Read Judgment: Karan Singh vs. State of Uttar Pradesh
New Delhi, March 3, 2022: Finding that the prosecution had proved its case beyond reasonable doubt, the Supreme Court has refused to interfere with the concurrent findings of the Trial Court and the High Court and opined that the fact that the trial/appeal should have taken years and that other accused should have died during the appeal cannot be a ground for acquittal of the co-accused.
A Division Bench of Justice Indira Banerjee and Justice V. Ramasubramanian found that the accused’s (Appellant) presence was established as it had been proved by the two eye witnesses that the Appellant carried a rifle and shot open fire.
Going by the background of the case, one Rati Pal arrived at Kaanth Police Station and filed a complaint alleging that eight days before Holi, one Rajkumar Singh had purchased a buffalo from his elder brother Brahmapal Singh at the price of Rs. 1,900/- and had promised to pay the price of the buffalo to the complainant’s elder brother, Brahmapal Singh, eight days after Holi. Rajkumar Singh, however, did not pay the price as promised and vice-versa Brahmapal Singh did not permit Rajkumar Singh to harvest his crops.
Later, as per the instructions of Rajkumar Singh, Brahmapal Singh, the complainant, a villager Badshah Singh and Mahendra Singh went to Simra Khera to the house of Sher Singh Thakur, where Rajkumar Singh came with a rifle in his hand along with the Appellant, Karan Singh, who was also armed with a rifle. When Brahmapal Singh asked for his money, Rajkumar Singh opened fire with his rifle and shot Brahmapal Singh on his head. Thereafter, the associates of Rajkumar Singh opened fire from their respective weapons and the complainants ran away from the spot. When they returned to the place of occurrence, they found Brahmapal Singh dead.
After the FIR was lodged, the Investigating Officer investigated the case and submitted a charge-sheet against the accused persons u/s 148, 302/149 and 307/149 of IPC. The Trial Court accordingly convicted the accused persons, inter alia, for murder and sentenced them,, to undergo life imprisonment, after finding the testimonies of the eye-witnesses reliable and observing that there was motive to kill the deceased. On appeal, the High Court confirmed the conviction. However, while the appeal was pending before the High Court, five out of six accused persons died and only the Appellant was left alive. The High Court did not find any major contradiction either in the evidence of the witnesses or any conflict in medical or ocular evidence, which could tilt the balance in favour of the Appellant.
After considering the submissions, the Top Court found from the post mortem, that the dead body of the deceased had a large number of gun shots, multiple shot wounds, and that some bullets penetrated and exited the body.
The counsel for the State rightly argued that the Prosecution case was proved from the statements of three eye witnesses apart from the Doctor who had examined injured witnesses and the Doctor who had conducted the post mortem, added the Court.
Speaking for the Bench, Justice Banerjee found that the version of the doctor who examined Mahender Singh tallied with the version of the other prosecution witnesses that Mahender Singh was hit by a bullet while all the complainants were running away.
The doctor who conducted the post mortem on the body of the deceased had stated that he found gunshot injury on the center of the forehead and that many bones of the head were fractured, and thus, the Doctor opined that the cause of death was bleeding and shock caused by the injuries.
Justice Banerjee further noted that the tenor of the evidence of the Doctor who conducted the post mortem tends to support the case of the prosecution witnesses that all the accused persons, who were present, carrying arms had fired.
Accordingly, the Apex Court dismissed the appeal.