The Delhi High Court has upheld a trial court’s acquittal of a bank security guard after accepting his argument that he was only discharging his duties when he fired at a man, who later died, to prevent him from running away after forging some papers.
A bench led by Justice Sanjiv Khanna dismissed police’s appeal challenging the trial court’s July 2007 acquittal order against Chaturbhuj Singh.
Kashmiri Gate Police had registered a case against Singh on the charge of culpable homicide not amounting to murder by firing and killing from his rifle Sarvesh Sapra on March 9, 2006 when he tried to run away from the bank after trying to fraudulently make some transactions.
The court accepted Singh’s argument that as a guard in the bank his foremost duty was to save the bank and public money from being looted.
Further, Singh had argued that the deceased was holding another person Amarjeet Maurya’s passbook and had manipulated and forged the signatures of Maurya and when he was confronted by the bank officials and he got an inkling that the bank official will call the police.
“We feel that the apprehension of death and grievous hurt was present in the mind of the respondent (Singh) when he exercised the said right (self defence) in the present case. The respondent who was a guard had heard the shouts and the yelling inside the bank at the counter and then had seen a person trying to make his way through the main door.
“To stop him, the respondent closed the door. The deceased did not relent but smashed through the glass frame and when confronted picked up a big glass piece,” the court said.
Singh’s counsel had contended before the court that the deceased had tried to run away and when one more bank official and Singh, who was on guard duty, had tried to stop him, then he not only broke the glass of the main gate to run away from the bank but also in that process tried to hit the accused due to which accused caused bullet injury on the person.
“Evidence of scuffle and blood on glass pieces indicate the statement of Singh was plausible and correct. The respondent who was trying to catch him at that stage fired the shot. Only one shot was fired,” the court said.
The court rejected the state’s argument that the right to private defence is not punitive but preventive and the accused exceeded his right to private defence as well as his duties and therefore he is liable for punishment.