Sucha Singh Vs. State of Haryana
[From the Judgement and Order dated 06.04.2006 of the High Court of Punjab and Haryana at Chandigarh CRLA No. 294 of 2003]
[From the Judgement and Order dated 06.04.2006 of the High Court of Punjab and Haryana at Chandigarh CRLA No. 294 of 2003]
Dr. Sushil Balwada (A.C.), Advocate, for the Appellant.
Mr. Rajeev Gaur Naseem, Mr. Kamal Mohan Gupta, Advocates, for the Respondent.
Evidence Act, 1872
Sections 3, 27, 25 – Penal Code, 1860, Sections 302, 394 – Circumstantial evidence – Appreciation – Murder case – Accused hiring mule cart of deceased on 31.01.1997 for taking his luggage to village – Deceased, who plied the cart, was to return same night but he did not – On next day, father went to accused’s house, where his wife told him that deceased would return – Again went to his house and again told the same thing – Meanwhile, at about 11:30 am, dead-body recovered – Accused made extra-judicial confession to PW, who produced mule cart to police – Accused made disclosure and weapon of offence and other articles recovered, like bedsheet, khes – All these articles had blood-stains which matched with blood of deceased. Held that all circumstances are proved and there is no infirmity in holding accused guilty of murder. There is no substance in contention that extra-judicial confession ought not to have been believed.
Section 3 – Penal Code, 1860, Sections 302, 394 – Evidence – Murder case – All witnesses not examined – Effect. Held that where essential witnesses have been examined who are sufficient to unfold the prosecution’s case, non-examination of other witnesses would not affect the prosecution adversely. Tej Parkash’s [JT 1995 (7) SC 561] case referred. Stephen Seneviratne’s case relied upon. (Paras 6, 7)
Sections 8, 25 – Penal Code, 1860, Sections 302, 394 – Motive – Murder case – Extra-judicial confession by accused – Wanted to possess the mule cart of deceased. Held that motive stood established. (Para 12)
The argument of the learned counsel for the appellant that the statement of the appellant to the police on the basis of which disclosure was made was under pressure from the police is misconceived ‘as’ the truth of the statement was established through recoveries made pursuant to the statement. (Para 9.1.)
Pursuant to the information furnished by the appellant the Kassi, Khes and Bed-sheet were recovered from the pit under the road pulia. The recovery has also been witnessed by PW-3, Kaka Singh, who has clearly stated in his evidence that the accused got recovered Kassi, one Khes and a bed-sheet. These articles which were recovered were sent to the Forensic Science Laboratory and the results of the Forensic Science Laboratory are that the Kassi, Bed-sheet and Khes were stained with large and small blood stains. These recoveries of the aforesaid articles pursuant to the disclosure statement made by the appellant clearly point to the guilt of the appellant. (Para 10)
2. Sahoo v. State of Uttar Pradesh [AIR 1966 SC 40] (Para 8)
3. State of Uttar Pradesh v. Deoman Upadhyaya [AIR 1960 SC 1125] (Para 9)
4. Stephen Seneviratne v. The King [AIR 1936 PC 289] (relied) (Para 6)
1. This is an appeal against the judgment dated 06.04.2006 of the Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court in Criminal Appeal No.294-DB of 2003.
2. The facts very briefly are that Amrik Singh, son of Fakir Singh, resident of Azad Nagar, Patiala (Punjab), used to ply a mule cart. On 31.01.1997, the appellant contacted him and hired his mule cart for Rs.600/- for carrying his household luggage from village Kamalpur, Police Station Rajound, to village Chambo Kheri, District Patiala. Accordingly, Amrik Singh left for the village Kamalpur on 31.01.1997 and was to return on the night of the same day, but did not return. His family members waited till the morning of 01.02.1997 but when Amrik Singh did not return, they became apprehensive and Fakir Singh went to the house of the appellant and met his wife who assured him that his son will return back by evening. When Amrik Singh did not return in the evening of 01.02.1997, Fakir Singh, Kaka Singh and Hardev Singh visited the house of the appellant and again they were assured by the wife of the appellant that Amrik Singh will return soon. In the meanwhile, on 01.02.1997 at about 11.30 am, one Rajinder Kumar noticed the dead body of a young man lying in a pit in the road side near village Kichhana and informed the police of Police Station, Rajound, and FIR was registered in Police Station, Rajound, under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code (for short ‘IPC’), and when inquest proceedings were carried out on the dead body, a purse and a slip were recovered from the dead body and from the slip the police was able to trace the family of Amrik Singh and informed Fakir Singh who reached the Civil Hospital, Kaithal, and identified the dead body to be that of his son Amrik Singh (hereinafter referred to as ‘the deceased’). Investigation was carried out and a charge-sheet was filed under Sections 302 and 394, IPC, against the appellant.
3. As the appellant pleaded not guilty, he was tried. At the trial, the prosecution examined as many as 11 witnesses. The trial court found that there was no eye-witness to the incident in which the deceased was killed, but the chain of circumstances established by the prosecution proved beyond reasonable doubt that the appellant killed the deceased and stole his mule cart. These circumstances were that the appellant hired the mule cart of the deceased and the deceased left for the house of the appellant as has been deposed by Fakir Singh (PW-2). The appellant made an extra-judicial confession to Sher Singh (PW-8) who accompanied the appellant along with the mule cart that he had killed the deceased and the mule cart was produced before the police by Sher Singh (PW-8) as per recovery memo (Ex.PF). The appellant made a statement before the police pursuant to which the weapon of offence (Kassi Ex.P-22) and other articles (Exts.P-23 and P-24) were recovered. As per the reports of the Forensic Science Laboratory, Haryana, Ex.PH and Ex.PH/1, the Kassi (Ex.P-22), bed-sheet (Ex.P-23) and Khes (Ex.P-24) were found to be stained with human blood of the same group of blood, which was detected on the clothes of the deceased (Shirt, Ex.P-2, Jersey, Ex.P-4 and Underwear Ex.P-5) worn by him at the time of the occurrence. On the basis of the aforesaid circumstantial evidence, the trial court convicted the appellant under Sections 302 and 394 IPC, saying that the case of the prosecution was a full-proof case, and sentenced him to undergo rigorous imprisonment for life and fine of Rs.2000/- for the offence under Section 302 IPC and for a period of 7 years rigorous imprisonment and fine of Rs.1000/- for the offence under Section 394 IPC. The trial court further ordered that the sentences were to run concurrently. Aggrieved, the appellant filed the Criminal Appeal No. 294-DB of 2003 in the High Court, but by the impugned judgment the High Court dismissed the appeal and maintained the conviction and sentences against the appellant.
4. Learned counsel for the appellant submitted that there was no eye witness to the occurrence and the conviction of the appellant was solely based on circumstantial evidence. He submitted that the trial court was not right in convicting the appellant for the following reasons:
(i) Though the prosecution cited many witnesses in the charge-sheet, it examined only 11 witnesses.
(ii) The extra-judicial confession alleged to have been made by the appellant to Sher Singh (PW-8) ought not to have been believed.
(iii) The statement of the appellant to the police on the basis of which disclosure was made, was made under pressure from the police and there were no independent witnesses to the recoveries made pursuant to the statement.
(iv) The FIR has not been proved through the policeman who has received the FIR, namely, Ranbir Singh.
(v) The motive of the appellant to kill the deceased has not been established by the prosecution.
4.1. Learned counsel for the appellant submitted that this is, therefore, a fit case in which the appellant should be acquitted of the charges.
5. Learned counsel for the State, on the other hand, submitted in his reply that:
(i) It was not necessary for the prosecution to examine all the witnesses cited in the charge-sheet if the 11 witnesses who have been examined were sufficient to prove the case of the prosecution against the appellant beyond reasonable doubt.
(ii) The circumstantial evidence in this case including the medical evidence of PW-6 and the Forensic Science Laboratory Report were sufficient to establish that it is the appellant and the appellant alone who had committed the offences.
(iii) The FIR had been proved by the prosecution by examining the informant, Rajinder Kumar (PW-1) and, therefore, it was not necessary to examine the policeman Ranbir Singh.
(iv) The extra-judicial confession was corroborated by other circumstantial evidence and therefore was rightly believed by the trial court.
(v) Where the circumstantial evidence established the guilt of the accused beyond reasonable doubt, the Court cannot refuse to convict only on the ground that the motive of the accused is not proved.
6. We may first deal with the contentions on behalf of the appellant that the prosecution has not examined all the witnesses cited in the charge-sheet. This Court has held in Tej Parkash v. State of Haryana [JT 1995 (7) SC 561 : 1996 (7) SCC 322] relying on the Privy Council’s decision in Stephen Seneviratne v. The King [AIR 1936 PC 289] that all the witnesses of the prosecution need not be called but witnesses who were essential to the unfolding of the narrative on which the prosecution is based must be called by the prosecution whether the effect of their testimony is for or against the case for the prosecution and that failure to examine such a witness might affect a fair trial. However, whether an examination of a particular witness was essential to the unfolding of the prosecution story will depend upon the facts and circumstances of each case.
7. In the facts of the present case, we find that the witnesses who are essential for unfolding the prosecution case against the appellant have been examined. PW-1, Rajinder Kumar, is the informant who has stated that he noticed the dead body of a young man aged 26-27 years lying in a pit in the road side and the dead body had multiple injuries and he proceeded towards Police Station, Rajound and on the way, he noticed a police jeep and he stopped the jeep and gave his statement to ASI Balwan Singh. PW-2, Fakir Singh, is the father of the deceased and his evidence is that on 31.01.1997, the appellant whom he knew earlier hired the mule cart for bringing household articles from village Kamalpur and the deceased accordingly went on the mule cart with the appellant and all this happened in his presence. He has further stated that the deceased did not come back on the evening of 31.01.1997 and on the morning of 01.02.1997, and on 01.02.1997 between 5.00 p.m. and 6.00 p.m., an ASI along with a constable came to him and showed him the documents which were recovered from the dead body and asked him whether the documents belonged to his son and he replied in the affirmative. He has further stated that he went to the Civil Hospital, Kaithal, and identified the dead body to be that of his son. PW-3, Kaka Singh, corroborated the statement of PW-2. PW-8 has deposed that on 05.02.1997, the appellant told him that he had murdered the deceased with a bad intention and he brought the mule cart to village Kamalpur and he had tried to sell the same. PW-8 has further deposed that the appellant requested him to produce him before the police with a view to avoid third degree method of interrogation by the police and on 06.02.1997, he produced him before the police. PW-11 (Balwan Singh), the Investigating Officer, has stated that on 01.02.1997, he recorded the statement of PW-1 (Ex.PE) and he registered the formal FIR (Ex.PE/2) which was recorded by HC Ranbir Singh. He has further deposed that he prepared the inquest report (Ex.PK) of the dead body of the deceased and during the inquest proceedings recovered the purse (Ex.P-25) along with the identity slip (Ex.P-26) and sent an application (Ex.PJ) for post-mortem of the dead body at the Civil Hospital, Kaithal. He has also deposed that on 06.02.1997, the appellant accompanied by PW-8 came from the side of village Kithana and was produced before him along with the mule cart by PW-8. He has further stated that on the number plate of the mule cart the name of the deceased was written with white paint in Punjabi language. He has further stated that on 07.02.1997, the appellant was interrogated and he made a disclosure statement (Ex.PG) and pursuant to the said disclosure statement (Ex.PG), the Khes (Ex.P-24), Bed-sheet (Ex.P-23) and Kassi (Ex.P-22) were recovered after digging the pit in which these articles were lying concealed. In our considered opinion, the evidence of PW-1, PW-2, PW-3, PW-8 and PW-11 are sufficient to unfold the prosecution story against the appellant and prove beyond reasonable doubt that it is the appellant who had killed the deceased and committed theft of his mule cart and on the facts of this case, it is difficult to hold that non-examination of other witnesses cited by the prosecution in the charge-sheet adversely affects the prosecution case or in any way was unfair to the accused.
8. There is also no merit in the contention of the learned counsel for the appellant that the extra-judicial confession alleged to have been made by the appellant to PW-8 ought not to have been believed. In Sahoo v. State of Uttar Pradesh [AIR 1966 SC 40], this Court has held that a confession is a direct piece of evidence but before such evidence can be accepted, it must be established by cogent evidence what were the exact words used by the accused and even if the confession was established, prudence and justice demand that such evidence should not be used as the sole ground of conviction and it may be used as a corroborative piece of evidence. As we have already noticed, PW-8 has stated that on 05.02.1997, the appellant came to his residence and told him that with a bad intention he had murdered the deceased and he had brought the mule cart to village Kamalpur. This was a clear confession made by the appellant to PW-8. That apart, this extra-judicial confession only corroborates the other circumstances which establish the guilt of the appellant beyond reasonable doubt.
9. We may next consider the submission of learned counsel for the appellant that the disclosure statement made by the appellant to the police was under pressure from the police and there were no independent witnesses to the recovery made pursuant to the statement. In State of Uttar Pradesh v. Deoman Upadhyaya [AIR 1960 SC 1125], a five judge bench of this Court has held:
‘Section 27 is founded on the principle that even though the evidence relating to confessional or other statements made by a person, whilst he is in the custody of a police officer, is tainted and therefore inadmissible, if the truth of the information given by him is assured by the discovery of a fact, it may be presumed to be untainted and is therefore declared provable in so far as it distinctly relates to the fact thereby discovered.’
9.1. The argument of the learned counsel for the appellant that the statement of the appellant to the police on the basis of which disclosure was made was under pressure from the police is thus misconceived if the truth of the statement was established through recoveries made pursuant to the statement.
10. In the instant case, pursuant to the information furnished by the appellant the Kassi, Khes and Bed-sheet were recovered from the pit under the road pulia. The recovery has also been witnessed by PW-3, Kaka Singh, who has clearly stated in his evidence that the accused got recovered Kassi, one Khes and a bed-sheet. These articles which were recovered were sent to the Forensic Science Laboratory and the results of the Forensic Science Laboratory are that the Kassi, Bed-sheet and Khes were stained with large and small blood stains. These recoveries of the aforesaid articles pursuant to the disclosure statement made by the appellant clearly point to the guilt of the appellant and there is no merit in the contention of learned counsel for the appellant that the statement of the appellant and the recoveries made pursuant to the statement of the appellant are of no evidentiary value.
11. We also do not find any merit in the argument of the learned counsel for the appellant that the FIR has not been proved through HC Ranbir Singh, the policeman who received the FIR. We find that PW-1, the informant, has been examined and he has stated that he lodged the FIR on 01.02.1997 and PW-11 has stated that on the basis of the information furnished by PW-1 he registered the FIR which was written by HC Ranbir Singh. Hence, the FIR (Ex.PE/2) has been duly proved.
12. We also find that the contention of the learned counsel for the appellant that the motive of the appellant to kill the deceased has not been established by the prosecution is misconceived in facts. From the extra judicial confession made by the appellant to PW-8, it is clear that the motive of the appellant was to take possession of the mule cart and sell the same and make money.
13. In the result, we do not find any infirmity in the judgment of the trial court and the High Court and we accordingly dismiss this appeal.