Harpal Singh vs The State Of Punjab on 5 July, 2022

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Supreme Court of India

Harpal Singh vs The State Of Punjab on 5 July, 2022

Author: Hon’Ble Ms. Banerjee

Bench: Hon’Ble Ms. Banerjee, J.K. Maheshwari


                                IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
                               CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

                                 CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 914 OF 2022
                          (ARISING OUT OF SLP (CRL.) NO.1582 OF 2020)

           HARPAL SINGH                                             …APPELLANT


           STATE OF PUNJAB                                          …RESPONDENT


J K Maheshwari, J.

Leave granted.

2. The instant appeal is preferred by the accused against final

judgment dated 17.10.2019 passed by High Court of Punjab and

Haryana at Chandigarh in CRA­D­257­DB­2003 (O&M), whereby

the Division Bench of High Court declined to interfere with the

judgment of the Sessions Court dated 04.02.2003 by which the
Signature Not Verified

Digitally signed by
Date: 2022.07.05
14:29:29 IST

appellant was convicted for the charge under Section 302/120­B

of Indian Penal Code
(‘IPC’) and directed to undergo

imprisonment for life and pay fine of Rs.1000/­, in default

further rigorous imprisonment for six months. The appellant was

also convicted under Section 342/120­B of IPC and was

sentenced to rigorous imprisonment for six months with an order

to run both the sentences concurrently.

3. The prosecution story in brief is that on 03.04.2000 while a

police party headed by inspector Atma Singh (hereinafter referred

to as ‘the Investigating Officer/IO’) of Police Station, Kotwali

Amritsar was on patrol duty at Chowk Katra Jaimal Singh,

received information regarding murder of deceased Banarasi

Dass. The police party went to the house of deceased, where

complainant Leela Wati, wife of deceased made the complaint and

her statement was also recorded by IO. It is stated that she was

residing with the deceased in a house at Katra Jaimal Singh,

Amritsar on first floor. The deceased used to work in the shop

with his son Vinod Kumar, which was in the name and style of

Sunder Shoes. On the intervening midnight of 2/3.04.2000 they

were sleeping in their house, when she woke up suddenly saw

that a Sikh youth wearing a white kurta payjama and patka of

the same colour on his head, aged about 35/36 years along with
a clean shaved person, aged about 30/32 years have entered in

the house. Sikh youth was armed with a dagger/chhura, who

first strangulated her husband Banarasi Dass thereafter, gave

dagger blows above the stomach while lying on the bed. The Sikh

youth demanded keys of Godrej almirah from the complainant,

which out of fear she handed over. She was locked in a bathroom

by them. Both the intruders looted gold ornaments, cash and

other articles and went back. The chowkidar rang the call bell

but because she was confined in the bathroom so could not open

the door. In the morning, the chowkidar with the help of other

persons opened the door of house and also of bathroom, then,

she came out. On initial search, she found that the intruders had

taken away six gold bangles, Rs.7000/­ in cash and other articles

of gold including cash from the wooden almirah also. The IO after

making some endorsement below the statement of complainant

sent ruqa to the police station, on the basis of which, formal FIR

No.51 dated 03.04.2000, was registered of the offences under

Sections 460, 342, 120­B and 34 of IPC at Police Station Kotwali,


4. The IO carried out the inquest proceedings with regard to

unnatural death of deceased Banarasi Dass. He drew rough
sketch to the place of occurrence and blood­stained bed sheet

was kept into sealed parcel. Dead body was sent for post mortem

examination. After such examination, Head Constable Nirmal

Singh produced the clothes of the deceased before the IO, which

was converted into a sealed parcel and taken into possession.

The IO recorded the statements of other witnesses also. On

19.04.2000, the IO went to the shop of the deceased and

collected license to run the shop and purchase bills. On

03.05.2000, accused Gulzar Singh, Bikramjit Singh and Ashwani

Kumar were arrested in this case. During the course of

interrogation, they made disclosure statement to which recoveries

were effected. From accused Ashwani Kumar police recovered

three gold biscuits and a wrist watch, whereas, from accused

Bikramjit Singh police recovered five gold biscuits of 10 tolas, 20

gold biscuits of 5 tolas each, one gold necklace, two gold bangles,

two ear rings, one wrist watch and cash amount of

Rs.2,36,000/­. From accused Gulzar Singh police recovered 10

gold biscuits weighing 10 tolas each, 10 gold biscuits weighing 5

tolas each, cash amount of Rs.1,20,000/­ along with a pair of ear

rings, two gold bangles, one necklace and a dagger. All the

recovered articles were identified by PW­12 Vinod Kumar

Gambhir, son of the deceased.

5. On 10.05.2000, accused Harpal Singh who is Appellant

herein and Pavitar Singh were apprehended while they were

coming in a car bearing No.PB­02H­3113. They were formally

arrested in this case and the car in question was seized. Both the

accused were interrogated and they also suffered disclosure

statements, in pursuance thereof, from Harpal Singh police

recovered 10 gold biscuits of 5 tolas each and 08 gold biscuits of

10 tolas, in addition to cash amount of Rs.2,84,000/­, whereas,

from accused Pavitar Singh police recovered 2 gold biscuits

weighing 10 tolas each and a ladies’ wrist watch.

These articles were identified by prosecution witness PW­12,

Vinod Kumar Gambhir, son of deceased.

6. On 18.05.2000, IO went to the hotel Sita Niwas and

obtained copy of the entry register of the hotel Ext.PAA. It was

seized, vide a recovery memo Ext.PKK. On 06.06.2000, Head

Constable Kapal Dev produced two photographs along with

negatives, which were taken into possession. Statements of

witnesses were recorded. After completion of investigation and

other formalities, the challan against the accused was filed in the

Court of Judicial Magistrate 1st Class (for short ‘JMFC’),

Amritsar, who supplied copies of documents relied upon in the

challan to the accused free of costs as provided under Section

207 Cr.P.C and then find the offence under Section 460 was

exclusively triable by the Court of Session, vide her detailed

committal order dated 22.08.2000, committed the case to the

Court of Session. On committal, learned Session Judge,

Amritsar, after finding prima facie case framed the charges for

commission of offences under Sections 460, 302, 342 and 120­B

of IPC. The accused persons were abjured the guilt. During the

course of trial 15 prosecution witnesses were examined.

7. Statements of the accused were recorded under Section

313 Cr.P.C., in which all the incriminating circumstances

appearing against such accused were put to them but they

denied the same, contending that they are innocent and have

been falsely implicated in the case. Accused Ashwani Kumar,

Bikramjit Singh and Gulzar Singh had filed written statements,

contending that the allegations against them were false. They

were kept in illegal detention and created false evidence against



8. Appellant Harpal Singh had filed separate written defence,

mentioning therein that he was having a mini bus No.PB­02­H­

9661 which was sold on 05.11.1999 for consideration of

Rs.3,80,000/­ to Hakumat Singh, resident of Village Harpura,

Tehsil Batala, District Gurdaspur and delivered the custody of

vehicle to the purchaser. The accused further stated that he

wanted to purchase a truck with the sale proceeds of the mini

bus which amount was lying at his house. During the

investigation of the case, the police unlawfully recovered that

amount and out of which, recovery of a sum of Rs.2,84,000/­

was shown from the possession of Harpal Singh with a view to

create evidence against him as a matter of fact, no recovery had

been effected.

9. Learned Sessions Judge, Amritsar, vide judgment dated

04.02.2003, convicted and sentenced all the accused persons

including appellant herein for the charge under Section

302/120­B IPC and directed to undergo sentence for

imprisonment of life and to pay a fine of Rs.1000/­ in default

further rigorous imprisonment for six months. All the five

accused persons filed appeal against the judgment of their

conviction and sentence before High Court of Punjab and


10. In the impugned order passed by the High Court, the

testimony of PW­1 Leela Wati has been relied upon to support the

case of prosecution and the commission of murder with robbery.

In her testimony, she has described the looted articles and also

supported the supplementary statement. The defence taken by

the defendant regarding planting of the gold articles by the son of

the deceased Vinod Kumar being gold smuggler was not found

worthy to rely upon. For the purpose of commission of the

offence, the testimony of PW­4 Vinod Singh Chauhan was found

worthy of credence, however, the commission of the offence with

the aid of recoveries and also by identification of the looted

articles. The High Court has also relied upon the extra­judicial

confession made by PW­14 Devinder Kumar. Thus, concluded

that the conviction of the appellant for the charges proved beyond

reasonable doubt and the finding of the Trial Court do not suffer

from any infirmity warranting interference. Consequently, the

appeal was dismissed by the impugned order.


11. Learned counsel for the appellant has strenuously urged

that the recovery of articles and cash from him has not been

proved as per law. The recovered articles claimed from the

accused were not the same articles as described by the

complainant. The appellant has taken several defence regarding

sale of mini bus No. PB­02­H­9661 for the consideration of

Rs.3,80,000/­ to Hakumat Singh and the police has illegally

recovered the said consideration amount for the sake of looted

article with intent to implicate him falsely. The defence to show

false recovery has been supported by the testimony of DW­1

Dhanpal Singh and DW­2 Surinder Mohan Luthra. The evidence

regarding prior meeting of mind is not on record thereby the

appellant conspired or was a part of conspiracy in committing the

loot and murder of the deceased. The connecting evidence

regarding recovery of the record of the hotel has not been

produced in original. Thus, merely on the basis of the said

evidence and the recovery, which is not summarised in the FIR,

the conviction of the appellant is wholly unsustainable.

12. On the other hand, the State counsel contends that the

amount recovered from the possession of the appellant as a sale

proceed of the mini bus has not been proved in support of his
defence. The identification of the gold biscuits and looted articles

were made by PW­12 Vinod Kumar Gambhir son of the deceased.

In the defence, it has not been said that the gold articles seized

were of the accused persons. No explanation for huge recovery of

gold items has put forward from the accused, simultaneously

Hakumat Singh, to whom the mini bus was sold, has not been

examined, hence, the defence was not found plausible. On the

other hand, looking to the testimony of PW­1 Leela Wati, PW­2

Nasib Singh, PW­4 Vinod Singh Chauhan and also the extra­

judicial statement given by PW­14 Davinder Kumar, the High

Court has rightly confirmed the findings of the Trial Court. Thus,

the findings of fact concurrently recorded are based on due

appreciation of evidence and those findings are not perverse.

13. After having heard learned counsel for the parties and on

perusal of the record, it is seen that ample evidence to have

conspiracy between all five accused have been duly proved. The

involvement of the appellant is fully established by the testimony

of PW­4 Vinod Singh Chauhan, who was an employee on the

shop ‘Sunder Shoes House’. As per his testimony, it is clear that

co­accused Ashwani Kumar another employee in the shop, met

with appellant/accused Harpal Singh and Pahlwan Bikramjit
Singh on the shop at about 4­5 p.m. on 15.03.2000. At that time

deceased Banarasi Dass was counting the cash currency at the

counter. Ashwani Kumar told Harpal Singh and Bikramjit Singh

that Banarasi Dass was having ample money with him and he

was also involved in the money lending business keeping the gold

as security. Subsequently, on the date of incident i.e.,

02.04.2000, appellant alongwith co­accused visited the shop and

made inquiry about co­accused Ashwani Kumar (another

employee of Sunder Shoes). Thus, by the evidence of this witness,

nexus between appellant Harpal Singh and co­accused persons is

fully established. The defence taken by the appellant regarding

recovery of the cash money of Rs.2,84,000/­ from him by virtue

of sale of mini bus has not been proved because the said mini

bus was not sold to him and the buyer of the said mini bus

Hakumat Singh has not been examined. DW­1 Dhanpal Singh in

his cross­examination has categorically admitted that the

amount was not lying in his bank account or of his father. Thus,

the defence of the appellant was not found plausible.

Simultaneously no plausible defence to disprove other looted

articles have been brought on record.


14. We have perused the testimony of other witnesses that

includes PW­1 Leela Wati, PW­4 Vinod Singh Chauhan, PW­12

Vinod Kumar Gambhir and PW­14 Davinder Kumar on the basis

of the same the involvement of the appellant alongwith other co­

accused has been fully proved by prosecution beyond reasonable

doubt. The Trial Court and the High Court has rightly

appreciated the evidence and proved the charges while convicting

the appellant. The minor inconsistencies in the statement of

witnesses are not of any consequence looking to the finding

concurrently recorded by two courts. Thus, the findings of fact

recorded against the appellant and the other co­accused, who

have not come forward to file the appeal before the Court, are

neither perverse nor illegal so as to warrant interference by this

Court. Therefore, while affirming the view taken by the High

Court and the Trial Court, we dismiss the appeal.




New Delhi;

July 05, 2022


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