Supreme Court of India
Gurjit Singh @ Gora & Anr vs State Of Haryana on 10 March, 2015Author: S A Bobde

Bench: Jagdish Singh Khehar, S.A. Bobde










1. This appeal has been preferred by the accused Gurjit Singh alias Gora
and Surjit Singh alias Sukha, from the Judgment of the High Court of Punjab
and Haryana at Chandigarh, convicting the appellants – accused under
Section 302 read with Section 34 of the Indian Penal Code [hereinafter
referred to as “IPC”] for the murder of Jagsir Singh on 17.10.1998 at about
2.15 pm at village Ganga (Dabwali), District Sirsa, Haryana.

The relationship between the parties is as follows:


2. According to the prosecution, on 17.10.1998 at about 2.15 p.m.,
Jagsir Singh left his home to go to a shop for purchasing Zarda (chewing
tobacco). His house was adjacent to the house of the accused. Soon
thereafter, his brother Mander Singh (PW13), his wife Sukhwinder Kaur
(PW14) and Paramjit Kaur heard hot words being exchanged between Jagsir
Singh (deceased) and the accused. Mander Singh along with Sukhwinder Kaur
went out of their house to see as to what had happened. They saw that the
accused had surrounded Jagsir Singh. Accused Gurjit and Surjit were armed
with ‘kassis’ (spades) whereas Gurdial Singh, the father of the accused and
Surjit Kaur, their mother, were unarmed. Gurdial Singh and Surjit Kaur
exhorted Gurjit and Surjit that Jagsir Singh be taught a lesson for
bringing the ‘Kanungo’ (revenue inspector) to the village for demarcation
of their property. Gurjit then struck Jagsir Singh on the back of his head
with a ‘kassi’, causing him to fall. Thereafter, Surjit also struck Jagsir
Singh on his face with a ‘kassi.’ Accused Surjit Kaur then dragged Jagsir
Singh towards the village lane.

3. As per the prosecution, Mander Singh (PW13), the brother of the
deceased and Sukhwinder Kaur (PW14) had been restrained by the accused
Gurdial Singh and his wife Surjit Kaur from approaching the site where
Jagsir Singh had been cornered by the accused brothers. Mander Singh and
Sukhwinder Kaur made frantic calls for help, thereby attracting many people
from the locality to the scene of the incident. The accused escaped from
the scene with their weapons.

4. Jagsir Singh was immediately removed to the Community Health Centre,
Dabwali. The doctor there provided first aid and referred him to the
General Hospital at Sirsa, which is at a distance of about 60 Kms, where he
was declared as brought dead.

5. After completion of investigation, a report under Section 173 of the
Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (hereinafter referred to as the ‘Cr.P.C.’)
was presented in court. The accused were charged under Sections 302 and
341 read with Section 34 of the IPC. An autopsy was conducted by Dr.
Jagdish Choudhary (PW4) along with Dr. Yogesh Sangwan. At the trial, the
prosecution examined 15 witnesses including Mander Singh (PW13), brother of
Jagsir Singh (deceased) and Sukhwinder Kaur (PW14), widow of the deceased.
After the closure of the prosecution evidence, statements of the accused
were recorded under Section 313 Cr.P.C., in which they denied the
allegations and pleaded false implication. The accused examined Kuldeep
Kaur (DW1) and Dr. Bhushan Garg (DW2) in their defence.

6. The two parties are related by blood. Gurdial Singh and Mukhtiar
Singh, are sons of one Miyan Singh. Mukhtiar Singh is father of deceased
Jagsir Singh. The two brothers were owners in possession of 2/3 share of
total land measuring 157 Kanals and 19 Marlas situated in the revenue
estate of village Ganga, Tehsil Dabwali, District Sirsa. The sons of
Mukhtiar Singh i.e. the complainant party, believed that their uncle
Gurdial Singh and his sons i.e. the accused party, had encroached upon
their land. They had therefore moved an application for demarcation of the
property. The accused were not in agreement with the course adopted by the
complainants. Therefore, they cornered the deceased Jagsir Singh in front
of their house when he was on his way to the village market. The acquitted
accused, Gurdial Singh and his wife Surjit Kaur had exhorted their sons
i.e. Surjit and Gurjit, to commit the crime.

7. It is significant that in defence, the accused admitted the
occurrence. Their version, however, has differed from that of the
prosecution. According to them, Gurdial Singh was digging in the street and
was dumping mud along the wall of his house. Thereafter, Jagsir Singh
(deceased) came there armed with a ‘gandasi’ (sharp-edged weapon) and
raised a ‘Khangura’ (a provocative sound made to incite another person). In
response, Gurdial asked Jagsir Singh why he had made that sound since he
had brought him up as a child. Jagsir Singh responded by demanding a
certain piece of land from Gurdial Singh. Thereafter, Jagsir Singh struck
Gurdial Singh with the ‘gandasi’ on his head. It is further stated, that
Gurdial Singh then rushed into his house with Jagsir Singh in pursuit.
Thereafter, Jagsir Singh struck him again with the reverse side of the
weapon. Meanwhile, Gurjit, Gurdial’s son, picked up a ‘kassi’ and tried to
save his father from the hands of Jagsir Singh. In the process, Gurjit
struck Jagsir Singh on the back of his head, causing him to fall on the
sharp side of the ‘kassi’ which had fallen from the hands of Gurdial Singh.
Learned counsel for the appellants thus pleaded self-defence and sudden
provocation before us.

8. The Doctor (PW4), who conducted the autopsy on the dead body of
Jagsir Singh, observed two incised wounds i.e. one over the scalp extending
4 cms behind the left ear and the other extending from the nasal septum to
2 cms below the right external ear. In the opinion of the doctor, the
cause of death was shock and hemorrhage as a result of injuries to vital
organs, which were ante-mortem in nature.

9. At this stage, it is apposite to notice that the injury is said to
have been caused to Gurdial Singh by Jagsir Singh with a ‘gandasi’ (sharp-
edged weapon). As per the First Information Report, the incident took
place at about 2.15 pm. At around 6.55 pm, in the evening, Gurdial Singh
went to the Primary Health Center at Odhan and got himself examined by the
medical officer on duty there, namely, Dr. Bhushan Garg (DW2). The Doctor

1. An incised wound 4 cms x 1 cm on the right parietal area of head and
it was 6 cms above the right ear. Fresh bleeding was present and margins
were sharp. The doctor advised an x-ray for this injury.

2. A contusion 3 cms x 1 cm on the left hand on the dorsal aspect at the
base of left thumb and it was transversely placed. Severe tenderness was

This doctor prepared a skiagram (an x-ray image) of the injuries and sent a
ruqa to the Police Station, Odhan. Further, although this witness ruled
out the injury by a friendly hand or by self, he did not reject the
possibility of the injuries being self-inflicted. Significantly, this
witness admitted in his cross-examination that the injured i.e. Gurdial
Singh, did not offer himself for radiological examination and further, he
did not disclose the history of the injuries to him.

10. It is equally significant that the weapon, which is said to have been
used to cause this injury to Gurdial Singh i.e. the ‘gandasi,’ was never

11. The Trial Court accepted the defence version in its entirety. It
came to the conclusion that Gurjit caused an injury on the head of Jagsir
Singh (deceased) in self-defence i.e. after Jagsir had attacked his uncle
Gurdial Singh on the head with a ‘gandasi.’ That thereupon, Jagsir Singh
fell face down on the ‘kassi’ which had allegedly fallen from the hands of
Gurdial. The Trial Court completely acquitted the other accused Sukha
alias Surjit Singh. The Trial Court concluded that Surjit had no role to
play because Sukhwinder Kaur, Jagsir Singh’s widow, stated in her
deposition that Gurjit had struck Jagsir Singh on the head with the
‘kassi.’ The second ‘kassi’ blow, however, was given on the right side of
the face of Jagsir Singh. Because she had not mentioned the name of the
person who had given the second blow on the face of the deceased, the Trial
Court concluded, that the witness attributed the second blow also to

12. The Trial Court seems to have attached no importance to the fact that
the recovery of the weapon (the ‘kassi’) was made at the instance of the
accused Surjit Singh. This was simply dismissed as highly improbable.

13. The learned counsel for the appellants, Dr. J.P. Dhanda, placed
reliance on Chandrappa & Ors v. State of Karnataka (2007) 4 SCC 415, State
of M.P. v. Ramesh & Anr (2011) 4 SCC 786 and Ranjitham v. Basavaraj &
Ors (2012) 1 SCC 414 to submit that in an appeal against acquittal,
interference by the Appellate Court is not warranted in the absence of
perversity in the judgment of the Trial Court. These judgments do not help
the cause of the appellants because the High Court has given clear and
cogent reasons to show that the judgment of the Trial Court was perverse
and not based on the evidence on record.

Further, Dr. Dhanda relied on Arun Raj v. Union of India JT 2010 (5) SC 1;
and Kapildeo v. State of U.P. 1983 SCC (Crl) 311 to show that the offence
committed by the appellants fell within the scope of Section 304 Part II of
IPC and not under Section 302 of IPC. It is pertinent to note that in Arun
Raj (supra) this Court had rejected the defence of grave and sudden
provocation and convicted the appellant under Section 302 of IPC. Whereas
in Kapildeo (supra) this Court altered the conviction from Section 304 Part
I to Section 304 Part II of IPC. The circumstances in the above cases were
entirely different from the present case.

14. We might state at this stage itself that upon reading of the evidence
of Mander Singh (PW14), it cannot be said that Sukhwinder Kaur (PW13)
stated that the second ‘kassi’ blow was given on the right side of the face
of Jagsir Singh to mean that the second blow was also caused by Gurjit
Singh alias Gora. The Trial Court also seems to have missed the defence
version, according to which Jagsir Singh received the second injury from
the ‘kassi’ because he fell on the ground where the ‘kassi’ was lying, and
not because Gurjit Singh caused it, vide the deposition of Kuldeep Kaur
(DW1), wife of Surjit Singh.

15. As stated above, the Trial Court acquitted Surjit Singh completely
and also Gurjit Singh of the charge under Section 302 IPC, accepting the
defence version that Gurjit attacked deceased Jagsir Singh only to save the
life of his father – Gurdial Singh, who had allegedly been injured by
Jagsir Singh. The Trial Court convicted Gurjit Singh under Part II of
Section 304 IPC.

16. In appeal, the High Court reassessed the entire evidence and came to
the conclusion that it cannot be said to be the duty of the prosecution in
the circumstances to explain injuries on the person of the accused, Gurdial
Singh, particularly, since Gurdial neither offered himself for radiological
examination nor had he disclosed the history of his injuries to the doctor.
The High Court opined that the non-explanation of injuries is insufficient
to discard the case of the prosecution, if it otherwise inspires confidence
and is worthy of credence. The High Court disagreed with the Trial Court
and held that there is no reason to disbelieve the statement of Mander
Singh, the brother of the deceased and Sukhwinder Kaur, the widow, only
because they were near relations of the deceased. It is settled law, that
the statement of a relative of the deceased cannot be discarded merely on
the ground that he or she is an interested party. In Anwar Ali v. State of
U.P., (2011) 15 SCC 360, this Court rightly observed that once the
prosecution has been able to prove its case by leading admissible and
cogent evidence with reference to statements of the witnesses, the same
cannot be brushed aside merely on the ground that the witnesses are
relatives of the deceased. In Kartik Malhar v. State of Bihar, (1996) 1 SCC
614, this Court held that even a close relative who is a natural witness
cannot be regarded as an interested witness. The term “interested”
postulates that the witness must have some direct interest in having the
accused somehow or the other convicted for some animus or for some other
reason. More recently, this principle was upheld in Ashok Rai v. State of
U.P., (2014) 5 SCC 713, whereby this Court clearly stated that the evidence
of interested witnesses is not infirm. The High Court has also disagreed
with the Trial Court that the fight took place at the spur of the moment
and the accused had not conspired with each other to commit the crime,
since there was no evidence to that effect.

17. Having considered the entire matter, we are of the view that the
circumstances of the case point out to the commission of the crime under
Section 302 IPC, as observed earlier.

18. There is no doubt about the occurrence having taken place, in which
Jagsir Singh was killed by the accused and that his injuries were caused by
‘kassis.’ There is clear evidence that the accused party comprised of
Gurdial Singh, his wife Surjit Kaur along with their sons Gurjit Singh and
Surjit Singh. Gurjit and Surjit were armed with ‘kassis.’ There are two
injuries made by the ‘kassis’; on the back of the head and the other on the
face of the deceased, Jagsir Singh. The eye-witnesses accounts of Mander
Singh (PW13) and Sukhwinder Kaur (PW14), who were undoubtedly present, in
no uncertain terms reveals that Jagsir Singh was attacked by the accused
party i.e. Gurjit Singh and Surjit Singh. Sukhwinder Kaur has stated that
the accused Gurjit gave a ‘kassi’ blow on the back of the head of Jagsir
Singh, as a result of which he fell. Further, that the second ‘kassi’ blow
was given on the right side of the face of Jagsir Singh. The inference
drawn by the Trial Court that Sukhwinder Kaur intended to name Gurjit
Singh, as the person who also caused the second blow is unwarranted. The
acquittal of Surjit Singh on that ground is also not sustainable. Some
element of confusion was sought to be created in the defence version by
alleging, vide Kuldeep Kaur’s (DW1) deposition that Jagsir Singh received
the second blow because he fell after receiving the first blow on a ‘kassi’
lying beside Gurdial Singh, which cut his face on the right side.

19. The Trial Court has come up with an inference, which is different
even from the defence version. We consider it appropriate to accept the
Judgment of the High Court, which, after reading the entire evidence on
this point, came to the correct conclusion that the two blows were caused
by Gurjit Singh and Surjit Singh, who were both armed with ‘kassis’ and who
had been exhorted to kill Jagsir Singh by their parents, Gurdial Singh and
Sukhwinder Kaur.

20. We also agree with the Judgment of the High Court that the injury on
Gurdial Singh is self-inflicted, in all likelihood. Gurdial Singh was said
to have gone to the Primary Health Centre, Odhan at around 6.55 pm, even
though the incident had taken place at around 2.15 pm. The inordinate delay
in seeking medical attention raises many questions. In addition, he also
refused to undergo radiological examination of the injuries and did not
tell the doctor as to how and why he got the injuries. Gurdial Singh’s
conduct appears to be wholly unnatural and it is not possible to accept the
defence version that Gurjit Singh attacked Jagsir Singh (deceased) because
Jagsir attacked his father with a ‘gandasi.’ As observed earlier, the
failure to corroborate the existence of the ‘gandasi,’ has not been

21. For the aforesaid reasons, the appeal is dismissed. The order of
conviction and sentence as recorded by the High Court is upheld and the
order of acquittal passed by the Trial Court is set aside.


………………………………………..J. [S.A. BOBDE]
MARCH 10, 2015


Criminal Appeal No(s). 519/2010

GURJIT SINGH @ GORA & ANR. Appellant(s)


STATE OF HARYANA Respondent(s)


Date : 10/03/2015 This appeal was called on for judgment today.

For Appellant(s) Dr. J. P. Dhanda,Adv.

For Respondent(s) Mr. Kamal Mohan Gupta,AOR(Not present)

Hon’ble Mr. Justice S.A. Bobde pronounced the judgment of the
Bench comprising Hon’ble Mr. Justice Jagdish Singh Khehar and His Lordship.

For the reasons recorded in the Reportable judgment, which is
placed on the file, the appeal is dismissed. The order of conviction and
sentence as recorded by the High Court is upheld and the order of acquittal
passed by the Trial Court is set aside.

(Parveen Kr. Chawla) (Renu Diwan)
Court Master Court Master


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