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Punjab-Haryana High Court
Santra vs State Of Haryana on 18 August, 2008
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

SABINA, J.

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

out.

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

parents.

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

remaining sentence.

(SABINA)
JUDGE

(K.S.GAREWAL)
JUDGE
August 18, 2008
anita


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