Harinder Singh @ Hira vs The State Of Punjab on 17 December, 2019


Supreme Court of India

Harinder Singh @ Hira vs The State Of Punjab on 17 December, 2019

Author: Deepak Gupta

Bench: Deepak Gupta, Aniruddha Bose

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                                                                 NON­REPORTABLE

                                   IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
                                  CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

                                  CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 586 OF 2010



     HARINDER SINGH @ HIRA                                         …APPELLANT(S)


                                                 Versus



     THE STATE OF PUNJAB                                     …RESPONDENT(S)



                                            JUDGMENT

Deepak Gupta, J.

This appeal by the accused is directed against the judgment

dated 14.11.2008 of the High Court of Punjab and Haryana, whereby

the appeal filed by the appellant was dismissed and the judgment of

the trial court holding the appellant guilty of having committed

offences under Sections 302 and 201 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860

(IPC for short), and sentencing him to undergo punishment of life
Signature Not Verified

Digitally signed by
ASHWANI KUMAR
Date: 2019.12.17
16:26:48 IST

imprisonment with a fine of Rs.5000/­, in default of payment of fine to
Reason:

undergo further Rigorous Imprisonment (RI for short) for six months
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on the first count, and RI for three years with a fine of Rs.2000/­, in

default of payment of fine to undergo further RI for one month on the

second count, has been upheld.

2. Sawinder Kaur (PW­3), widow of Major Singh filed a complaint on

31.01.2004 with the police. In this complaint she alleged that she and

her husband had two sons viz., Gurdev Singh and Hardev Singh. Her

elder son Gurdev Singh (deceased) was adopted by Daljit Kaur, (sister

of her husband) and Suba Singh (husband of Daljit Kaur), since they

had no issue. Harinder Singh (accused), is the son of Lakhwinder

Singh, the elder brother of her husband. Harinder Singh and Suba

Singh jointly purchased a tractor. According to her, she used to visit

the house of Suba Singh to meet her elder son Gurdev Singh

(deceased), and he also used to come over every 15­20 days to meet

her. It was further alleged that Harinder Singh had quarrelled with

Gurdev Singh and had accused Gurdev Singh of grabbing the land of

Suba Singh free of cost. She was informed about this fact by Gurdev

Singh. 15 days prior to the lodging of the complaint, Harinder Singh

had told the complainant that Gurdev Singh had gone with some of

his friends on a motorcycle and had not returned for many days.

Thereafter, the complainant enquired about Gurdev Singh from his

friends and also from Harinder Singh, but Harinder Singh did not give
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any proper reply and kept putting her off on one pretext or the other.

According to the complainant on 31.01.2004 Chanan Singh (PW­4),

who is the son of another elder brother of her husband came to her

house and told her that Harinder Singh had met him and told him

that he had committed a grave mistake. About 22/23 days earlier he

had quarrelled with Gurdev Singh (deceased), and had killed him by

giving a blow of axe (kulhara) and buried his dead body by digging a

pit. He also said that he had committed the said act in consultation

with Suba Singh (accused).

3. Upon the said report being lodged, SI Inderjit Singh (PW­10),

along with Sawinder Kaur and Chanan Singh, went to the house of

Suba Singh at Ajnala and there Harinder Singh was taken into

custody. When Harinder Singh was being questioned, he made a

disclosure statement to the effect that he had buried the dead body of

the Gurdev Singh (deceased) in the field of Suba Singh in village

Chamiari and he said that he could get the body recovered. His

statement (Ex.PD) was recorded on which he put his thumb

impression. The statement was signed by SI Gurmukh Singh (PW­5)

and ASI Gurbax Singh. Thereafter, the investigating officer sent a

request (Ex.PN) to the Deputy Commissioner, Amritsar, for deputing

an Executive Magistrate so that the dead body could be recovered in
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his presence. Thereupon, Naib Tehsildar Amarjit Singh (PW­11) joined

the investigation. In the presence of Amarjit Singh, other police

officials on duty and others, accused Harinder Singh dug out the body

of Gurdev Singh from the place disclosed and identified by him. The

clothes of Gurdev Singh were identified by Chanan Singh (PW­4) and

Karam Singh (not examined). Recovery memo (Ex. PK) was prepared.

Thereafter, the investigating officer conducted the inquest proceedings

and prepared inquest report (Ex.PA). The entire process of recovery of

dead body was video­graphed by Constable Ravinder Singh (PW­7),

videographer of CIA Staff, Amritsar.

4. The body of Gurdev Singh was sent for post­mortem which was

conducted by Dr. Ashok Channana (PW­1), who found chopped,

incised wound measuring 20 x 13.5 cm on the front of forehead, nose

and both eyes. The underlying bones were fractured into multiple

pieces. He opined that the injuries were ante­mortem in nature and

this head injury was sufficient in ordinary course of nature to cause

death. According to him the death of Gurdev Singh had occurred 2­4

weeks prior to the post­mortem.

5. After completing the investigation charge­sheet was filed against

the three accused Harinder Singh, Daljit Kaur and Suba Singh who

were charged with having committed the murder of Gurdev Singh
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(deceased), and having destroyed the evidence related to the crime. It

appears that Suba Singh and Daljit Kaur were acquitted.

6. The trial court on the basis of evidence led before it came to the

conclusion that the prosecution had proved many circumstances

beyond reasonable doubt, which would clearly indicate that the

appellant had murdered the deceased. Appeal filed by the appellant

before the High Court was dismissed. Hence the present appeal.

7. It has been urged on behalf of the appellant that this is a case of

circumstantial evidence and the prosecution has failed to link the

circumstances in such a manner that it would lead to only one

conclusion i.e., the guilt of the accused. According to the appellant

the axe was not sent to the CFSL or to the doctor; there is no motive

described; there is no last seen theory and recovery memo of the body

has not been signed by PW­3 or other independent witnesses.

8. It is not disputed that deceased Gurdev Singh was adopted by

Suba Singh and Daljit Kaur. The prosecution relies on the following

circumstances:­

(i) The recovery of the body of Gurdev Singh at the instance of
the appellant;

(ii) Extra judicial confession made by the appellant to Chanan
Singh(PW­4);

(iii) The fact that the accused did not want the deceased to
inherit the estate of Suba Singh;

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9. SI Inderjit Singh (PW­10) is the person who recorded the

complaint (Exh.PC) lodged by Sawinder Kaur (PW­3). According to

him, Chanan Singh (PW­4) was accompanying Sawinder Kaur.

Thereafter, he along with Sawinder Kaur, Chanan Singh and other

police officials reached the house of Suba Singh at Ajnala and

accused­appellant Harinder Singh was taken into custody. On

interrogation the appellant informed that he had buried the dead body

of Gurdev Singh in the field of Suba Singh in village Chamiari. His

statement (Exh.PD) was recorded, which was thumb marked by him

and signed by SI Gurmukh Singh (PW­5) and ASI Gurbax Singh. The

witness sent an application (Exh.PN) to the Deputy Commissioner

requesting that an Executive Magistrate be deputed to be present at

the time of recovery of the dead body. Thereafter, Naib Tehsildar (PW­

11) joined the investigation and in his presence the appellant­accused

dug out the body from the place disclosed by him. The dead body was

identified by Karam Singh and Chanan Singh (PW­4). The clothes of

the deceased were also identified by them. Thereafter, he prepared

recovery memo (Exh.PN) and inquest report. The entire process was

video­graphed and photographed.

10. PW­11 has fully supported the prosecution and states that when

he went to the spot, appellant Harinder Singh in his presence dug out
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the dead body from the land of Suba Singh. The dead body was of

Gurdev Singh. He states that he reached the place at about 4.30 P.M.

since he was on VIP duty earlier. There is virtually no cross­

examination of this witness.

11. Chanan Singh (PW­4) also states that in his presence the

appellant­accused disclosed that he buried the dead body of Gurdev

Singh in the field of Suba Singh. Thereafter, the appellant led the

police to the tube­well of Suba Singh. Chanan Singh (PW­4) also

accompanied them. At that place the dead body was got recovered at

the instance of the accused. He denied the suggestion that some

villagers had informed them on 30.10.2010 that some foul smell was

coming from that place. The constable Ravinder Singh (PW­7) stated

that on 31.10.2004, he being the videographer attached to the police

department went to the fields of Suba Singh in village Chamiari. The

accused dug out the dead body in his presence and the presence of

other police officials, the complainants Sawinder Kaur, Chanan Singh

and the Magistrate. PW­7 video­graphed the entire recovery process in

the video cassette (Exh. P­2).

12. Keeping in view the statements of these witnesses it is proved

that the dead body was recovered at the instance of the appellant­

accused Harinder Singh.

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13. Chanan Singh (PW­4) has also made a statement that on

31.10.2004 at about 10:00/11:00 a.m., the accused Harinder Singh

came to his house and confessed that 22 or 23 days earlier he had

murdered Gurdev Singh. According to him, Harinder Singh told him

that on the day of murder he had a quarrel with Gurdev Singh

(deceased) near the tube­well of Suba Singh. He further told him that

he (Harinder Singh) gave a blow with an axe (kulhara) on the head of

Gurdev Singh who died and then he buried the dead body. In cross­

examination, he stated that nobody suspected Harinder Singh before

the accused made extra­judicial confession to him. He also stated

that his statement was recorded by the police prior to the recovery of

the body. He was confronted with his statement recorded under

Section 161 CrPC (Exh.DA) in which it is not recorded that Gurdev

Singh was murdered by Harinder Singh in consultation with Suba

Singh and Daljit Kaur. According to us, this contradiction is

meaningless since Suba Singh and Daljit Kaur have already been

acquitted. There is no effective cross­examination with regard to the

extra­judicial confession. The accused and this witness are closely

related and the extra­judicial confession was made by the accused to a

confidante. There is no reason to disbelieve the same.

14. The statement of PW­3 Sawinder Kaur is virtually the repetition
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of whatever has been stated in the FIR and hence is not being

reproduced. She supports the version that she was present when the

dead body of the deceased was recovered at the instance of accused­

appellant Harinder Singh.

15. From the statement of PW­3 it also stands proved that the

accused kept mis­informing Sawinder Kaur and other relatives about

the whereabouts of the deceased. She has clearly stated that firstly on

15.10.2004, the accused­appellant came to her and told her that

Gurdev Singh (deceased) had gone with some boys on a motorcycle

and had not returned. From the reading of the entire evidence the

following circumstances stand proved beyond reasonable doubt:­

(1) That Sawinder Kaur had made a complaint to the police
even before the dead body of the deceased was recovered
when Chanan Singh (PW­4) had told her that accused­
appellant Harinder Singh had made an extra­judicial
confession before Chanan Singh that he had killed the
deceased Gurdev Singh;

(2) That thereafter the police arrested Harinder Singh and he
made a disclosure statement that he could get the body of
the deceased recovered;

(3) That the body of the deceased Gurdev Singh was
recovered at the instance of accused­appellant Harinder
Singh in the presence of various witnesses including
Naib Tehsildar Amarjit Singh (PW­11);

(4) The statement of Chanan Singh(PW­4) clearly shows
that the accused­appellant had made extra­judicial
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confession to him that the accused had killed the
deceased Gurdev Singh;

(5) That accused had misled and misinformed the
complainant Sawinder Kaur (PW­1) about the whereabouts
of the deceased.

16. In our view these circumstances by themselves form a complete

chain which clearly leads to only one inference that it is the accused­

appellant alone who could have murdered deceased Gurdev Singh.

17. In view of the above discussion we dismiss the appeal. The

appellant who is on bail is directed to surrender forthwith and

undergo the remaining sentence. A copy of this judgment shall be

sent to the trial court to ensure that the appellant­accused undergoes

the remaining part of his sentence. Pending application (s), if any,

shall also stand dismissed.

…………………………………..J.

(DEEPAK GUPTA)

………………………………….J.

(ANIRUDDHA BOSE)

New Delhi
December 17, 2019



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