No(s). 1817 OF 2009
MANPHOOL SINGH & ORS. Appellant(s)
THE STATE OF HARYANA Respondent(s)
Criminal Appeal No. 332 OF 2009
THE STATE OF HARYANA Appellant(s)
PAWAN & ORS. Respondent(s)
J U D G M E N T
R. BANUMATHI, J.
Criminal Appeal NO.1817 of 2009 :
(1) Being aggrieved by the conviction under Sections 302 r/w
149 I.P.C. and the sentence of life imprisonment, the
appellants have preferred this appeal.
(2) During the pendency of the appeal, it is stated at the Bar
that appellants no.1-Manphool Singh (A-1), No.2-Rattan Singh
(A-2) and No.4-Zile Singh (A-6) have died and the only
contesting appellant i.e. appellant no.3-Surender Singh (A-5)
(3) Summary of the case and details are briefly stated. Case
of the prosecution is that due to previous enmity, on 14th
March, 1994 when deceased no.1, Gopi Chand, and deceased no.2,
Mahabir, were sitting at the house of Harpal, appellants and
other co-accused (since acquitted) are alleged to have attacked
the complainant party. Due to the said attack Gopi Chand (D1)
and Mahabir (D-2) died. Accused, Surender Singh, Zile Singh
and Rattan Singh are said to have attacked Gopi Chand (D-1)
with lathis and accused-Manphool Singh fired at Mahabir (D-2)
with a gun.
(4) To bring home the guilt of the accused before the trial
court, the prosecution has examined three witnesses, namely,
Harpal (PW-9), Manphool (PW-10) and Mahendra (PW-11) who have
all stated that the accused have formed unlawful assemble on
the fateful day and that Surender Singh (A-5), Zile Singh (A-6)
and Rattan Singh (A-2) attacked Gopi Chand (D-1) with lathis
and Manphool (A-1) fired at Mahabir (D-2). Their evidence to
some extent is also corroborated by the medical evidence. Based
on the evidence of the eye-witnesses, the recovery of weapons
and the medical evidence, the trial court convicted the
appellants under Sections 302 r/w 149 and 307 r/w 149 I.P.C.
The trial court also convicted other accused Narender (A-3),
Pawan Kumar (A-4) and Vijay (A-7) by invoking Section 149
I.P.C. On appeal, the High Court confirmed the conviction of
the appellants herein but acquitted the accused, namely,
Narender (A-3), Pawan Kumar (A-4) and Vijay (A-7). Being
aggrieved of the acquittal of the said accused, the State has
preferred Criminal Appeal no.332 of 2009.
(5) We have heard Mr. Rishi Malhotra, learned counsel
appearing for the appellants and Mr. Arun Bhardwaj, learned
Additional Advocate General appearing for the respondent-State.
The main contention urged by learned counsel for the appellants
is that the occurrence was at the night time and the evidence
of the eye-witnesses, as to overt act of each of the accused,
is not believable. It is further submitted by learned counsel
that the defence put fourth by the accused in exercise of the
private defence by Manphool (A-1) and others in the occurrence,
was not properly appreciated by the courts below. In this
regard, learned counsel has drawn our attention to the evidence
of Dr. P.K. Jain (PW-5), Dr. K.C. Kajal (DW-1) and Dr. P.K.
Anand (DW-2) who have issued wound certificate regarding the
injuries sustained by the appellant-Manphool (A-1). It was
submitted that on the night of the occurrence when Manphool (A1)
was coming home he was intercepted by the complainant party
and attacked and Manhool (A-1) has reacted in private defence
which aspect was not properly considered by the courts below.
(6) We have carefully gone through the rival submissions, the
materials on record and the impugned judgment.
(7) No doubt eye-witnesses Harpal (PW-9), Manphool (PW-10) and
Mahendra (PW-11) have stated about the occurrence and the overt
act of the accused, the only question falling for consideration
is whether the accused-party acted in self-defence. In his
questioning under Section 313 Cr.P.C., Manphool (A-1) has
stated that on the date of occurrence when he reached near the
house of Pirthi Singh at about 9 p.m., deceased-Gopi Chand (D1)
subjected him and questioned him about his sons and
subsequently Manphool (A-1) was given a lathi blow on his head
by Gopi Chand (D-1) along with Tara Chand and Lal Chand; and
that Gopi Chand (D-1) was having a gun at that point.
Appellant-Manphool has stated that having seen Gopi Chand (D-1)
armed with the gun, he has to necessarily act in self-defence
in order to protect himself. It is pertinent to point out that
in the occurrence, appellant-Manphool has sustained as many as
ten injuries, as may be seen from the evidence of Dr. P.K. Jain
(PW-5) and Exhibit PN issued by him referring to the injuries
sustained by the appellant-Manphool. On perusal of the
evidence of Dr. P.K. Jain (PW-5), it is seen that the
appellant-Manphool has sustained six lacerated wounds and;
contusion and abrasion on the body including the lacerated
wound on the parietal region and left forearm etc. The
discrepancy in the medical evidence has not been properly
explained by the prosecution.
(8) Seemingly there appears to be a contradiction in the
medical evidence made on the person of the deceased-Gopi Chand
who sustained the fatal injuries. As per the evidence of Dr.
M.D. Sharma (PW-4) who issued post-mortem certificate, the
deceased-Gopi Chand (D-1) had only one single injury on his
head. However, Dr. D.S. Dangi (PW-8) who examined the deceased
Gopi Chand (D-1) has stated that the said deceased had two
lacerated wounds on the left side of the scalp and six
fractured wounds on his scalp. The contradiction about the
number of injuries sustained by the deceased-Gopi Chand (D-1)
has not been explained by the prosecution.
(9) Whenever accused-party sustains injuries in the same
occurrence and when the injuries are grievous in nature it is
incumbent upon the prosecution to explain the injuries on the
person of the accused. In the present case, the prosecution
has not chosen to explain the injuries sustained by the
appellant-Manphool (A-1), meaning thereby that the real genesis
of the occurrence has not been placed before the Court. Nonexplanation
of the injuries, which are ten in number, on the
person of the appellant-Manphool, raises a doubt about the
sequence of occurrence, as projected by the prosecution. After
having considered the nature of injuries sustained by the
appellant-Manphool (A-1), there is a possibility that the
appellant-Manphool (A-1) has acted in self-defence and the
defence plea cannot be rejected in toto. It may be noted that
the appellant-Manphool (A-1) has exceeded his limit in private
defence by firing at the deceased-Mahabir (D-2) and also
causing head injuries on the person of the deceased-Gopi Chand
(D-1). Considering the defence plea and the nature of the
injuries sustained by the appellant-Manphool Singh (A-1),
conviction of the appellants under Section 302 I.P.C. cannot be
sustained. In our considered view the conviction of the
appellants has to be modified under Section 304 I.P.C.
(10) Considering the fact and circumstances of the case, and
that the accused had acted in self defence which is proved to
have exceeded, the conviction of the appellants under Section
302 I.P.C. has to be modified. As the occurrence happened in a
free fight between both the parties, conviction of the
appellants under Section 302 I.P.C. is modified to Section 304
Part II I.P.C.
(11) It is stated that the only surviving appellant-Surender
(A-5) has already undergone imprisonment of 8-9 years. In
these circumstances, sentence of the appellant-Surender Singh
is reduced to the period already undergone by him however
conviction is upheld, as above.
(12) The appeal is accordingly allowed.
(13) The appellant-Surender Singh is on bail. His bail bonds
shall stand discharged.
Criminal Appeal NO(s).332 of 2009 :
Insofar as this appeal is concerned it is preferred by the
State challenging the acquittal of Pawan Kumar (A-4), Vijay
Singh (A-7) and Narender (A-3). Since the High Court has
acquitted them by invoking Section 149 I.P.C., we do not find
any good ground to interfere with the order of acquittal of the
The appeal is accordingly dismissed.
AUGUST 16, 2018.