Criminal Appeal No. 17-DB of 2001 1 In the High Court of Punjab and Haryana at Chandigarh Criminal Appeal No. 17-DB of 2001 Date of decision:18.8.2008 Santra ......Appellant Versus State of Haryana .......Respondent CORAM: HON'BLE MR.JUSTICE K.S.GAREWAL HON'BLE MRS. JUSTICE SABINA Present: Mr.Aashish Gupta, Advocate, for the appellants. Ms.Navin Malik, Addl.A.G.Haryana. **** JUDGMENT
Vide this judgment Criminal Appeal Nos. 17-DB, 18-DB
and 46-DB of 2001 would be disposed of as all the appeals have
arisen out of common judgment dated 12/13.12.2000 passed by
Additional Sessions Judge, Jind.
Prosecution story, in brief, is that Rameshwar, elder
brother of complainant Balbir Singh, was married to Santro Devi
(Santra) daughter of Dulla Ram about 20/22 years prior to the
occurrence and they had two children i.e. a son and a daughter.
Criminal Appeal No. 17-DB of 2001 2
Relations between Rameshwar and his wife Santro Devi were not
cordial. On many occasions their differences had to be resolved with
the intervention of Panchayat. About three months prior to the
occurrence Santro Devi had gone to her parental house in village
Retoli after quarrelling with Rameshwar. On 26.6.1999, complainant
and Rameshwar went to bring her back from village Retoli at about
5/6 p.m. At about 7/7.30 p.m. the complainant went outside the
house in the fields to ease himself and returned back after half an
hour. He found that Dulla Ram and Ramesh were pressing the neck
of Rameshwar while sitting on his chest and Santro Devi and Anguri
Devi had caught hold of Rameshwar from his legs. Dulla Ram was
saying that they should teach a lesson to Rameshwar for harassing
his daughter. Out of fear complainant ran away from the spot to his
village and returned back in the morning along with other persons
and found the dead body of his brother lying at the spot.
On the basis of the statement of the complainant, formal
FIR No.83 dated 27.6.99 was registered at Police Station Pillu Khera.
After completion of investigation and necessary
formalities the accused were sent up for trial. Charge was framed
against them under Section 302/120-B IPC on 12.11.1999. The
accused did not plead guilty and claimed trial.
In order to prove its case, the material witnesses
examined by the prosecution at the trial were Ranbir Singh (PW-1),
Complainant Balbir Singh (PW-9) and SI Jagat Singh (PW-11).
Criminal Appeal No. 17-DB of 2001 3
After the close of prosecution evidence, accused when
examined under Section 313 Cr.P.C. prayed that they were innocent
and had been falsely involved in this case. Accused did not lead any
defence evidence despite opportunity having been given.
Vide impugned judgment, learned Additional Sessions
Judge, Jind convicted all the accused under Section 302 read with
Section 34 IPC and sentenced them to undergo imprisonment for life
and fine of Rs.1,000/- each. Hence, the present appeal.
Learned counsel for the appellants has submitted that the
story put forth by the prosecution was highly doubtful. The alleged
eye witness instead of trying to save his brother had fled away from
the spot. As such, the complainant had not witnessed the
occurrence nor he was present at the spot. There is delay in lodging
the FIR also. Appellant Santro Devi and deceased Rameshwar had
been married for a long time before the occurrence and there was no
occasion for the appellants to commit the murder of Rameshwar.
Learned State counsel, on the other hand, has submitted
that the dead body was recovered from the parental house of the
wife of deceased Rameshwar, who had died an unnatural death.
The complainant witnessed the occurrence but out of fear went back
to his village and came back in the morning accompanied by other
persons and immediately reported the matter to the police.
The complainant, while appearing in the witness box as
PW-9, has deposed as per his statement made to the police.
Criminal Appeal No. 17-DB of 2001 4
Rameshwar, who is husband of accused Santro Devi died in the
house of her parents due to strangulation.
As per the medical evidence, Dr.Ranbir Singh (PW-1),
who had conducted the post mortem examination along with other
doctors on 28.6.1999 at 11.00 a.m., found that veins were prominent
and neck was swollen. There were superficial marks of four fingers
present on the left side of his neck and mark of thumb was present
on the right side. The finger marks were extended outward and
downward, whereas, the thumb mark was present obliquely and
upward. These marks looked like soft and black bruises. Thin linear
marks produced by finger nails were also present. There were
multiple bruises on the mouth, cheeks, forehead, lower jaw and
chest. On dissection, cornue of hyoid bone, thyroid cartilage,
cartilage of larynx were found fractured. Larynx and trachea were
congested and contained blood stained frothy mucous. In his opinion
cause of death was asphyxia as a result of throttling, which was ante
mortem in nature and was sufficient to cause death in the ordinary
course of nature. The time between death and post mortem
examination was within 48 hours.
From the medical evidence and ocular evidence it
transpires that the person, who had strangulated the deceased, was
sitting on his chest and had strangulated him with the help of his
hand. The finger marks were found present on the left side of the
neck of the deceased, whereas, the thumb mark was present on the
Criminal Appeal No. 17-DB of 2001 5
right side of the neck of the deceased. The placement of the finger
marks and thumb mark as opined by the doctor clearly show that the
person, who had strangulated the deceased with the help of his
hand, must have been sitting on the chest of the deceased as
deposed by the eye witness. Hyoid bone, thyroid cartilage and
cartilage of larynx were found fractured during this process.
As per PW-9, the occurrence in this case had taken place
on 26.6.1999 at about 8.00 p.m. The doctor opined that the time
between death and post mortem examination was within 48 hours.
The post mortem examination was conducted on 28.6.1999 at about
11.00 a.m. and, thus, it supports ocular version regarding time of
occurrence. The complainant had got recorded his statement at
about 3.30 p.m. on 27.6.1999. The delay in lodging the FIR leads to
the inference that the possibility that some innocent persons had also
been named in the FIR can not be ruled out. The presence of
complainant-PW-9 at the spot, however, cannot be doubted. The
complainant is the brother of the deceased and since wife of the
deceased had left her matrimonial home, after a quarrel, it was
natural for the deceased to have gone along with his brother to bring
her back. All the accused must have been present at the spot.
However, from the medical evidence it appears that only accused
Ramesh must have sat on the chest of the deceased and had
strangulated him with the help of his hand and as a result
Rameshwar died at the spot immediately. The complainant has
Criminal Appeal No. 17-DB of 2001 6
attributed the role to other accused with a view to rope in the entire
family. The possibility that Santro Devi and her parents had not
participated in the murder of Rameshwar can not be ruled out.
Rameshwar had come to take back his wife Santro Devi to her
matrimonial home and a quarrel might have started between all of
them. Accused Ramesh committed the murder of his brother-in-law
Rameshwar. The statement of the complainant so far as commission
of murder by accused Ramesh inspires confidence. However, he
has failed to establish that all the accused had connived with each
other to commit murder of Rameshwar. The possibility that Santro
Devi and her parents were merely silent spectators can not be ruled
On seeing the occurrence, the complainant left the spot
as he must have been in a trauma and came back in the morning
along with other persons including Sewa Singh (PW-10). On
reaching the house of the accused, complainant informed the matter
to the police after leaving Sewa Singh near the dead body.
The dead body of Rameshwar was recovered from the
parental house of accused Santro Devi. Had the accused not
committed murder of Rameshwar, the matter would have been
reported to the police by Santro Devi, wife of the deceased or her
On a complete over all view of the prosecution case, we
find that the deceased had been murdered by accused Ramesh and
Criminal Appeal No. 17-DB of 2001 7
his conviction and sentence are liable to be upheld, whereas, the
conviction and sentence of appellants Santro Devi, Anguri Devi and
Dulla Ram are liable to be set aside as the possibility that they have
been falsely involved in this case can not be ruled out.
Accordingly Criminal Appeal Nos. 17-DB and 18-DB are
allowed. Appellants Santro Devi (Santra) and Anguri Devi are
acquitted of the charge framed against them. So far as Criminal
Appeal No.46-DB is concerned, the same is allowed qua appellant-
Dulla Ram and he is acquitted of the charge framed against him and
the appeal qua accused Ramesh stands dismissed. The said
accused, who is on bail, be taken in custody for undergoing the
August 18, 2008