Dhanpal vs State Nct Of Delhi on 27 April, 2020


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Supreme Court of India

Dhanpal vs State Nct Of Delhi on 27 April, 2020

Author: Deepak Gupta

Bench: Deepak Gupta, Aniruddha Bose

                                       NON-REPORTABLE
        IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
       CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

         CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 779 OF 2010


DHANPAL                                 ……APPELLANT


                          VERSUS


STATE NCT OF DELHI                      ……RESPONDENT


                          WITH
          CRIMINAL APPEAL NO.1442 OF 2019
           (arising out of SLP(Crl.) No.3045/2010)


         CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 1441 OF 2019
          (arising out of SLP (Crl.) No.3043 of 2010)

                     JUDGMENT

ANIRUDDHA BOSE, J.

A collective assault resulting in the death of one Ajay

Kumar Sharma gives rise to these three appeals. The incident

occurred in the evening of 9th August, 1996. Cause of his death

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was stabbing injuries inflicted on him in course of such assault.

Sanjeev, the appellant in Criminal Appeal No.1442 of 2019

arising out of SLP (Crl.) No.3045 of 2010 had, while riding on

his two-wheeler hit a cycle cart belonging to one Sanjay, at a

location close to the latter’s house in Purana Maujpur under

Bhajanpura police station, North East Delhi. Deceased victim

Ajay was Sanjay’s cousin. As per prosecution evidence

disclosed during the trial, there was some kind of verbal

altercation between said Sanjeev and Sanjay after the collision.

Sant Ram, the appellant in the proceeding in Criminal Appeal

No.1441 of 2019 arising out of SLP(Crl.) No.3043 of 2010,

also reached the spot and took Sanjeev’s side in such quarrel.

At the intervention of two relatives of Sanjay, Narender Kumar

(P.W.3) and Sobha Ram (P.W.4), there was a temporary truce

with Sanjeev and Sant Ram leaving that spot. Sanjeev however

returned after a short while along with three other individuals,

Kamal, Dhanpal and said Sant Ram to the place of occurrence.

Sanjeev’s sister is the wife of Kamal. Kamal’s father is

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Dhanpal and Sant Ram is Dhanpal’s brother, thus uncle of

Kamal.

2. By the time these four persons had returned to the spot,

Ajay had reached there after attending to his dairy work. Ajay

ran a business of dairy farm. Evidence reveals that at that point

of time Sanjay was deliberating over the dispute with Shobha

Ram and Narender. As per the statement of Sanjay, forming

the basis of the FIR from which the case started, Dhanpal then

said “Leh lo gaadi wale ko bach ke jaane na pai”. Then all four

of them attacked Ajay. Dhanpal, Sanjeev and Sant Ram held

Ajay and within seconds Kamal assaulted Ajay with a knife on

his chest, abdomen and hips. Sanjay thereafter took the

deceased to G.T.B. Hospital with Narender’s help. Ajay was

declared brought dead at the hospital. The autopsy surgeon in

the post-mortem report noted seven injuries on the body of

Ajay, out of which four were incised stab wounds. These

wounds were on right side of the buttock, midline of front of

chest, midline of front of abdomen and right side of chest in the

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mid axillary line. There was also injury on midline over front

of abdomen and this was referred to as “incised wound”. The

other two injuries referred to in the said report were red

abrasion on the back of left forearm as also over left side front

of neck. These injuries have been recorded in the judgments of

the Trial Court and the High Court. It has also been recorded

in the judgment of the Trial Court that such injuries were

sufficient to cause death in ordinary course. The Trial Court

found the three appellants as also Kamal, all four of whom were

arraigned as accused persons, guilty under Section 302/34 of

Indian Penal Code. The Trial Court primarily relied on

eyewitness account of the incident in the depositions of

P.W.1(Sanjay), P.W. 3 and P.W. 4 to come to its finding. So

far as Kamal’s conviction is concerned, we find from the Trial

Court judgment that there was recovery of his wearing apparels

with bloodstains on the basis of his statement. But in relation

to these three appeals, foundation of conviction was eyewitness

account of the incident. Sanjay (P.W.1), Narender Kumar

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(P.W.3) and Sobha Ram (P.W.4) testified as eyewitnesses and

gave uniform account of assault on the deceased victim.

3. The incidence of assault took place at around 6.15 p.m.

The Inquiry Officer, Surender Kumar (P.W.19) had reached the

hospital and recorded the statement of P.W.1. The actual FIR

was registered at 9.30 p.m. in Bhajanpura Police Station. On

that basis a case under Section 302/34 was started.

4. The Trial Court found the appellants guilty relying on the

testimonies of the aforesaid three witnesses of fact. The Trial

Court believed the depositions of the three eyewitnesses

finding no major contradiction or discrepancy in their

statements made in course of their examination. Each of the

accused persons was sentenced to life imprisonment and

subjected to fine of Rs.2,000/- each. It was also specified in

the order of sentence that in default of payment of fine, each

defaulting convict would have to undergo further one month’s

simple imprisonment. The High Court confirmed the judgment

of conviction and order of sentence. Before us, the learned
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counsel for the three appellants have primarily argued that there

was no evidence before the Trial Court to convict the appellants

under the aforesaid provisions. The appellants’ defence is that

they had no knowledge of Kamal carrying the knife or his

intention to inflict injuries on Ajay which led to the death of

the victim.

5. There are sufficient materials, however, to establish the

three appellants had returned together to the place of

occurrence and attacked the deceased victim with Dhanpal

exhorting to kill Ajay. They had grappled the victim and said

Kamal inflicted multiple injuries on him with the knife. On the

basis of evidence disclosed, the Trial Court and the High Court

found that there was prior meeting of minds of all the four

convicts and all the three appellants had intention common with

that of Kamal. On this point, the ratio of the judgment of this

Court in the case of Asif Khan vs. State of Maharasthra and

Another [(2019) 5 SCC 210] is relevant. In an earlier case,

Rajkishore Purohit vs. State of Madhya Pradesh and

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Others
[(2017) 9 SCC 483], it has been held that to establish

common intention to cause murder, overt act or possession of

weapons by all the accused persons is not necessary. In the

case of Richhpal Singh Meena vs. Ghasi alias Ghisa and

Others [(2014) 8 SCC 918], the ratio is that in the event the

nature of the assault is such that the target person is likely to

die from the injuries resulting therefrom, the accused must be

deemed to have known the consequences of his act.

6. The learned counsel for the appellants highlighted two

sets of discrepancies from the depositions of the prosecution

witnesses. The first related to use of the words for exhortation

by Dhanpal, which we have quoted earlier. Words narrated by

the P.W.1 were not repeated by P.W. 3 in identical term. P.W.3

had broadly recorded the same version of the incident but while

referring to Dhanpal’s exhortation, he said it was “lelo Dhadi

wale ko bach ke na jane paye”. The Trial Court in its judgment

has dealt with this aspect of discrepancy in the following

manner:-

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“No criminal trial is free of minor
discrepancies. This case also has its own
share of such discrepancies. The Ld.

Defence counsel has done a meticulous
study of the oral evidence and pointed out
the following discrepancies. In the first
place whether the exhortation of Dhannu
was i.e. “Lo Gadi wali Ko” “or Le Lao
Dhadi wale Ko” needs little explanation.
In the FIR the exhortation is described as
“Le LO Rehrio Wale Ko”. Rehri Gadi and
Dhadi are words with similar
pronunciation. The witness may not have
heard the words similarly and have given
different versions of the exhortation.

Their testimony cannot be discarded on
that account. Secondly, it is pointed out
that Narender and Shobha Ram were with
Sanjay till 10:30 pm as stated by both
Sanjay and Narender PW1 and PW3.

PW4 Shobha Ram says that the three of
them remained there all right. Sanjay says
police recorded his statement at the spot
after return form the hospital. PW 3 says
that his statement was recorded in the
same night as the spot. So, says Shobha
Ram. Yet Shoba Ram says that police did
not record the statement of anyone in his
presence. While PW 1 says that he cannot
say if statement of any other witness was
recorded in his presence. The IO PW 19
SI Surinder Kumar says that he recorded
the statements of the witnesses at the spot
after coming from the hospital. When
each witness says that his statement was
recorded at the spot and the IO says the
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same, I do not think that their failure to
say that the statements of other witnesses
were recorded at the spot in their presence
cannot be a matter of material
contradiction or material discrepancy.”
(quoted verbatim)

7. The other factor to which our attention was drawn was

delay in registering the FIR. But explanation for such delay

appears from a written communication of the I.O. to the Duty

Officer, which forms part of Annexure “P1” in Criminal

Appeal No.1442 of 2019 arising out of SLP(Crl.) No.3045 of

2010. This reads:-

“To Duty officer P.S Bhajanpura. It is
submitted that on receipt of a copy of the
report No.61 B.I alongwith Constable
Pradeep Kumar No.897 NE proceeded
towards the place of incident near house
No.3. Mauzpur where blood was lying on
the road on inquires it was known that
deceased Ajay Kumar Sharma S/o Bal
Ram Sharma has been taken to GTB
Hospital and eye witness was present at
the place of incident so left constable
Pradeep Kumar to took after the place of
occurrence, I proceeded to GTB Hospital
and got MiC report C-272196 regarding
Ajay Kumar Sharma who was declared
dead by Dr. Sahay casualty at 7 PM. In
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hospital I met Sanjay Kumar Sharma the
brother in Hospital and his statement was
recorded which was read over to him
which was confirmed by him in Hindi and
his signatures are attested by me. On the
basis of statement and circumstances of
the case a case under section302/34 IPC is
made out and case diary is with constable
Rampal No.1537 at P.S. Hospital and
SHO and his staff has also came to
hospital special report is sent to officer
and crime team and photographs be sent
at the place of incident.”
(quoted verbatim)

8. We find the approach of the Trial Court and the High Court

in appeal was proper in dealing with the discrepancies pointed

out on behalf of the appellants. The delay in registering the

FIR has been explained properly and judgment of conviction

cannot fail for that reason. It is a fact that the eyewitnesses

were known to the deceased and there was no neutral witness.

But for that factor alone we cannot exonerate the appellants,

particularly since the Court of first instance and the First

Appellate Court have already examined the evidence and given

their findings in favour of prosecution. We do not find any error

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in the judgment of conviction and order of sentence so far as

the appellants are concerned. All the three appeals are

dismissed.

9. The bail bonds of the appellants are cancelled. The

appellants are directed to surrender before the Trial Court

within six weeks and serve out their sentence. In case they do

not surrender within the aforesaid timeframe, the Trial Court

shall take necessary steps to take them into custody.

Pending application(s), if any, stand disposed of.

Let a copy of this judgment be sent to the Trial Court

forthwith along with the records of the Court of first instance.

……………………………J.

(Deepak Gupta)

…………………………….J.

(Aniruddha Bose)

New Delhi,
Dated: 27 April, 2020
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