False case and Damage

IN THE HIGH COURT OF PUNJAB & HARYANA AT CHANDIGARH

 Criminal Appeal No. 332-DB of 1998 and Criminal Misc. No.35100 of 2009

  Dated of Decision:- September 23,2009

   Nachhattar Singh alias Khanda and others ….APPELLANTS     VERSUS

   State of Punjab ….RESPONDENT    

CORAM: HON’BLE MR. JUSTICE MEHTAB S.GILL and HON’BLE MR. JUSTICE JITENDRA CHAUHAN

 Present:- Sh.Vinod Ghai, Advocate for the appellants.  Sh. Satinder Singh Gill,Addl. A.G. Punjab.

            Sh. S.S.Randhawa, Addl. A.G.Haryana (Amicus Curiae). Sh. K.S.Dadwal,Addl. A.G.Punjab.

            Sh. H.S.Rakhra, Advocate for Amar Singh, respondent No.2 and Sukhdev Singh respondent No.7.

            Sh. H.R.Nauhria, Advocate for Mukhtiar Singh resp. No.4, Karnail Singh respondent No.5, Jangir Singh respondent No.6, and Surjit Ram respondent No.8.

            Sh. Puran singh Hundal, Sr. Advocate with

            Sh. Abhishek Sethi, Advocate for Sarabjit Rai respondent No.10.

            Sh. Jasdeep Singh Gill, Advocate for DSP Darshan Singh. Sh. Sant Pal Singh Sidhu, Advocate for Madan Gopal SP. Sh. Akshay Bhan, Advocate for National Human Rights Commission.
 This is an appeal against the judgment dated 18.7.1998 of the  learned Addl.Sessions Judge, Barnala, whereby he convicted Nachhattar  Singh alias Khanda son of Bant Singh, Sira alias Jagsir Singh son of  Nachhattar Singh, Amarjit Singh son of Kaula Singh, Nikka Singh son of  Bawa Singh, Surjit Singh son of Jang Singh under Sections 364/302,  148/149,201 IPC and sentenced them to undergo  rigorous imprisonment for  five years, RI for life, R.I. for one year and R.I.for five years respectively.  Further they were directed to pay a fine of Rs.1,000/- each under Sections  302 and 201 IPC, in default to undergo three months R.I.  During the pendency of the appeal, Seera alias Jagsir Singh son  of Nachhattar Singh died allegedly by committing suicide, after he had been released on bail. Appeal against him thus abated.  We will be deciding both Criminal Appeal No.332-DB of 1998  and Crl. Misc. No.35100 of 2009 by a common order, as they are co-  related.

             Nachhattar Singh alias Khanda and Jagsir Singh alias Sira  were
also convicted under Section 364 IPC and sentenced to undergo five  years
R.I.and to pay a fine of Rs.1,000/-, in default to further undergo R.I.  for
three months. All the sentences were to run concurrently.  The case of the
prosecution is unfolded by the statement of  Sukhdev Singh PW7 son of Bhag
Singh, resident of Village Tallewal given  to SI Sarabjit Rai PW14.

             Sukhdev Singh stated, that he is an agriculturist and lives in Village Tallewal. He has three children. Jagseer Singh @ Sira is his elder son, Sukhdev Singh is younger to him and has a daughter, who is elder to  both
his sons. All are married. He has 12 acres of land, out of which 8  acres was
given on lease to the Sarpanch of their village Nachhattar Singh  @ Khanda son
of Bant Singh for one year. Nachhattar Singh did not pay  the lease money. He
and Jagseer Singh demanded the money many times,  but Nachhattar Singh refused
to pay. Jagseer Singh then asked Nachhattar  Singh to either pay the money or
vacate the land so that they could lease the  land to someone else. Nachhattar
Singh started abusing them and stated,  that he will not pay the money and also
will not vacate the land. On 5.6.96,  Sukhdev Singh along with his son Jagseer
Singh and his daughter Sito were  present in their house, at about 7.00 p.m.,
Nachhattar Singh and his son  Seera Singh came to his house and in their
presence asked Jagseer Singh to  accompany them to their house and they would
pay the lease money.  Jagseer Singh went with them. Jagseer Singh did not
return. Sukhdev Singh  went to the house of Sarpanch Nachhattar Singh and
enquired about Jagseer  Singh from Nachhattar Singh’s wife. She stated, that
Jagseer Singh was not  present in the house and he had gone away. Statement of
Sukhdev Singh  was recorded by SI/SHO Sarabjit Rai on 11.6.96. Sukhdev Singh
further  stated, that he has apprehension that his son had been kidnapped by
Nachhattar Singh and his son Seera Singh with an intention to murder him.  The
motive for the commission of the offence was that Jagseer Singh used  to demand
the lease money of their land from Nachhattar Singh, which was  not liked by
him. Jagseer Singh had told them to vacate the land. Sarpanch  Nachhattar Singh
felt offended.

 On the basis of this statement, FIR Ex.PE was recorded on  11.6.96 at 11.20
a.m. at Police Station Bhadaur and the special report  reached the J.M.I.C.,
Barnala, on the same day at 5.30 p.m.  The prosecution to prove its case brought
into the witness box,  Dr. Krishan Gopal PW1, Amar Singh PW2, Gurdev Singh PW3,
Mukhtiar  Singh PW4, Karnail Singh PW5, Jangir Singh PW6, Sukhdev Singh PW7,
Surjit Kaur PW8, Bikkar Singh PW9, Harcharanjit Singh PW10, Chamkaur  Singh
PW11, HC Ajaib Singh PW12, ASI Darshan Singh PW13, SI Sarabjit  Rai PW14, C.
Davinder Pal Singh PW15 and Sukhvinder Pal Singh PW16.  During the course of
arguments when the case came up for  hearing, Sh. Vinod Ghai, learned counsel
for the appellants moved Crl.  Misc. No.35100 of 2009. It was stated in the
application that Jagseer Singh  son of Sukhdev Singh is not dead, he is alive
and a false and fabricated case  has been registered against the appellants,
which led to their conviction.  Appellants had pleaded before the investigation
officer and the police that  they were innocent.

             Before proceeding with the case, we held an enquiry to verify  as
to whether Jagseer Singh son of Sukhdev Singh resident of Village  Tallewal, was
alive or dead. We were told that he was lodged in Ludhiana  jail in FIR No.171
of 2008 Police Station Raikot. He was summoned to this  Court. On his appearance
in Court, he prayed that a counsel be appointed to  assist him. We appointed Sh.
S.S.Randhawa, Addl. A.G. Haryana as Amicus  Curiae. We sent him back to Judicial
lock up for a few days so that he could  think over the matter.

             Before recording Jagseer Singh’s statement, Sh. Randhawa  stated,
that he had explained all the legal pros and cons to Jagsir Singh son of Sukhdev Singh and also advised him to state nothing but the truth.
Thereafter Jagsir Singh’s statement was recorded in Punjabi language, not  on
oath, which was read over and explained to him and he signed it, in  token of
its correctness.

             Jagsir Singh stated that he was Jagseer Singh son of Sukhdev
Singh, resident of Village Tallewal. His statement reads as under: –  ” I know
accused Nachattar Singh, Jagsir Singh @ Sira, Amarjit Singh, Nikka Singh and
Surjit Singh and they belong to my village. Our land was leased out to Nachattar
Singh etc. accused persons. The land belonging to some other person was also
situated along with this land and this land was also leased out. Jagsir Singh @
Sira called me at about 7 O’ clock and took me away from my house. Thereafter, I
went to my fields along with Jagsir Singh etc. Jagsir Singh asked me to start
the motor. That is why, I accompanied them. When I went to the fields alongwith
them, then a quarrel took place with Jagsir Singh etc. on the issue of
irrigating the fields. When the accused persons namely Nachattar Singh, Nikka
singh, Jagsir Singh and Amarjit Singh and other 2-3 persons who are not known to
me, started giving me beatings, then I ran away and went to Barnala. I remained
underground there for 1/2 days. Thereafter I started working with trucks and
continued working there for 5-6 years. I stayed at Village Dhanas, near
Chandigarh for three years and went to Seonk for one year. During my stay for
12-13 years outside my house, I could not contact my parents and I did not go to
my village. During this period, I could not contact any person of the village
nor I could meet any of my relative. I even do not know that a false case of
murder has been foisted against Nachattar Singh etc.

                    The name of my father is Sukhdev Singh and the name of my
mother is Gurdev Kaur. I have four maternal uncles whose names are Jeet Singh,
Gurdev Singh, Gurcharan Singh and Baaru. I do not know Karnail Singh son of Jagir Singh. I also do not know
Jagir Singh son of Harnam Singh, who is a resident of Bhadaur.

            Dated 8.9.09 R.O.& A.C. Signed Jagsir Singh in Punjabi.”

 From the statement of Jagsir Singh, we were convinced that he  is the same
person for the murder of whom the appellants have been  convicted for committing
his murder. None of the respondents arrayed in  Crl. Misc. No.35100 of 2009
contradicted the statement that the person in  Court, is not Jagsir Singh son of
Sukhdev Singh r/o village Tallewal, nor  any prosecution witness contradicted
the statement.  Learned counsel for the appellants has argued, that Jagsir Singh
son of Sukhdev Singh is alive. A case FIR No.171, dated 8.12.2008, under
Sections 420/465/467/468/471/195/211 read with Section 120-B IPC,  Police
Station Raikot, Ludhiana was registered against Jagsir Singh son of  Sukhdev
Singh for giving false evidence and fabricating a false lease deed  Ex.PF. The
complainant was S.I. Gurdial Singh, SHO Police Station Raikot.  He has further
argued that proceedings under Sections 82/83 of the Cr.P.C.  have been initiated
against Sukhdev Singh son of Bhag Singh, Surjit Kaur  D/o Sukhdev Singh, Gurdev
Kaur W/o Sukhdev Singh, Amar Singh son of  Gurdial Singh, Karnail Singh son of
Jangir Singh and Jangir Singh son of  Harnam Singh which are pending before the
Judicial Magistrate 1st Class,  Jagraon in this very FIR. FIR No.171 and all the
consequential proceedings  did not have any meaning and are a farce. The main
culprits have not been  named in the FIR and only Jagsir Singh son of Sukhdev
Singh has been  named.

 Learned counsel has vehemently argued, that the statements  given on oath in
Court by Amar Singh PW2, Gurdev Singh PW3, Mukhtiar  Singh PW4, Karnail Singh
PW5, Sukhdev Singh PW7, Surjit Kaur PW8,  Bikkar Singh PW9 and the two
Investigating Officers i.e. ASI Darshan  Singh PW13 and Sarabjit Rai PW14 were
made falsely to implicate the  appellants, though these witnesses knew that
Jagsir Singh son of Sukhdev  Singh was alive. They have been successful having
the appellants  convicted. Because of the false and fabricated evidence brought
before the  Court, documentary as well as oral, appellants had to undergo five
years  rigorous imprisonment for no fault of their’s. All those who gave false
evidence on oath be adequately punished as per law.  Learned counsel for the
State has argued, that when the State  came to know that Jagseer Singh son of
Sukhdev Singh resident of Village  Tallewal was alive, FIR No.171, dated
18.12.2008, under Sections  420/195/211/465/467/468/471/120-B IPC, Police
Station Raikot, District  Ludhiana was registered against him by SI Gurdial
Singh, SHO, Police  Station Raikot. Proceedings under Sections 82/83 of the
Cr.P.C. were  initiated against Sukhdev Singh son of Bhag Singh, Surjit Kaur D/o
Sukhdev Singh, Gurdev Kaur W/o Sukhdev Singh, Amar Singh son of  Gurdial Singh,
Karnail Singh son of Jangir Singh and Jangir Singh son of  Harnam Singh in the
Court of the Judicial Magistrate 1st Class, Jagraon.  Exemplary punishment be
given to the prosecution witnesses and others  who falsely implicated the
appellants.

             We have heard the learned counsel for the parties and perused  the
record with their assistance.

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 A false and fabricated case was registered against the  appellants. Jagsir
Singh son of Sukhdev Singh resident of Village Tallewal  was alive when FIR
Ex.PE under Sections 364/201 IPC was registered  against the appellants. Later
on, Section 302 IPC was also added. He was  shown to be murdered but in fact he
had run away. False evidence was  procured and a false story was built up, to
have the appellants convicted  which the complainant party was succeeded in
doing so. Personal enmity  was the sole driving force.

             Going through the statements of the witnesses given in Court  which
have been reproduced as under, it is clear that the prosecution  witnesses knew
that they were stating falsehood before the learned trial  Court with the sole
purpose to falsely implicate the appellants, so that they  be convicted, which
they succeeded in doing so.  Amar Singh PW2 is the alleged eye witness to the
occurrence.  He has stated on oath as under: –

             ” I found that Jagsir Singh s/o sukhdev Singh was lying on the
ground in a passage. I found that Nikka Singh had caught hold of his arms and
Jagsir Singh s/o Nachhattar Singh accused was exhorting that he should be
killed. Nachhattar Singh was armed with Kasia and he inflicted a injury on the
back side of chest. Amarjit Singh with his gandasa inflicted an injury on his
neck on back side. Surjit Singh who was armed with Kasia inflicted injury on the
right foot. All the accused told me that in case I disclosed about this incident
to anybody then they shall also inflict injuries to me. On account of fear I
left that place and sat at a distance of about 11/2 Killas. Thereafter I found
that they left the place of occurrence in a tractor of blue colour and one red
colour cultivator was attached to it. I found on bundle lying on the
cultivators. After about 10 days I

 suffered a statement to the police in which I narrated the incident. Out of
fear I did not go to the police earlier”.    Gurdev Singh PW3, the real maternal
uncle of Jagseer Singh  son of Sukhdev Singh allegedly identified the dead body.
He has stated on  oath as under: –

             ” Jagsir Singh deceased was the son of my sister. I alongwith
others had been searching for Jagsir Singh. When we reached at village Ghareli
we found that his dead body was lying in water channel. The information
regarding this had already been given to the police which was present at that
place. I identified the dead body. I also identified the dead body at the time
of post-mortem examination”.

 Mukhtiar Singh PW4, who has allegedly given the last seen  account, his statement on oath is as under: –

             ” On 5.6.96 I was present at Changra Patti in my fields at about
mid night. I was irrigating my Narma crop. Electric bulb installed at my motor
was emitting light at that time. I found one tractor of blue colour make
Mohindra to which one cultivator was attached coming from the side of Tajoke.
One bundle was lying on the cultivator. The accused present in court were on
that tractor. They are known to me. It was being driven by Amarjit Singh. They
stopped their tractor near the Kanal minor and threw the bundle which was lying
on the cultivator into the canal minor. All the accused returned on the same
passage. My statement was recorded by police”.   Karnail Singh PW5 has allegedly
stated on oath the extra  judicial confession made by appellant Nachhattar
Singh, Seera @ Jagsir  Singh and Amarjit Singh, which is as under: –

 ” About 7 months ago Nachhattar Singh and his son Seera and Amarjit Singh came
to my house at about 8 AM. Nachhattar Singh was known to me earlier. They
disclosed to me that the son of Sukhdev Singh known as Seera was killed by them.
They further disclosed that Nikka Singh and Surjit Singh also joined hands with
them for killing him. They also told me that they had thrown his dead body in a
minor canal. They also narrated to me individually the facts of the crime
lateron. I produced all the three of them to the police”.   Sukhdev Singh PW7,
father of Jagseer Singh, is the  complainant. He has stated on oath as under: –
” Jagsir Singh deceased was my son. Sito is my daughter. I won 12 killas of land
at village Tallewal. I had given on lease 8 Killas of land to Nachhattar Singh
for a period of one year. Two Killas of land was given to Amar Singh on share
basis. No money was given by Nachhattar Singh to me. Number of times I raised
demand regarding this lease money from Nachhattar Singh. My son also raised a
demand from Nachhattar Singh or in the alternative he should vacate the land so
that the same be given to some other person. Nachhattar Singh bore a grudge with
regard to this demand made by my son. He openly proclaimed that neither he would
vacate the land nor he would pay lease amount.

                     About 11 months ago I was present at my house alongwith my daughter and my son. At about 7 P.M. Nachhattar Singh and his son Jagsir Singh @ Seera entered our house and told my son Jagsir Singh
that they were ready to pay the lease money and he should accompany them. My son
left with them. But he did not come back. Late in the evening I went to the
house of Nachhattar Singh and I met his wife and enquired from him as to where
was Nachhatar Singh and she told that he had gone to my house. Next day I
searched for my son and Nachhattar Singh and his son but they were not available. I searched
for my son for about 7 days and then on 11.6.96 I lodged a report at
P.S.Bhadaur. My statement was recorded by police which was read over to me and
after admitting it to be correct I signed the same in token of its correctness.
Ex.PE is the carbon copy of the FIR which bears my signatures. Police
accompanied me to my house and recorded the statement of my daughter Sito.
Police also prepared site plan of my house at my instance. While going to Sandhu
Kalan I met Gurdev Singh alongwith police and he disclosed that in the minor
canal located in the area of Ghareli one dead body is lying. We visited that
place and I identify the dead body of my son. On examination of dead body I had
found that he had injury on his left leg and his hair had grown grey. My son was
aged 19 years. Writing was scribed with regard to lease of land with Nachhattar
Singh, which was scribed by my daughter and it was thumb-marked by me. The same
is Ex.PF. Nachhattar Singh also thumb-marked this writing. Again said I had
signed this writing. Bikkar Singh attested it alongwith Lal Singh”.   Surjit
Kaur (PW8) D/o Sukhdev Singh has stated qua the  motive. She is the scribe of
lease deed Ex.PF. She has stated on oath: –  ” My father owns 12 Killas of land
out of which 8 Killas of land was leased out to Nachhattar Singh accused.
Writing was scribed in this regard by me and the same is Ex.PF. I identify the
signatures of my father on this writing. Nachhattar Singh thumb-marked it and
Lal Singh and Bikkar Singh attested it. No money was given by Nachhattar Singh
to my father. On 5.6.96 my father and my brother Jagsir Singh and myself were
present at the house. At about 7 P.M. Nachhattar Singh came to our house with
his son Jagsir Singh. They told my brother Jagsir Singh that they were ready to
give money and he should accompany them and collect the same. My brother went with them
but did not return. Search was carried out and lateron his dead body was
recovered. Police visited our house and my statement was recorded”.

 Bikkar Singh PW9 is the alleged attesting witness to the lease  deed Ex.PF.
This was forcibly got signed from appellant Nachhattar Singh  in the police
station. He has stated on oath as under: –  ” A writing was scribed regarding
land of Sukhdev Singh in favour of Nachhattar Singh. I attested the same. It is
Ex.PF. It was also attested by Lal Singh and thumb-marked by Nachhattar Singh”.

 The two investigating officers i.e. Darshan Singh ASI PW13  and SI Sarabjit Rai
PW14 arrested the appellants and planted Kasia Ex.P1  on Nachhattar Singh,
gandasa Ex.P2 on Amarjit Singh, tractor Ex.P4 on  Nikka Singh and kasia Ex.P3 on
Surjit Singh.

             SI Sarabjit Rai PW14 has stated on oath, that he recovered  gandasa
Ex.P2 from Amarjit Singh vide Recovery Memo Ex.PK/1. He has  further stated,
that he recovered kasia Ex.P1 from Nachhattar Singh vide  Recovery Memo Ex.PL.
He recovered kasia Ex.P3 on 20.6.96 from  appellant Surjit Singh vide Recovery
Memo Ex.PN. He recovered tractor  No.PB-31-3099 on 20.6.96 vide Recovery Memo
Ex.PO/1. SI Sarabjit Rai  PW14 and ASI Darshan Singh PW13 were part and parcel
to falsely  implicate the appellants. They were also part of the conspiracy in
falsely  giving evidence before the learned trial Court so that appellants are
convicted. Recoveries were made from appellants of weapons they never  used.

 Jagseer Singh son of Sukhdev Singh was not murdered, he was  alive. Since he
was not murdered the question of kasia ExP1, gandasa  Ex.P2 and Kasia Ex.P3,
being used could not arise. Not only this, the  Serologist report Ex.PX shows
human blood on kasia Ex.P1, gandasa  Ex.P2 and kasia Ex.P3, which as per the
Chemical Examiner report Ex.PB  were blood-stained. From where did this human
blood come on the kasia  and gandasa? Learned counsel for the appellants has
argued that appellants  were tortured in Police custody and it is their blood
which has been planted  on the weapons of offence.

            In the Inquest report Ex.PC, the maternal uncles of Jagseer  Singh
son of Sukhdev Singh, namely, Gurdev Singh son of Chuhar Singh  PW3 and Jeet
Singh son of Chuhar Singh identified the unknown dead body  to be that of Jagsir
Singh son of Sukhdev Singh. Both these witnesses also  identified the dead body
of some unknown person as that being of Jagseer  Singh son of Sukhdev Singh,
resident of Village Tallewal, when it was  brought before Dr.Krishan Gopal PW1,
who prepared the post mortem  report Ex.PA.

            From the above statements given on oath, the alleged  recoveries
made, identifying an unknown body, it is clear that false and  fabricated
evidence both oral and documentary was created by Amar Singh  PW2, Gurdev Singh
PW3, Mukhtiar Singh PW4, Karnail Singh PW5,  Sukhdev Singh PW7, Surjit Kaur PW8,
Bikkar Singh PW9, ASI Darshan  Singh PW13, SI Sarabjit Rai PW14 and Jeet Singh
son of Chuhar Singh.  Both Darshan Singh PW13 and Sarabjit Rai PW14 investigated
the case  with a bent of mind, to falsely implicate the appellants. This was
done for  extraneous considerations. Darshan Singh DSP and Madan Gopal S.P., the

 supervisory officers, also did not scrutinize the case diary and the investigation in a professional manner.

             Appellants as per their statements under Section 313 Cr.P.C.  have
stated, that right from the beginning they were telling the police  officials,
that they were being falsely implicated, but no one listened to  them.

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             Perjury has been committed by the complainant party and the
Investigating Officers. They stated lies before the learned trial Court, to get
a favourable verdict of conviction against the appellants, which they  succeeded
in doing so.

             With the above discussion, appeal is allowed. Appellants are
acquitted of all the charges framed against them. Their conviction and
sentences are set aside.

             Nachhattar Singh alias Khanda son of Bant Singh, Sira alias  Jagsir
Singh son of Nachhattar Singh, Amarjit Singh son of Kaula Singh,  Nikka Singh
son of Bawa Singh, Surjit Singh son of Jang Singh filed  Criminal Misc. No.
35100 of 2009 under Section 482 Cr.P.C. for awarding  compensation of Rs.20 lacs
each, for the mental torture they suffered for 13  years, for illegal
confinement of 5 years and for malicious prosecution. It  has been urged that
Amar Singh son of Gurdial Singh, resident of Village  Tallewal, Gurdev Singh son
of Chuhar Singh resident of Village Raisar,  Mukhtiar Singh son of Kishan Singh
resident of Tajoke, Karnail Singh son  of Jangir Singh resident of Dhilwan,
Nabha, Jangir Singh son of Harnam  Singh resident of Bhadaur, Sukhdev Singh son
of Bhag Singh resident of  Tallewal, Surjit Kaur d/o Sukhdev Singh resident of
Tallewal, ASI Darshan  Singh and SI Sarabjit Rai be prosecuted for giving false
evidence.

 Notice of Crl.Misc.No.35100 of 2009 was given to the above  and all of them
were arrayed as respondents.

            Mukhtiar Singh son of Kishan Singh, resident of Village  Tajoke,
Karnail Singh son of Jangir Singh resident of Village Dhilwan  Distt. Barnala,
Jangir Singh son of Harnam Singh, resident of Bhadaur  Distt. Barnala, Surjit
Kaur D/o Sukhdev Singh, resident of Village Tallewal  Distt, Barnala, State of
Punjab through Harbhajan Singh, SP Headquarters  Barnala, ASI Darshan Singh, SI
Sarabjit Rai, DSP Darshan Singh and SP  Madan Gopal filed their replies.

            State of Punjab in its reply stated, that Gurdial Singh SI, SHO
Police Station Raikot, received secret information on 18.12.2008, that Jagsir
Singh son of Sukhdev Singh, resident of Village Tallewal, Police Station
Bhadaur, was living at Village Rattewal, Tehsil Balachaur, Distt. Bhagat  Singh
Nagar (Nawanshehar) and had changed his name to Baldev Singh son  of Prem Singh.
Jagsir Singh had knowingly run away from his house in  1996 on account of some
dispute with Nachattar Singh alias Khanda son of  Bant Singh (Present
appellant). A false case was registered against the  appellants. Raid was
conducted on the basis of this information and FIR  No.171, dated 18.12.2008
under Sections 420, 195, 211, 465, 467, 468, 471,  120-B IPC at Police Station
Raikot, was registered, against Sukhdev Singh  son of Bhag Singh, Jagsir Singh
son of Sukhdev Singh, Gurdev Singh son  of Chuhar Singh, Jeet Singh son of
Chuhar Singh and Balwinder Singh alias  Binder son of Sukhdev Singh. Proceedings
under Sections 82 and 83  Cr.P.C. were initiated against Sukhdev Singh son of
Bhag Singh, Surjit  Kaur D/o Sukhdev Singh, Gurdev Kaur w/o Sukhdev Singh, Amar
Singh  son of Gurdial Singh, Karnail Singh, Ex. Sarpanch son of Jagir Singh,
Jagir Singh son of Harnam Singh, as they were not named in FIR No.171, but  their
names cropped up during the course of investigation. The person for  whose
murder accused (Appellants) were convicted is alive. Final report  under Section
173 Cr.P.C. was presented before the J.M.I.C., Jagraon.   Sukhdev Singh PW7 is
the complainant. In his reply, he has  stated that Jagsir Singh his son was
alive and he informed SHO, Mahal  Kalan on 18.12.2008. The SHO then informed DSP
Raikot Narinder Pal  Singh Ruby. It was Balwinder Singh brother of Jagsir Singh,
who got Jagsir  Singh arrested.

 In FIR Ex.PE there is no mention of the lease deed Ex.PF. The  lease deed came
into existence after the appellants were arrested and  tortured in the police
station by Sarabjit Rai SI/SHO PW14, the  Investigating Officer and thereafter
this document Ex.PF was prepared in  connivance with the complainant party, as
per the appellants, they were  tortured to sign on blank papers in the Police
Station.  An eye witness account was given by Amar Singh PW2, who  happens to be
the neighbour of Sukhdev Singh PW7. In his reply, he has  reiterated what has
stated on oath before the Court. His statement was  recorded under Section 161
Cr.P.C. on 15.6.96 i.e. after 10 days of the  occurrence.

              Mukhtiar Singh PW4 in his reply has stated that he is not aware
whether alleged Jagsir Singh has been found alive or not. In his statement
under Section 161 Cr.P.C. given on 15.6.96, he was the witness to the last  seen
evidence. All he said that he got ill and was afraid of the appellants (accused) and is the reason that he gave his statement to the police after 10 days. He has stated that he is related to Sukhdev Singh PW7.
Surjit Kaur PW8 in her statement in her reply has stated that  she is not aware
whether Jagsir Singh is alive or not. She has admitted that  FIR No.171, dated
18.12.2008 has been registered at Police Station Raikot.  She has been named in
that FIR. She has scribed document Ex.PF and is  also witness to the last seen
evidence.

             Karnail Singh PW5 and Jangir Singh PW6 in their replies have
reiterated that Nachhattar Singh, Seera @ Jagsir Singh and Amarjit Singh  have
made extra judicial confession before Karnail Singh and Nikka Singh  and Surjit
Singh before Jangir Singh. He is not aware whether alleged  deceased Jagsir
Singh has been found alive or not.  Darshan Singh ASI PW13 and the Investigating
Officer  Sarabjit Rai SI/SHO PW14 have denied their involvement but it is clear
that  both these witnesses were hand in glove with the complainant party. They
created false evidence against the appellants. Darshan Singh DSP (retired)  and
Madan Gopal SP(D), Barnala (retd.), who were the supervisory officers  though
went through the whole evidence in a casual and cavalier manner.  Bikkar Singh
PW9 is an attesting witness to the lease deed  Ex.PF.

             Gurdev Singh son of Chuhar Singh PW3 and Jeet Singh son of  Chuhar
Singh, the real maternal uncles of Jagsir Singh son of Sukhdev  Singh,
identified the dead body of an unknown person in the Inquest report  Ex.PC. They
also identified the dead body of an unknown person before  Dr. Krishan Gopal
PW1, who performed the post-mortem.

 Learned counsel for the appellants (Accused) has vehemently  argued, that all
the above persons, who have been named above, should be  prosecuted under
Section 340 of the Cr.P.C. and also under Sections  193/195/196 IPC. Further FIR
No.171, dated 18.12.2008 under Sections  420, 195, 211, 465, 467, 468, 471 and
120-B IPC at Police Station Raikot,  which was registered on the basis of the
statement of a police official may  be quashed, as this FIR was only to save the
investigating officer/officers  and the private individuals whose do not figure
in the FIR. If the police  wanted to register an FIR truthfully, they would have
named the persons  who gave false evidence against the appellants and also those
who made the  fictitious document Ex.PF.

              Lastly, the learned counsel has argued, that this is a case of
blatant misuse of law. A murder which never had taken place, by collecting  and
giving false evidence, for an offence which the appellants did not  commit,
appellants (Accused) were convicted and sentenced to undergo life  imprisonment.
All the appellants after undergoing a sentence of five years,  were released on
bail, on the basis of the law laid down in Dharam Pal vs.  State of Haryana,
1999 (4) R.C.R. (Criminal) 600. Appellants (accused)  were tortured physically
in the police station, mentally and were boycotted  socially. They be given
compensation of Rs.20 lacs each, which should be  paid by the State.

              Learned counsel for the State has argued, that it is not only the
responsibility of the State to give compensation but the private respondents
are also liable.

              Learned counsel for the intervener National Human Rights
Commission, Sh. Akshay Bhan has cited two judgments of the Hon’ble  Supreme Court in D.K.Basu Vs. State of West Bengal, AIR 1997 SC 610  and Sube Singh Vs. State of Haryana & Ors., 2006 (1) RCR (Criminal) 802.  He has further pleaded, that monetary compensation not less than Rs.15 lacs  per individual be granted to the appellants for the grave violation of their  human rights.

             Learned counsels Sh. Puran Singh Hundal, Sr. Advocate with  Sh.
Abhishek Sethi, Advocate, Sh. H.S.Rakhra, Advocate, Sh. H.R.Nauhria,  Advocate,
Sh. Jasdeep Singh Gill, Advocate and Sh. Sant Pal Singh Sidhu,  Advocate have
argued, that as a case has been registered against some of  their clients
(respondents), but proceedings under Section 340 Cr.P.C. may  be initiated
against them, they would not like to dwell on the merits and  demerits of the
case, which may jeopardize the rights of their clients in any  proceeding in a
Court of law, if so initiated by the Court or the State. We  were in agreement
with the learned counsels and thus did not insist that they  should take a
definite stand.

             Appellants had been in custody for five years and were released  on
bail by this Court by suspending their sentences on the basis of the law  laid
down in Dharam Pal vs. State of Haryana, 1999 (4) R.C.R. (Criminal)

600. FIR Ex.PE was registered against the appellants on 11.6.96 and till  date
they are facing prosecution. The trial including appeal took 13 long  years to
conclude. Seera @ Jagsir Singh son of Nachhattar Singh, one of  the accused when
he came on bail, committed suicide. Appellants faced  insult and humiliation for
so many years. They were disgraced in society.  The best years of their life
were spent in jail. Not only were the appellants  disgraced and humiliated in
society, but their kith and kin also must have  gone through a lot of mental
agony and torture during this period.

 Appellants were branded as murderers. Appellant Nachhattar Singh was the
Sarpanch of the village. As per learned counsel Sh. Vinod Ghai, Advocate,
appellant Nachhattar Singh was also a candidate to contest elections for the
State Assembly, if this case had not been foisted on him. During this  period,
appellants faced a lot of hardship economical also. It has been  stated, that
appellant Nachhattar Singh had to sell his agricultural land to  pursue the
case. The productivity of his land also decreased, as there was  no one to look
after it. During these 13 years, if they were free men, they  would have earned
a substantial amount for their family members from the  land they owned.

            In D.K.Basu’s case (supra), the Hon’ble Supreme Court has  held as
under:-

            “17. Fundamental rights occupy a place of pride in the Indian
Constitution. Article 21 provides “no person shall be deprived of his life or
personal liberty except according to procedure established by law”. Personal
liberty thus, is a sacred and cherished right under the Constitution. The
expression “life or personal liberty” has been held to include the right to live
with human dignity and thus, it would also include within itself a guarantee,
against torture and assault by the State or its functionaries.”

 Hon’ble Supreme Court in para 30 has stated as under:-   “30. How do we check
the abuse of police power? Transparency of action and accountability perhaps are
two possible safeguards which this Court must insist upon. Attention is also
required to be paid to properly develop work culture, training and orientation
of the police force consistent with basic human values. Training methodology of
the police  needs restructuring. The force needs to be infused with basic human values and
made sensitive to the constitutional ethos. Efforts must be made to change the
attitude and approach of the police personnel handling investigations so that
they do not sacrifice basic human values during interrogation and do not resort
to questionable forms of interrogation. With a view to bring in transparency,
the presence of the counsel of the arrestee at some point of time during the
interrogation may deter the police from using third degree methods during
interrogation.”

READ  False 498A queashed

 Hon’ble Supreme Court in paras 40 and 41 has stated as under:-

 “40. Ubi Jus Ibi Remedium – There is no wrong without a remedy. The law wills
that in every case where a man is wronged and endamaged he must have a remedy. A
mere declaration of invalidity of an action or finding of custodial violence or
death in lock-up, does not by itself provide any meaningful remedy to a person
whose fundamental right to life has been infringed. Much more needs to be done.

          41. Prosecution of the offender is an obligation of State in case of
every crime but the victim of crime needs to be compensated monetarily also. The
Court, where the infringement of the fundamental right is established,
therefore, cannot stop by giving a mere declaration. It must proceed further and
give compensatory relief, not by way of damages as in a civil action but by way
of compensation under the public law jurisdiction for the wrong done, due to
breach of public duty by the State of not protecting the fundamental right to
life of the citizen. To repair the wrong done and give judicial redress for
legal injury is compulsion of judicial consequence.”

 Hon’ble Supreme Court in para 43, 44 and 54 has stated as  under:-

          “43. Till about two decades ago the liability of the Government for
tortuous act of its public servants was generally limited and the person
affected could enforce his right in tort by filing a civil suit and there again
the defence of sovereign immunity was allowed to have its play. For the
violation of the fundamental right to life or basic-human rights, however, this
Court has taken the view that the defence of sovereign immunity is not available
to the State for the tortuous acts of the public servants and for the
established violation of the rights guaranteed by Article 21 of the Constitution
of India. In Neelabati Bahera Vs. State [supra] the decision of this Court in
Kasturi Lal Raila Ram Jain Vs. State of U.P. [1996 (1) SCR, 375] wherein the
plea of sovereign immunity had been upheld in a case of vicarious liability of
the State for the tort committed by its employees was explained.

          44. The claim in public law for compensation for unconstitutional
deprivation of fundamental right to life and liberty, the protection of which is
guaranteed under the Constitution, is a claim based on strict liability and is
in addition to the claim available in private law for damages for tortuous acts
of the public servants. Public Law proceedings serve a different purpose than
the private law proceedings. Award of compensation for established infringement
of the indefeasible rights guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution is a
remedy available in public law since the purpose of public law is not only to
civilise public power but also to assure the citizens that they live under a
legal system wherein their rights and interests shall be protected and
preserved. Grant of compensation in proceedings under Article 32 or 226 of the
Constitution of India for the established violation of the fundamental rights
guaranteed under Article 21, is an exercise of the Courts under the public law jurisdiction for
penalising the wrong doer and fixing the liability for the public wrong on the
State which failed in the discharge of its public duty to protect the
fundamental rights of the citizen.

          54. Thus, to sum up, it is now a well accepted proposition in most of
the jurisdictions, that monetary or pecuniary compensation is an appropriate and
indeed an effective and sometime perhaps the only suitable remedy for redressal
of the established infringement of the fundamental right to life of a citizen by
the public servants and the State is vicariously liable for their acts. The
claim of the citizen is based on the principle of strict liability to which the
defence of sovereign immunity is not available and the citizen must receive the
amount of compensation from the State, which shall have the right to be
indemnified by the wrong doer. In the assessment of compensation, the emphasis
has to be on the compensatory and not on punitive element. The objective is to
apply balm to the wounds and not to punish the transgressor or the offender, as
awarding appropriate punishment for the offence (irrespective of compensation)
must be left to the criminal courts in which the offender is prosecuted, which
the State, in. law, is duty bound to do. The award of compensation in the public
law jurisdiction is also without prejudice to any other action like civil suit
for damages which is lawfully available to the victim or the heirs of the
deceased victim with respect to the same matter for the tortious act committed
by the functionaries of the State. The quantum of compensation will, of course,
depend upon the peculiar facts of each case and no strait-jacket formula can be
evolved in that behalf. The relief to redress the wrong for the established
invasion of the fundamental rights of the citizen, under the public law
jurisdiction is, thus, in addition to the traditional remedies and not in
derogation of them. The amount of compensation as awarded by the Court and paid
by the State to redress the wrong done, may in a given case, be adjusted against
any amount which may be awarded to the claimant by way of damages in a civil
suit.”

  In Sube Singh’s case (supra), Hon’ble Supreme Court has  observed under: –

             “17. It is thus now well settled that award of compensation against
the State is an appropriate and effective remedy for redress of an established
infringement of a fundamental right under Article 21, by a public servant. The
quantum of compensation will, however, depend upon the facts and circumstances
of each case. Award of such compensation (by way of public law remedy) will not
come in the way of the aggrieved person claiming additional compensation in a
civil court, in enforcement of the private law remedy in tort, nor come in the
way of the criminal court ordering compensation under section 357 of Code of
Civil Procedure.”    Strangely in FIR No.171, dated 18.12.2008 under Sections
420,  195, 211, 465, 467, 468, 471 and 120-B IPC registered at Police Station
Raikot, a number of names have been left out as already discussed. FIR  should
have been registered on the basis of the statement of one of the  appellants
(alleged accused) and not on the statement of a police official of  Police
Station Raikot. The FIR smells of mala fide and it has been registered  to save
the skin of a few private persons and police officials, especially the
investigating officers. Witnesses who gave false evidence on oath have also
been left out.

             We have no alternative but to quash FIR No.171, dated  18.12.2008
under Sections 420, 195, 211, 465, 467, 468, 471 and 120-B IPC Police Station Raikot and further all its consequential proceedings are also set aside.

             SHO Police Station Bhadaur (District Barnala) is directed to
register a fresh FIR on the basis of the statement of Nachattar Singh @  Khanda
son of Bant Singh Village Tallewal or any other appellant (Alleged  accused) and
to start investigation afresh and proceed as per law.  We do not want to go any
further into the details of the reply  respondents (witnesses) have given, lest
it affects their trial when a fresh  FIR is registered against them.

             Appellant Nachhattar Singh lost his son Jagsir Singh. In the
present case, appellants had been arrayed as an accused. Appellants have
suffered an irreparable loss. They have gone through a lot of mental agony  and
have been economically ruined by the misdeed of the functionaries of  the State
of Punjab. It is not only the private respondents, who are  responsible for
falsely implicating the appellants, but a major part of the  responsibility
falls on the shoulders of four police officials i.e. the  Investigating Officer
Sarabjit Rai PW14, ASI Darshan Singh PW13,  Darshan Singh DSP and Madan Gopal
SP. It is the solemn and sovereign  function of the State to prosecute criminals
but not the innocent. State is  duty bound to do a fair and truthful
investigation and thereafter present the  challan before the competent Court.
Such was the meticulous falsehood  presented before the trial Court that the
trial Court also believed the  evidence which was brought before it. The trial
Court did not have any  alternative but to convict the appellants.

 We are of the considered opinion that the entire burden of  paying compensation
to appellants i.e. Nachhattar Singh alias Khanda son  of Bant Singh, Sira alias
Jagsir Singh son of Nachhattar Singh, Amarjit  Singh son of Kaula Singh, Nikka
Singh son of Bawa Singh, Surjit Singh  son of Jang Singh rests squarely on the
shoulders of the State of Punjab.  Taking all the circumstances into
consideration i.e. five years rigorous  imprisonment which the appellants have
undergone, mental agony and  torture they have gone through, the loss of face
they have suffered during  the trial and till the date i.e. for the last 13
years. An irreparable damage  which has been done to them psychologically and
physically cannot be  repaid with any amount of money. They have demanded a
compensation of  Rs.20 lacs each, which in the present circumstances is a fair
amount.  We award Rs.20 lacs each to all the appellants, which shall be  paid by
the State of Punjab within 30 days from date of passing of this  order. The
Chief Secretary, Punjab and the Home Secretary, Punjab are  directed to deposit
a sum of Rs.One crore with the Registrar of the Punjab  and Haryana High Court,
which shall be further paid to the appellants,  namely, Nachhattar Singh alias
Khanda son of Bant Singh, Amarjit Singh  son of Kaula Singh, Nikka Singh son of
Bawa Singh, Surjit Singh son of  Jang Singh and the legal heirs of Sira alias
Jagsir Singh son of Nachhattar  Singh (deceased).

            The learned trial Court is directed to initiate proceedings under
Section 340 of the Criminal Procedure Code against Amar Singh PW2,  Gurdev Singh
PW3, Mukhtiar Singh PW4, Karnail Singh PW5, Sukhdev  Singh PW7, Surjit Kaur PW8,
Bikkar Singh PW9, ASI Darshan Singh  PW13, SI Sarabjit Rai PW14, Jeet Singh son
of Chuhar Singh, Jagsir Singh son of Sukhdev Singh, Balwinder Singh alias Binder son of Sukhdev Singh,
Gurdev Kaur w/o Sukhdev Singh and Jagir Singh son of Harnam Singh and  any other
person so liable for committing perjury.    (MEHTAB S.GILL)

                                                JUDGE

   September 23,2009 (JITENDRA CHAUHAN) SKArora/AS JUDGE

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