Bhajan Kaur And Anr vs State Of Punjab on 11 October, 2017

(1) Criminal Appeal No.D-299-DB of 2013
and 3 other connected appeals

In the High Court of Punjab and Haryana at Chandigarh.

(I) Criminal Appeal No.D-299-DB of 2013
Date of Decision:- October 11, 2017

Bhajan Kaur @ Harbhajan Kaur another ……Appellants

Versus

State of Punjab ….Respondent

**********

(II) Criminal Appeal No.D-311-DB of 2013

Veer Singh and others ……Appellants

Versus

State of Punjab ….Respondent

*********

(III) Criminal Appeal No.D-343-DB of 2013

Lakhvinder Singh and another ……Appellants

Versus

State of Punjab ….Respondent

*********

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(IV) Criminal Appeal No.D-402-DB of 2013

Harminder Singh and another ……Appellants
Versus
State of Punjab ….Respondent

CORAM: Hon’ble Mr. Justice Rajesh Bindal
Hon’ble Mr. Justice Gurvinder Singh Gill

Present : Mr. Arun Singla, Advocate.
for the appellants in CRA-D- No.299-DB of 2013 and
CRA-D No.311-DB of 2013.

Mr. C.S.Jattana, Advocate for the appellants
in CRA-D No.402-DB of 2013.

Mr. Satnam Singh Gill, Advocate for the appellants
in CRA-D No.343-DB of 2013.

Ms. Anju Arora, Additional Advocate General, Punjab.

******

Gurvinder Singh Gill, J.

1. This judgment shall dispose of the above mentioned appeals filed on behalf of

the following accused:

S. No Particulars of Appeal Name of Appelant(s)
1. Appeal No.D-299-DB of 2013 1. Bhajan Kaur @ Harbhajan Kaur
2. Satwant Kaur @ Sukhwant Kaur
2. Appeal No.D-311-DB of 2013 1. Veer Singh
2. Balbir Singh
3. Daljodh Singh
4. Guru Singh
3. Appeal No.D-343-DB of 2013 1. Lakhvinder Singh
2. Gurdip Kaur
4. Appeal No.D-402-DB of 2013 1. Harminder Singh
2. Pritam Kaur

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2. The aforesaid appellants have challenged judgment dated 13.3.2013 passed by

learned Additional Sessions Judge, Hoshiarpur whereby they have been held

guilty for committing offences punishable under Section 302 and 120-B read

with Section 302 of Indian Penal Code, 1860 (for short, ‘IPC’) and have been

sentenced as under :

S. No Name of convict Convicted u/s Sentence Imposed In default of fine
1. Balbir Singh 302 of IPC R.I. for life and fine Further R.I. for 1
of ` 10,000/-. year.
2. Daljodh Singh 302 of IPC R.I. for life and fine Further R.I. for 1
of ` 10,000/-. year.
3. Guru Singh 302 of IPC R.I. for life and fine Further R.I. for 1
of ` 10,000/-. year.

S. No Name of convict Convicted u/s Sentence Imposed In default of
payment of fine
1. Veer Singh 120-B read R.I. for life and Further R.I. for 1
with Section fine of ` 10,000/-. year.
302 of IPC
2. Balbir Singh 120-B read R.I. for life and Further R.I. for 1
with Section fine of ` 10,000/-. year.
302 of IPC
3. Daljodh Singh 120-B read R.I. for life and Further R.I. for 1
with Section fine of ` 10,000/-. year.
302 of IPC
4. Guru Singh 120-B read R.I. for life and Further R.I. for 1
with Section fine of ` 10,000/-. year.
302 of IPC
5. Satwant Kaur 120-B read R.I. for life and Further R.I. for 1
with Section fine of ` 10,000/-. year.
302 of IPC
6. Harminder Singh 120-B read R.I. for life and Further R.I. for 1
with Section fine of ` 10,000/-. year.
302 of IPC
7. Pritam Kaur 120-B read R.I. for life and Further R.I. for 1
with Section fine of ` 10,000/-. year.
302 of IPC

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8. Lakhwinder 120-B read R.I. for life and Further R.I. for 1
Singh with Section fine of ` 10,000/-. year.
302 of IPC
9. Gurdeep Kaur 120-B read R.I. for life and Further R.I. for 1
with Section fine of ` 10,000/-. year.
302 of IPC
10. Bhajan Kaur 120-B read R.I. for life and Further R.I. for 1
with Section fine of ` 10,000/-. year.
302 of IPC

3. The case relates to murder of Jaswinder Kaur along with her three minor

children namely Kamalpreet Kaur, Simranjit Singh and Antar. The translated

gist of statement of Jagir Singh, father of deceased Jaswinder Kaur, leading to

registration of FIR reads as follows:

“I have four daughters and two sons. My daughter

Jaswinder Kaur was married to Veer Singh resident of

village Bhagran, Police Station Mukerian about 13 years

back. She gave birth to three children namely Kamalpreet

Kaur aged 9 years, Simranjit Singh aged 7 years and

daughter Antar aged 1 ½ years. Ever since her marriage, her

husband Veer Singh, mother-in-law Mohinder Kaur,

brother-in-law Daljot Singh (deor), sisters of her husband

namely Bhajan Kaur, Sukhwant Kaur and Pritam Kaur had

been taunting and harassing her and compelled her to live

separately in one room because my son-in-law is not living

with my daughter now. Since she was living separately,

therefore, I had been giving maintenance to my daughter

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and children. We had also convened Panchayats in this

regard. My son-in-law is in Army and due to his marital

dispute, the Army authorities had granted maintenance to

my daughter out of his salary. However, my son-in-law by

misrepresenting, got her signatures on a document to the

effect that she had divorced her husband and married her

‘deor’ (younger brother-in-law) Daljot Singh. Veer Singh

has filed a petition for divorce. Today I received telephonic

information from husband of Sarpanch of village Bhagran

that four dead bodies have been found from canal and he

asked me to check up as to whether my daughter and

children are at home. Upon receipt of said information I

along with respectables went to Civil Hospital, Mukerian

where I identified the dead bodies to be that of my daughter

Jaswinder Kaur and her three children. My daughter and

her children have been murdered last night by her husband

Veer Singh, her brothers-in-law Daljot Singh and Balbir

Singh, mother-in-law Mohinder Kaur, sisters of her husband

namely Sukhwant Kaur, Bhajan Kaur and Pritam Kaur in

connivance with each other by causing injuries and had

thrown their dead bodies in ‘Shah Nehar’ (canal) near

village in order to destroy the dead bodies. The motive is

that my son-in-law and his family wanted to solemnize

second marriage of my son-in-law Veer Singh and grab

property/land falling to the share of my daughter and her

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children.”

4. Pursuant to recording of aforesaid statement of complainant Jagir Singh, father

of deceased Jaswinder Kaur, FIR No. 139 dated 8.10.2006 (Ex.PW-21/A) was

recorded at Police Station Mukerian, District Hoshiarpur. Inquest proceedings

were conducted. Post mortem examination was got conducted on the

recovered dead bodies. Investigating Officer PW-21 Inspector Ravinder Singh

along with other police officials went to the residence of Jaswinder Kaur in

village Bhagran. He called SI Gurdeep Singh, Finger Print Expert who lifted

foot print moulds from the spot. Tyre print moulds were also lifted from the

spot. Blood stained earth was lifted and packed into a parcel and duly sealed.

A blood stained bed-sheet, blood stained pillows and blood stained ‘darri’

were taken into possession from room of Jaswinder Kaur. Since cot lying in

the room was also found to be blood stained, therefore, one ‘pahi’ (wooden

leg of cot) and plastic ‘baan’ (rope used for knitting cot) was also taken into

possession. A rough site plan (Ex.PW-21/E) of place of occurrence was

prepared. The police also found blood stained pebbles on way to canal which

were also collected and taken into possession. During investigation,

statements of witnesses were recorded under Section 161 Cr.P.C.

5. Accused Balbir Singh, Guru Singh, Harminder Singh, Pritam Kaur, Satwant

Kaur @ Sukhwant Kaur were arrested on 11.10.2006. Accused Daljodh Singh

and Bhajan Kaur @ Harbhajan Kaur were arrested on 14.10.2006. Accused

Veer Singh was arrested on 9.11.2006.

6. After conclusion of investigation the police presented challan against the

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accused in the Court of learned Judicial Magistrate 1 st Class, Dasuya on

3.1.2007 who committed the case to the Court of Sessions on the same day i.e.

on 3.1.2007. Subsequently, a supplementary challan was filed against the

accused Sukhwant Kaur in the Court of learned Judicial Magistrate 1st Class,

Dasuya on 2.4.2007 and the same was committed to the Court of Sessions vide

order dated 25.5.2007. The case was assigned to the Court of learned

Additional Sessions Judge, Hoshiarpur who upon finding sufficient grounds to

presume that the accused had committed offences punishable under Sections

302 and 120-B read with Section 302 of IPC framed charges against the

accused vide order dated 5.9.2007.

7. The prosecution in order to establish its case examined as many as 24

witnesses. PW-1 Dr. Amarjit Singh who had conducted post-mortem

examination on the dead bodies of Jaswinder Kaur, Antar, Simranjit Singh,

Kamalpreet Kaur proved the post-mortem reports as Ex.PB, Ex.PD, Ex.PF

Ex. PH, respectively. PW-2 Head Constable Satvinder Singh stated that in the

year 2006 he was posted as MHC at Police Station Mukerian and had handled

the case property and that as long as the case property remained in his

possession, the same was not tampered with. PW-3 Constable Jaswinder

Singh tendered his affidavit Ex.PL in evidence wherein he deposed that the

MHC handed over the articles for depositing the same in the office of FSL and

that he accordingly deposited the same and that as long as the same remained

in his possession, none of the articles was tampered with. PW-4 Constable

Parveen Singh is an formal official witness who tendered his affidavit Ex.PM

in evidence. PW-5 Ashok Kumar, Sarpanch of Village Dugri, Tehsil Dasuya

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District Hoshiarpur stated that he knows Jagir Singh who is resident of his

village and that his daughter Jaswinder Kaur was married in village Bhadran

to Veer Singh. He deposed that after some time of the marriage, their relations

became strained and that her husband, her sisters-in-law and brother-in-law

started maltreating her.

8. PW-6 Baljinder Singh stated that he remained Panch of village Bhagran for

five years and Kailash Kaur was the Sarpanch. He deposed that in December,

2003, he was called by Kailash Kaur, Sarpanch and he had signed on a paper

which was in English. He further stated that he is illiterate. The witness was,

however, declared hostile and with the permission of the Court was permitted

to be cross-examined by Public Prosecutor. PW-7 Bal Kishan stated that he is

husband of Kailash Kaur and sometimes he used to attend the meetings of the

Panchayat. He deposed that about four years back Jaswinder Kaur disclosed

to him that her father-in-law and Daljodh Singh had been picking up quarrel

with her but she did not state anything about her relations with Veer Singh or

with her sister-in-laws. The witness was, however, declared hostile and with

the permission of the Court was permitted to be cross-examined by Public

Prosecutor. PW-8 Sukhwinder Kaur stated that house of Jaswinder Kaur is

across the road where her house is situated and that she was not having cordial

relations with Jaswinder Kaur and others and that Jaswinder Kaur never told

her about the behaviour of Veer Singh. The witness was, however, declared

hostile and with the permission of the Court was permitted to be cross-

examined by Public Prosecutor.

9. PW-9 Charanjit Kaur stated that about 4 ½ years back, she went to the house

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of Kailash Kaur, Sarpanch and she had affixed her signature on affidavits of

Jaswinder Kaur and Daljodh Singh. She, however, stated that she does not

know English and had signed on the affidavits at the instance of Sarpanch.

The witness was, however, declared hostile and with the permission of the

Court was permitted to be cross-examined by Public Prosecutor. PW-10 ASI

Bhupinder Singh stated that on 11.10.2006, he was entrusted with the

investigation of the case and on the said day Harminder Singh, Pritam Kaur

and Sukhwinder Kaur were arrested by the police and their arrest memos and

personal search memos were prepared. He further stated that Pritam Kaur

suffered a disclosure statement Ex.PS. PW-11 ASI Baldev Singh deposed that

on 8.10.2006, he was duty officer at Police Station Mukerian and that a

telephonic message was received at about 8 A.M. that dead body of a lady and

of one child were found in canal and he informed SHO Ravinder Singh and he

along with SHO Ravinder Singh and other police officials went to the spot

where the dead bodies had been entangled in the gates of canal. He further

stated that two more dead bodies were also recovered. He stated that the dead

bodies were taken to Civil Hospital, Mukerian where Jagir Singh complainant

identified the same to be that of his daughter and her children. He further

deposed that the investigation conducted by him in the matter, including visit

to the house of Jaswinder Kaur, where various blood stained articles were

taken into possession. He has also deposed about the disclosure statements

made by the accused and the recoveries made in pursuance thereof.

10. PW-12 Inspector Gurdeep Singh, Finger Print Expert deposed that on

8.10.2006, upon receipt of telephonic message from Police Control Room,

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Hoshiarpur, he proceeded to the scene of crime in Village Bhagran and lifted

foot print moulds. PW-13 Jagir Singh complainant stated in tune with his

statement Ex. PW-13/A on the basis of which FIR was lodged. PW-14

Hardeep Singh son of complainant deposed that on 20.9.2006, he went to his

sister’s house in village Bhagran. While he was repairing the dish installed on

the roof of her house, he overheard the brothers and sisters of Veer Singh

asking Veer Singh to eliminate Jaswinder Kaur and her children.

11. PW-15 Kailash Kaur stated that she was earlier Sarpanch of Village Bhagran

and she knew Veer Singh who was married to Jaswinder Kaur and that there

was dispute between them. She deposed that Veer Singh had come to her

personally with an affidavit and she had affixed her signatures upon the same.

PW-16 HC Raj Kumar, Photographer proved the photographs of the place of

occurrence. PW-17 HC Prem Singh desposed that on 2.11.2006, he was

posted as MHC in police Station Mukerian and on the said day ex-MHC

Satvinder Singh handed over case property to him and that as long as the case

property remained in his possession, the same was not tampered with. PW-18

Arvinder Pal Singh, Tehsildar deposed that on 18.10.2006, ASI Baldev Singh

produced accused Balbir Singh, Daljodh Singh and Guru Singh before him for

taking their foot print moulds and that he passed order on the application

moved by Investigating Officer and thereafter the footprint moulds were taken.

PW-19 Nasib Chand, Civil Ahlmad stated that he is attached to the Court of

Shri Balbir Singh, Additional District Sessions Judge, Hoshiarpur as

Ahlmad and that Veer Singh had filed a petition under Section 13 of the Hindu

Marriage Act. He proved certified copy of the same as Ex.PW19/A.

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12. PW-20 Subhash Kumar, Draftsman proved the scaled site plan of the house of

Jaswinder Kaur as Ex.PW20/A. PW-21 Inspector Ravinder Singh, who is the

Investigating Officer of the present case stated in detail in respect of the entire

investigation conducted in the present case. PW-22 Surat Singh stated that

he was posted as Ahlmad in the Court of Additional Civil Judge (Senior

Division) Dasuya in the year 2006. He proved copy of Civil Suit as

Ex.PW22/A and has also proved the written statement and affidavit and order

passed in the said Civil Suit. PW-23 Ashok Bhalla, retired Ahlmad deposed

that in the year 2005-2006, he was posted as Ahlmad in the Court of Mandeep

Kaur, JMIC, Dasuya. He proved the certified copy of petition filed by

Jaswinder Kaur under Section 125 Cr.P.C. as Ex.PW-23/A. PW-24 Lakhvir

Singh, Subedar, 13 Sikh Regiment, Assam stated that on 9.11.2006, he along

with other officials of his unit had produced Veer Singh in the Court of Smt.

Mandeep Kaur, JMIC Dasuya on the direction of Major of his unit. He also

proved various documents which he had produced. During cross-examination

he specifically stated about the presence of Veer Singh at Indo-Pak border on

7.10.2006 and 8.10.2006.

13. It may be added here that accused Mohinder Kaur died during the pendency of

the trial and as such the proceedings qua Mohinder Kaur stood abated.

14. Upon conclusion of the prosecution evidence, entire incriminating evidence

appearing against the accused was put to them to enable them to explain the

same but the accused denied the prosecution case in toto and pleaded

innocence. Veer Singh stated therein that the relations between him and his

wife were strained and Jaswinder Kaur had started living as wife with his

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younger brother Daljodh Singh and he had filed a divorce petition on the said

ground. He further stated that on the day of occurrence, he was posted at

Rajauri Punchh Sector (JK) which is at a distance of 500 kms from his

village. Daljodh Singh while pleading innocence has also taken a similar plea

that he has been falsely implicated because he is brother of Veer Singh. He

specifically stated therein that Jaswinder Kaur started living with him as his

wife and he had sworn an affidavit on 10.12.2004 regarding the said fact and

that Antarpreet Kaur was born out of the said wedlock. Guru Singh has taken

a plea that he has been implicated falsely by the police, being servant of Veer

Singh. Balbir Singh, Satwant Kaur, Harminder Singh and Pritam Kaur have

taken a plea that they have been falsely implicated, being related to Veer

Singh.

15. The accused in their defence examined DW-1 Bawa Singh, Naib Tehsildar,

Kartarpur, District Jalandhar who deposed that in the year 2003 he was posted

as Naib Tehsildar (Executive Magistrate) at Mukerian. He had attested

affidavits Ex.D-1 and Ex.PW-22/D of Jaswinder Kaur and Daljodh Singh

upon attestation made by Kailash Kaur, Sarpanch of Village Bhagran and that

both the deponents had signed their affidavits in his presence. DW-2 Deepak

Joshi, Stamp Vendor, Tehsil Complex Mukerian, Distt. Hoshiarpur, produced

the summoned record pertaining to sale of stamp papers for the year 2003 and

proved the relevant entries pertaining to sale of stamp papers to Jaswinder

Kaur and Daljodh Singh on 6.11.2003.

16. The learned trial court upon appreciation of the evidence on record found the

accused Balbir Singh, Daljodh Singh and Guru Singh, guilty of having

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committed offence punishable under Section 302 of IPC and all accused

namely Veer Singh, Balbir Singh, Daljodh Singh, Guru Singh, Satwant Kaur,

Harminder Singh, Pritam Kaur, Lakhwinder Singh, Gurdeep Kaur and Bhajan

Kaur held guilty of having committed offence punishable under Section 120-B

read with Section 302 of IPC and sentenced all the accused to undergo

rigorous imprisonment for life in addition to imposition of fine vide judgment

dated 13.3.2013. Aggrieved with their conviction, the accused have filed the

present appeals.

17. The learned counsel for the appellants while assailing the impugned judgment

has submitted that the present case is a case of blind murder and that all the

accused excepting Guru belong to family of in-laws family of deceased and

have been implicated merely for the reason that the relations between the

deceased-Jaswinder Kaur were strained with her husband Veer Singh. The

learned counsel submitted that in fact Veer Singh who was serving in Army

was deputed at the India-Pakistan Border on the day of occurrence, as per the

record produced by the Army authorities. The learned counsel further

submitted that the case is based solely on circumstantial evidence which is far

from convincing and there are several chinks in the case of prosecution. The

learned counsel thus prayed for acceptance of appeals and for setting aside the

impugned judgment and consequently for acquittal of the accused.

18. On the other hand, the learned counsel representing the State submitted that

though there is no direct evidence in the present case but the circumstantial

evidence led by the prosecution in the shape of disclosure statements of the

accused leading to recovery of weapon used in commission of offence as well

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as blood stained clothes and also the foot prints moulds lifted from the place

of occurrence which were found to be matching with the specimen footprints,

leave no manner of doubt that it is the accused who had eliminated Jaswinder

Kaur and her three children as relations between Jaswinder Kaur and her

husband Veer Singh were strained and the family of Veer Singh wanted Veer

Singh to contract second marriage. The learned State counsel has further

submitted that apart from the said motive of paving way for second marriage

of Veer Singh, the family also wanted to ensure that Jaswinder Kaur does not

get any share from the property of the family. The learned State Counsel, thus

submitted that the impugned judgment is well reasoned and does not suffer

from any infirmity and has prayed for dismissal of the appeals.

19. We have considered the rival submissions addressed before this Court and

with able assistance of learned counsel have also perused the relevant referred

record of the case.

20. Since there is no eye witness to the occurrence, the prosecution sought to

establish its case on the basis of circumstantial evidence. The circumstantial

evidence is in the following shape:

(i) Disclosure statements Ex.PAB, Ex.PAC, Ex.PAD and
Ex.PAH of Balbir Singh leading to recovery of cycle,
kirpan, burnt clothes and blood stained clothes.

(ii) Disclosure statement Ex.PAJ of Guru Singh leading to
recovery of blood stained shirts.

(iii) Foot print moulds lifted from the street abutting the

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house of the deceased shown at point E, F, G H in the
site plan Ex.PW-21/E.

21. Before proceeding to evaluate the above referred circumstantial evidence, it is

apposite to refer to the medical evidence led by the prosecution in the shape of

post mortem examination reports. The prosecution has examined PW-1 Dr.

Amarjit Singh who had conducted post mortem examination on the dead

bodies of Jaswinder Kaur and of her three minor children namely Kamalpreet

Kaur, Simranjit Singh and Antar. PW-1 Dr. Amarjit Singh, while proving the

post mortem examination report Ex.PB in respect of Jaswinder Kaur described

the injuries found on the dead body of Jaswinder Kaur as follows:

“1 12 x 3.5 cm incised wound with gaping in center (on apposition
12 x l.5 cm) was present on right side of the neck oblisuely
placed at and below ear lobule the lower end of which was
missing, margins were clean cut and sharped, infiltration of
blood was present. The injury was muscle deep.

2 13 x 3.5 cm incised chop wound with deep gapping in center was
present on left side of root of neck and front of upper chest
extending from suprasternal notch to 10 cm below ear lobule
margins were clean cut and sharp underlying muscles vessels and
nerves were showing and through cut infiltration of blood was
present.

3 8 x 2 cm incised wound was present on left side of face 1.5 cm
below ear lobule margins were clean cut and infiltration of blood
was present.

4 4 x l cm pale lacerated wound with no infiltration of blood was
present on the side of chin, 2 cm below the injury No.3 margins
were irregular.

5 7.5 x l cm pale lacerated wound was present on left side of

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forehead touching anterior hairline and left eye brow, no
infiltration blood was present.

6. 5 x l.5 cm incised wound was horizontally placed on outer aspect
of left upper arm, 9 cm below tip of shoulder margins were clean
cut infiltration of blood was present, underlying bone was
fractured.

7 Reddish brown abrasion with length and breadth varing from 10
x 2 cm was present on front of left upper chest and shoulder.

8 9 x l cm incised wound was present on palmer aspect of right
hand involving middle phalanx of index, proximal phalanx of
middle finger and ring finger with middle phalanx of middle
finger margins were clean cut, infiltration of blood was present.

9 9 x 2 cm incised wound was present on back of left shoulder
with tailing of the wound of size, 8 x 0.2 cm running towards
midline of spine margins were clean cut infiltration of blood was
present.

10 10 x 2.5 cm incised wound was present on left side of head 4 cm
above and back of ear pinna margins were clean cut beveled with
fracture of underlying parietal bone. Extra cranial and extradural
hemorrhage was present under injury no.10, infiltration was
present."

PW-1 opined the cause of death of Jaswinder Kaur to be haemorrhage and

shock as a result of multiple injuries which were sufficient to cause death in

ordinary course of nature.

22. He also conducted the post mortem examination on the dead body of Antar d/o

Veer Singh r/o village Bhagra and found following injuries:

"1. 15.4 cm (on apposition15.5 x 2 cm) incised wound with beveled

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appearance at lower and exposed tissue at upper end was present
on left side of back of the head and neck, margins found clean cut
and sharp infiltration of blood into tissue was present, cortex of
bone under this injury of size 2.8 x 2.5 cm was found chipped off
with intact bone at lower part underlying bone was showing
depressed fracture of parieto-occipital bone. Extra cranial
infiltration was present, extradural and subdural hemorrhage was
present under the injury, about 50 cc of fluid and clotted blood
was present, at the base of brain. Brain matter was oedematous.

2. 11 x 0.3 cm reddish brown abrasion was present on the left side
of face and neck extending to back of neck 2 cm below ear
lobule.

3. 2.8 x 0.8 cm pale coloured lacerated wound with no infiltration of
blood was present on right side of forehead above eyebrow
margins found irregular and crushed."

PW-1 opined the cause of death of Antar to be compression of brain as a result
of injury No.1 which was sufficient to cause death in ordinary course of
nature.

23. PW-1 also conducted the post mortem on the dead body of Simranjit Singh
son of Veer Singh r/o village Bhagra and found following injuries:

"1 10 x 3 cm chopped and incised wound with deep gapping in
center spindle shape was present on front of neck at and above the
level of thyroid, margins of the wound were clear cut, sharp and
inverted, infiltration of blood was present into tissue underlying
muscles vessels nerves and trachea was found cut through and
through. Trachea, both bronchia were found full of fluid, blood
and froth, thyroid was fractured, infiltration of blood was present.

2 7 x 2 cm incised wound with exposed tissue at upper part was
present on front and both sides of chin, margins were clean cut

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and sharp, infiltration of blood was present, underlying bone was
found chipped off and intact at lower end.

3 6 x 2 cm incised wound with beveled appearance at lower end and
exposed tissue at upper end was present on left side of skull
behind ear at styloid and parietal region. On dissection of skull,
underlying styloid was found fracture, extradural and subdural
hemorrhage was present under the injury.

4 3.5 x 3 cm pale abrasion with in filtration of blood was present on
right side of forehead, 3 cm above eye brows.

5 6 x 3 cm pale lacerated wound with no infiltration of blood was
present on the back and inner aspect of right forearm at its lower
1/3rd.

6 4 x 2 cm pale coloured lacerated wound was present on the back
of right hand and wrist. No infiltration of blood was present.

7 3.5 x 2 cm pale lacerated wound with no infiltration of blood was
present on front of right knee at upper border of patella."

PW-1 opined the cause of death of Simranjit Singh to be severance of neck

structures leading to shock which was sufficient to cause death in ordinary

course of nature.

24. PW-1 also conducted the post mortem on the dead body of Kamalpreet Kaur

d/o Veer Singh r/o village Bhagra and found following injuries:

"1 11 x 25 cm (on apposition 11.5 x 2 cm) incised wound was
present on left side of face involving ear pinna and left side of
head at styloid region, margins were clean cut sharp
infiltration was present.

2 10 x 3 cm incised wound was present on the left side of head
at parietal region 7.5 cm above ear pinna, margins were clear
cut sharp, infiltration of blood was present. On dissection of

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skull for injury no.l and 2, extradural and subdural
hemorrhage was present, left parietal bone was found
fractured extending to middle cranial fossa on left side about
100 cc of fluid and clotted blood was present at the base of
skull, brain matter was oedematous.

3 3.5 x l cm incised wound was present on left side of upper
neck behind ear pinna, margins were clean cut, sharp,
inverted with infiltration of blood and muscle deep.

4 6 x l cm incised wound was present on left side of upper neck
just below injury no.3, margins were clean cut, sharp,
inverted with infiltration of blood and muscle deep.

5 Multlple reddish brown abrasions 4 in number size varing
from 4 x 3 cm to l x 0.5 cm was present on both sides of
forehead.

6 7 x 3 cm reddish brown grazed abrasions with lacerated
wounds of sizes 3.5 x l.5 cm in its anterior part was present
on right side of face and ear pinna, infiltration of blood was
present.

7 4.5 cm x 2 cm pale abrasion with no infiltration of blood was
present below chin on its right side.

8 3 x 2 cm pale abrasion with no infiltration of blood was
present on right side of neck, 3 cm below ear lobule.

9 Multiple pale and grazed abrasions 4 in numbers size varing
from 9 x 2.5 cm to 4 x 2 cm was present on outer aspect of
right upper arm, throughout its length.

10 3.5 x 2 cm pale lacerated wound with no infiltration of blood
was present on back of right wrist.

11 18 x 5 cm pale abrasion with no infiltration of blood was
present on inner aspect of left elbow, upper armed forearm."

PW-1 opined the cause of death of Kamalpreet Kaur to be haemorrhage and

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shock with compression of brain which was sufficient to cause death in

ordinary course of nature.

25. PW-1 was cross examined on behalf of the accused but nothing substantial

could be elicited during his cross examination so as to doubt veracity of his

statement or his opinion regarding the cause of death. In any case, the cause

of death is not seriously disputed. As such, findings of the trial court to the

effect that it is a case of homicidal death of Jaswinder Kaur along with her

three minor children namely Kamalpreet Kaur aged 9 years, Simranjit Singh

aged 7 years and Antar aged 1 ½ years are hereby affirmed.

DISCLOSURE STATEMENTS :

26. Now coming to the disclosure statements made by the accused, it is the

case of prosecution that Balbir Singh had been arrested on 11.10.2006 and

during his interrogation he suffered four disclosure statements. The gist of

the said disclosure statements made by Balbir Singh and the recoveries

effected in pursuance thereof are as follows :

Disclosure statements of Balbir Singh :

(i) Balbir Singh made disclosure statement Ex.PAB on 14.10.2006 to
the effect that after committing murder of his sister-in-law Jaswinder
Kaur and her three children, their dead bodies had been taken by him
and Guru Bhaiya on a cycle from the house of Jaswinder Kaur to the
canal bridge for throwing the same and that the cycle had been
concealed by him in the sugarcane fields of Jagir Singh and that he
could get the same recovered.

Pursuant to aforesaid disclosure statement, accused Balbir Singh led
the police party to the disclosed place and got the bicycle recovered,
which was taken into possession vide recovery memo. Ex.PAG.

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(ii) Accused Balbir Singh is stated to have made another disclosure

statement Ex.PAC regarding his having concealed a 'kirpan' (sword)
used for committing the crime in a room where 'turi' (chaff) had
been stored in the 'haveli'.

Pursuant to the said disclosure statement, Balbir Singh led the police
party to the disclosed place and got the kirpan recovered which was
taken into possession vide recovery memo Ex.PAF. The said kirpan
was having a 27" long blade and 4" long handle.

(iii) Another disclosure statement Ex.PAD was made by Balbir Singh on
the same day i.e. on 14.10.2006 to the effect that he had burnt the
clothes which he was wearing at that time in his 'haveli'.

Pursuant to the said statement, the accused led the police party to the
disclosed place and got recovered some ashes of the burnt clothes
which were taken into possession vide recovery memo Ex.PAH.

(iv) Accused Balbir Singh made yet another disclosure statement
Ex.PAH on 15.10.2006 to the effect that after committing the murder
of Jaswinder Kaur and her children, he had concealed his blood
stained clothes in the bushes on the bank of Shah Nehar.

Pursuant to said statement, accused Balbir Singh led the police party
to the disclosed place and got the blood stained shirt recovered
which was taken into possession vide recovery memo Ex.PAK.

27. It is also the case of the prosecution that accused Guru Singh had also suffered

a disclosure statement Ex.PAJ on 14.10.2006. The gist of the said disclosure

statement made by Guru Singh and the recovery effected in pursuance thereof

is as follows :

Disclosure statements of Guru Singh :

(i) Guru Singh made disclosure statement Ex.PAJ on 14.10.2006 to the
effect that after committing murder of Jaswinder Kaur and her children

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and throwing their dead bodies in the canal, he had concealed his blood
stained clothes on the bank of Shah Nehar.

Pursuant to the aforesaid disclosure statement, accused Guru Singh led
the police party to the disclosed place and got the blood stained shirt
recovered which was taken into possession vide recovery memo
Ex.PAL.

28. All the aforesaid disclosure statements and recovery memos are signed by the

Investigating Officer SHO, Ravinder Singh and are attested by the witnesses

ASI Baldev Singh and ASI Avtar Singh. Though, learned counsel for the

accused attempted to assail the aforesaid documents on the ground that neither

the disclosure statements nor the recoveries were made in the presence of any

independent witness, but this Court is unable to accept the aforesaid

contention as there is no mandate of law that under all circumstances, such

documents should be prepared in the presence of an independent witness only.

The prosecution has examined the Investigating Officer PW-21 Inspector

Ravinder Singh as well as the attesting witness PW-11 ASI Baldev Singh who

have both specifically stated about the accused having made the disclosure

statements in their presence and having got the recoveries effected thereof.

Both the aforesaid official witnesses had recorded the statements etc. of the

accused in discharge of their official duties and they had no axe to grind

against the accused so as to depose falsely. In these circumstances, this Court

does not find any reason to doubt that the accused has made the aforesaid

disclosure statements and pursuant to the same had got the recoveries effected.

29. Pritam Kaur accused is also stated to have made a disclosure statement Ex.PS

wherein she deposed that deceased Jaswinder Kaur had strained relations with

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her husband Veer Singh and also with mother, sisters and brothers of Veer

Singh and she had been granted maintenance out of the salary of Veer Singh

and was residing separately at Village Bhagran. She stated therein that on the

night of 7.8.2006 after committing murder of Jaswinder Kaur and her three

children and after throwing the dead bodies in the canal her brothers Daljodh

Singh and Balbir Singh came to her house and went back the next day.

However, no recovery of any incriminating piece of evidence was ever got

effected in pursuance to the aforesaid statement and as such the said disclosure

statement of Pritam Kaur would carry no value and is of no use to the

prosecution.

FOOTPRINTS MOULDS :

30. It is the case of prosecution that on 08.10.2006 i.e. the day the FIR was

lodged, the police party headed by PW-21 Inspector Ravinder Singh went to

the residence of Jaswinder Kaur where the Investigating Officer also called the

finger print expert i.e. PW-12 Inspector Gurdeep Singh who lifted foot print

moulds from outside the main gate of the house of Jaswinder Kaur. A perusal

of the site plan (Ex.PW-21/E) shows that the foot prints moulds were lifted

from the points shown in the site plan as point E,F,G and H which are in fact

located on street abutting the house of the deceased. PW-12 Inspector Gurdeep

Singh during his cross examination has also specifically stated as follows:

"..... I took the moulds from outside the main gate of

the house but did not take from inside. The place

from where I took the mould is a thoroughfare....."

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31. The aforesaid cross-examination shows that the place from where the foot

prints were lifted, was a thoroughfare. In fact ASI Baldev Singh, during his

cross-examination has stated that when the police party reached village

Bhagran, it was night time and that about '50-60-70' persons had gathered at

the house of Jaswinder Kaur. If this be so, it remains unexplained as to how

and why the police lifted just three foot prints moulds from the street. It is not

the case of the prosecution that the foot prints moulds were lifted from inside

the room or inside the compound of the house. Since, the place from where

the foot prints moulds were lifted, was a thoroughfare and a large number of

persons had already gathered there, then certainly the prosecution has a lot to

explain as to why only three foot prints moulds were lifted.

32. From perusal of the statement of PW-11 ASI Baldev Singh, it transpires that it

was at about 6 PM on 8.10.2006 that the recovered dead bodies were

identified upon arrival of Jagir Singh complainant and thereafter the SHO

recorded the FIR at 7 PM and then inquest proceedings were conducted and

the dead bodies were handed over for post mortem. He has stated that about 2

hours were consumed in the said process at Civil Hospital, Mukerian and

thereafter they proceeded to village Bhagran. He further deposed that it was

about 9 PM when they reached at village Bhagran and after seeing the police,

in the house of Jaswinder Kaur, several persons had come there who were

numbering about 50-70. He further deposed that when they were inspecting

the spot, several respectables of the village were inside the house and

remaining were standing outside the house. He further stated that all the

members of in-laws' family of Jaswinder Kaur were standing outside the room

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as the room was of a small size and only the police officials, complainant and

respectables were there inside the room. He has further stated that the floor of

the room was a kutcha one.

33. PW-12 during his cross-examination did state that though several people were

near the place of occurrence but the place of occurrence was fully preserved

by the police. He stated that the prints were not preserved by covering them

with anything but were protected by using bricks. He stated that he does not

remember as to how many moulds were taken by him. He further stated that

he had seen only the footprints of naked foot and did not see any prints of

shoe, chappal or any footwear.

34. From the statement of PW-12, it is very clear that several persons had gathered

in the house of the deceased. Even the in-laws' family i.e. the accused were

there at that time. The footprint moulds were lifted from the street outside the

house which is a thoroughfare. It is rather strange that the witness stated that

he had seen only the footprints of naked foot and did not see any prints of

shoe, chappal or any footwear. Nowadays, even in villages, people don't move

about in streets bare-footed. In any case, the existence of foot prints of the

accused in the street would be quite natural and normal as the accused Balbir

Singh and Daljodh Singh are also stated to be residing in the same house

though, Jaswinder Kaur had been given a separate room. In any case the

evidence of footprints in itself is a weak type of evidence. Our High Court in

Om Parkash vs. State of Haryana 1993(1) RCR (Cri) 328 (DB) held that

evidence of footprints is not as conclusive in nature as the science of finger

prints and is a weak evidence.

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35. In view of the aforesaid discussion, especially bearing in mind that the place

from where the foot prints were lifted is a thoroughfare and also that the

accused Balbir Singh and Daljodh Singh are residing in the same house, the

evidence of comparison of the foot prints in the shape of report of FSL (Ex.P-

2/12) would not advance the case of prosecution.

36. Having held that the report of FSL regarding foot prints moulds cannot be

relied upon by the prosecution, the case of prosecution has to be evaluated in

light of the disclosure statements and other evidence pertaining to motive and

conspiracy.

37. There is hardly any evidence against the following six accused, much less

convincing evidence :

      (i) Bhajan Kaur         ( sister of husband )

(ii) Pritam Kaur ( sister of husband )

(iii) Gurdip Kaur ( sister of husband )

(iv) Harminder Singh ( husband of husband's sister Pritam Kaur )

(v) Lakhwinder Singh ( husband of husband's sister Gurdip Kaur )

(vi) Satwant Kaur @ Sukhwant Kaur (wife of husband's brother Balbir Singh)

38. Out of the aforesaid six accused, it is only Pritam Kaur who had suffered a

disclosure statement Ex.PS wherein she stated that deceased Jaswinder Kaur

had strained relations with her husband Veer Singh and his family and had

been granted maintenance out of the salary of Veer Singh. She stated therein

that on the night of 7.8.2006 after committing murder of Jaswinder Kaur and

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her three children and after throwing the dead bodies in the canal my brothers

Daljot Singh and Balbir Singh came to her house and the next day they went

back to their house. However, since no recovery was effected in pursuance of

the aforesaid disclosure statement, therefore no reliance can be placed upon

the same as the same would be hit by Section 25 of the Indian Evidence Act

being in the nature of confessional statement recorded by the police. The

remaining five accused namely Bhajan Kaur, Gurdip Kaur, Harminder Singh,

Lakhwinder Singh and Satwant Kaur @ Sukhwant Kaur, in any case, have not

made any disclosure statements. As such there is absolutely lack of

circumstantial evidence against them to connect them with the occurrence and

they cannot be held guilty solely on the basis of statement of complainant Jagir

Singh and his son Hardeep Singh (PW-14) who in any case have not witnessed

the occurrence. The aforesaid six accused are entitled to be acquitted.

39. As regards the case of Guru Singh we find that he is not a member of the

family of the in-laws of the deceased Jaswinder Kaur. Though it is the case of

prosecution that he had suffered a disclosure statement Ex.PAJ on 14.10.2010

to the effect that he had concealed his blood stained clothes on the bank of

Shah Nehar (canal) and pursuant to the said statement had got his blood

stained shirt recovered which was taken into possession vide recovery memo

Ex.PAL but there are some chinks in the case of prosecution which render his

involvement in the occurrence doubtful. First of all Guru Singh is not named

in the FIR. He is not even a member of inlaws' family of deceased. Though,

he was arrested on 11.10.2006 as is evident from his arrest memo Ex.PAA/1,

but a perusal of the entire file does not show as to on what basis he was

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arrested as neither he was named in FIR nor did the police have anything

against him till 14.10.2006 when Balbir Singh, in his disclosure statement, had

named Guru Singh as an accomplice for the first time. Guru Singh cannot even

be attributed any motive being not a family member of the remaining accused.

It is not even the case that he was a contract killer having been paid for

committing the offence. His arrest on 11.10.2006 without there being any

evidence and without his being named in the FIR would certainly entitle him

the benefit of doubt. He is, thus, also held entitled to acquittal.

40. Balbir Singh, upon his interrogation made four different disclosure statements

Ex.PAB, Ex.PAC, Ex.PAD and Ex.PAH and in pursuance thereof he led the

police party to the disclosed places and got a cycle, a kirpan, ashes and blood

stained shirt recovered which were taken into possession vide recovery memos

Ex.PAG, Ex.PAF, Ex.PAH and Ex.PAK, respectively. As per FSL reports,

Ex. PZ/2 regarding cycle carrier, Ex. PZ/3 regarding kirpan and Ex. PZ/9

regarding shirt, the said articles were found to be stained with human blood.

41. Though learned counsel for the accused raised an argument that since the

blood group matching was not got done, therefore mere presence of human

blood on these articles carries no value, but it needs to be borne in mind that

the dead bodies had been thrown in canal in order to dispose them off and the

same were recovered much after the death. Hon'ble the Supreme Court in

judgement reported as (2013)14 SCC 266 R. Shaji vs. State of Kerala held

that sometimes it is possible either because of disintegration of serum or due

to the fact that the stain is insufficient in itself, or due to haematological

changes and plasmatic coagulation, that a serologist may fail to detect the

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origin of the blood in question but even in such a situation unless the doubt is

of a reasonable dimension no benefit can be claimed by the accused in this

regard. It was further held therein that once the recovery is made in pursuance

to disclosure statement made by the accused, the matching or non-matching of

blood group loses significance.

42. As per post-mortem reports the time that elapsed between death and post-

mortem was between 24-48 hours. In these circumstances the blood group

matching loses significance especially in light of ratio of R.Shaji's case

(supra).

43. In John Pandian v. State represented by Inspector of Police, Tamil Nadu,

(2010) 14 SCC 129, Hon'ble the Supreme Court held as follows :

"....The discovery appears to be credible. It has been
accepted by both the courts below and we find no reason to
discard it. This is apart from the fact that this weapon was
sent to the forensic science laboratory (FSL) and it has been
found stained with human blood. Though the blood group
could not be ascertained, as the results were inconclusive,
the accused had to give some explanation as to how the
human blood came on this weapon. He gave none. This
discovery would very positively further the prosecution
case."

44. Hon'ble Supreme Court in Pawan Kumar v. State of U.P., (2015) 7 SCC 148,

while discussing the scope of admissibility of information furnished by

accused in terms of section 27 in context of section 25 of Evidence Act held as

follows:

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" It is settled principle of law that statements made by an accused
before a police official which amount to confession is barred
under Section 25 of the Evidence Act. This prohibition is,
however, lifted to some extent by Section 27 ...........

In the light of Section 27 of the Evidence Act, whatever
information given by the accused in consequence of which a fact
is discovered only would be admissible in the evidence, whether
such information amounts to confession or not...........

...........Simply denying their role without proper explanation as
to the knowledge about those incriminating materials would
justify the presumption drawn by the courts below as to the
involvement of the accused in the crime. The confession given by
the accused is not the basis for the courts below to convict the
accused, but it is only a source of information to put the criminal
law into motion. Hence, the accused cannot take shelter under
Section 25 of the Evidence Act."

45. Thus, we do not find any reason to discard the factum of recovery of blood

stained cycle, 'kirpan', shirt at the instance of accused Balbir which is

incriminating piece of circumstantial evidence.

46. As regards accused Daljodh Singh who is another brother of Veer Singh, there

is no evidence in the shape of disclosure statement. However, both Balbir

Singh and Daljodh Singh are residing in the same house where deceased

Jaswinder Kaur was residing. So much so, accused Daljodh Singh even claims

that Jaswinder Kaur had started living with him as his wife. The relevant

extract from the statement of Daljodh Singh recorded under Section 313

Cr.P.C. is reproduced below:

"I am innocent and have falsely implicated in this case

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being brother of Veer Singh by the police at the instance
of Jagir Singh. Jaswinder Kaur started living as my wife
and in this regard I had sworn one affidavit on
10.12.2004. I never got recovered alleged things. I
never conspired to commit murder of Jaswinder Kaur or
children."

47. Though as per the above referred statement, Daljodh Singh himself admitted

that Jaswinder Kaur was residing with him as his wife but even if the aforesaid

statement is ignored still it is not in dispute that Daljodh Singh as well as his

brother Balbir Singh were residing in the same house in which Jaswinder Kaur

was given a separate room. As such when four murders had taken place in that

house by causing a large number of injuries with sharp edged weapon, the

deceased must have screamed out of pain and also in order to raise alarm. It

may here be mentioned that while Jaswinder Kaur was found to be having 10

injuries, Antar was found to be having 3 injuries, Simranjit Singh was found to

be having 7 injuries and Kamalpreet Kaur was found to be having 11 injuries.

It must have taken some time to cause such large number of injuries on the

person of four deceased and the deceased would not have suffered the injuries

in absolute silence, attracting no attention of the occupants of the same house.

Thus, Balbir Singh and Daljodh Singh being occupants of the same house

were expected to come out with some explanation regarding death of

Jaswinder Kaur and her three minor children.

48. In this context, reference may be made to provisions of section 106 of Indian

Evidence Act 1872, which is in the nature of an exception to general rule

enshrined in section 101 of Indian Evidence Act, which mandates that the

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burden of proof lies on the person who asserts existence of such fact. Section

106 in The Indian Evidence Act, 1872 is reproduced below for the sake of

ready reference:

106. Burden of proving fact especially within knowledge.-

When any fact is especially within the knowledge of any person,
the burden of proving that fact is upon him.

49. In a judgment reported as (2012) 1 SCC 10 Prithipal Singh v. State of Punjab,

the Hon'ble Apex Court has held that if a fact is especially in the knowledge of

any person, then burden of proving that fact is upon him and that it would be

impossible for the prosecution to prove certain facts particularly within the

knowledge of the accused. It was further held therein that Section 106 is not

intended to relieve the prosecution of its burden to prove the guilt of the

accused beyond reasonable doubt, but the section would apply to cases where

the prosecution has succeeded in proving facts from which a reasonable

inference can be drawn regarding existence of certain other facts, unless the

accused by virtue of his special knowledge regarding such facts, offers some

explanation which might drive the court to draw a different inference. Thus it

was held that section 106 of the Evidence Act is designed to meet certain

exceptional cases, in which, it would be impossible for the prosecution to

establish certain facts which are particularly within the knowledge of the

accused. To similar effect is ratio of judgment reported as (2016) 12 SCC 665

Harijan Bhala Teja vs. State of Gujarat.

50. As far as accused Veer Singh husband of Jaswinder Kaur is concerned, it is

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established on record that on the day of occurrence he was not in the village

and in fact was posted on India-Pakistan Border being in Army. PW-24

Lakhwinder Singh, Subedar 13 Sikh Regiment who had produced the record

of the Army Authorities produced the service record of Veer Singh and

specifically deposed that as per record Veer Singh was present in his unit on

7.10.2006 and 8.10.2006. The certificate Ex.DY produced by the said witness

is reproduced below :

"CERTIFICATE

1. It is certified that Number 3392148X Havildar Vir Singh

of 13th Battalion The Sikh Regiment was present in the

Battalion on 08 October 2006 and was performing the

duties along line of control (LOC) on 08 October 2006,

the day, his wife alongwith three children were found

murdered.

2. It is further certified that the above named individual was

not granted any type of leave after re-joining the unit from

leave on 27 September 2006 till the date he was produced

in the Honourable court of Mrs. Mandeep Kaur, PCS,

JMIC, Dasuya, on 09 November 2006, when he was

placed in police custody.

              Station: c/o 56 APO                    (A N Walkade)
Dated: 18 May 2007 Colonel
Commanding Officer
13 SIKH"

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51. A perusal of the aforesaid certificate would shows that accused Veer Singh

had reached to his unit on 27.9.2006 after availing leave. It is the case of the

prosecution that PW-14 Hardeep Singh brother of deceased had visited his

sister in village Bhagran on 20.9.2006 and while he was repairing the dish

installed on the roof of the house, he overheard Veer Singh's brothers, sisters,

sisters-in-law and mother-in-law talking that after retirement of Veer Singh

Jaswinder Kaur will take away the entire retiral benefits as she is already

getting half of his salary as maintenance and asked him to kill his wife and his

children. Though the learned counsel for the accused has attempted to assail

the said statement by referring to his statement recorded under Section 161

Cr.P.C. wherein the date of visit to his sister's house is mentioned as 24 th but in

our opinion the said discrepancy can be attributed to the fact that his statement

was recorded after more than 3 years of the occurrence. It is certainly not

possible for a human being to remember all the dates with accuracy though,

the incidents may be recollected.

52. Apart from the aforesaid motive of there being apprehension of the accused

that deceased would lay claim on all retiral benefits, there is ample evidence

on record to suggest that the relations between Jaswinder Kaur and her

husband Veer Singh were far from being cordial. The very fact that the Army

authorities had decided to give maintenance to Jaswinder Kaur and her

children out of the salary of Veer Singh would show that all was not well

between Jaswinder Kaur and her husband Veer Singh. In fact as per Veer

Singh, his wife had started residing with his real brother Daljodh Singh. PW-

24 Lakhwinder Singh had produced the relevant record from the Army

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authorities indicating that Jaswinder Kaur was getting maintenance out of the

salary of Veer Singh. Further Veer Singh had filed a petition (Ex.PW-19/A)

against his wife Jaswinder Kaur seeking divorce. Jaswinder Kaur had also

filed a petition under Section 125 Cr.P.C. (Ex.PW-23/A) in the Court of JMIC

Dasuya. The aforesaid documentary evidence shows that all was not well

between husband and wife. So much so the husband in his divorce petition

had even raised allegations to the effect that his wife was leading an

adulterous life. In fact, the husband even levelled allegations to the effect that

one of the three children had not been born out of his wedlock. In these

circumstances Veer Singh would certainly have a motive to eliminate his wife

and would have sought help from his brothers who would also have interest to

safeguard the property of the family because Jaswinder Kaur and her children

would have legitimate claim in the property of Veer Singh.

53. During the course of arguments the learned counsel for Daljodh Singh

submitted that Daljodh Singh cannot have any motive to kill Jaswinder Kaur

and it cannot be said that he would have joined hands with Veer Singh as

Daljodh Singh was in fact residing with Jaswinder Kaur and the said fact is

virtually admitted by Veer Singh in his divorce petition. The learned counsel

has further submitted that deceased Jaswinder Kaur herself had furnished an

affidavit to the effect that she was residing with Daljodh Singh as his wife.

54. We have considered the aforesaid submissions. The accused in order to

establish his aforesaid plea examined DW-1 Bawa Singh, Naib Tehsildar and

DW-2 Deepak Joshi, Stamp Vendor to prove purchase of the stamp paper and

attestation of the affidavit. However, PW-15 Kailash Kaur, Sarpanch, who

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had identified the deponents, stated that Veer Singh had come to her

personally with the affidavits to get her signatures and she had appended her

signatures. She further deposed that it was after a month of execution of the

affidavit that she came to know about the contents of the affidavit which were

different than what was told to her by Veer Singh. In any case, even if the

statement of PW-15 Kailash Kaur is overlooked and contention of the learned

counsel is accepted that Daljodh was living with Jaswinder Kaur deceased as

her husband, still Daljodh Singh being husband of Jaswinder Kaur and living

with her would have much to explain regarding death of Jaswinder Kaur and

her children in her house. He was not expected to remain silent and not inform

the police regarding murder of his wife Jaswinder Kaur and her children or at

least even regarding the fact that they were missing from the house. The

aforesaid facts clearly establish that all the three brothers namely Veer Singh,

Balbir Singh and Daljodh Singh had joined hands and had conspired together

to eliminate Jaswinder kaur and her three children. It is well settled that direct

evidence of conspiracy is rarely available and the same has to be gathered

from the circumstances. Hon'ble Supreme Court in Gulam Sarbar Vs. State of

Bihar 2014 (3) SCC 401 held as follows:

"Criminal conspiracy is generally hatched in secrecy
thus direct evidence is difficult to obtain or access. The
Offence can be proved by adducing circumstantial
evidence or by necessary implication."

55. In view of our aforesaid discussions and in the light of the ratio of judgments

referred to above it is held that the evidence in the shape of disclosure

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statements of accused Balbir Singh leading to recovery of blood stained

articles including 'kirpan', the evidence of conspiracy and motive, coupled

with absolute lack of explanation regarding death of Jaswinder Kaur and her

children in her room especially when accused Balbir and Daljodh Singh are

residing in same house and infact Daljodh claims to be living as her husband,

form a complete chain of evidence sufficient to establish that the accused

Balbir Singh and Daljodh Singh in conspiracy with Veer Singh had killed

Jaswinder Kaur and her three children.

56. Consequently, the conviction of Balbir Singh and Daljodh Singh under

Section 302 IPC is upheld. The conviction of Veer Singh, Balbir Singh and

Daljodh Singh for offence under Section 120-B read with Section 302 IPC is

also upheld. The sentences awarded to the said accused by the trial Court for

both the aforesaid offences also do not call for any interference and are

affirmed. Thus, the appeals on behalf of accused Veer Singh, Balbir Singh and

Daljodh Singh are hereby dismissed.

57. However, as discussed already above, there is absolute lack of convincing

evidence to connect the accused Bhajan Kaur @ Harbhajan Kaur, Satwant

Kaur @ Sukhwant Kaur, Lakhwinder Singh, Gurdip Kaur, Harminder Singh,

Pritam Kaur and Guru Singh with the crime. Their conviction cannot sustain

and accordingly the appeals on their behalf are accepted. Their conviction is

accordingly set aside and they are acquitted of all the charges framed against

them.

58. Before parting with the judgment, we wish to observe that the trial Court has

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rather been very casual in adjourning the matter. Adjournments had been

given on the asking for reasons which can hardly be said to be justified

especially at the stage of cross-examination of witnesses. The below

mentioned dates of examination of some of the witnesses would be indicative

of malady of adjournments:

Witness Examination-in-chief Cross-examination

PW-1 Dr. Amarjit Singh 16.11.2007 25.02.2008
PW-11 ASI Baldev Singh 04.03.2009 04.03.2009,
10.01.2011,
23.09.2011
PW-12 Inspector Gurdeep 21.04.2009 02.07.2009
Singh
PW-13 Jagir Singh 01.09.2009 17.09.2009,
23.10.2009
PW-14 Hardeep Singh 01.09.2009 02.12.2009
PW-15 Kailash Kaur 16.03.2010 16.03.2010,
07.06.2010
PW-21 Inspector Ravinder 07.11.2011 01.02.2012
Singh

59. The cross-examination of witnesses have been recorded after a gap ranging

from 2 months to more than 2 ½ years. The cross-examination had been

deferred either without any reason or for reasons which were not convincing

enough to justify deferment. In the present case, while examination-in-chief

of PW-11 ASI Baldev Singh was recorded on 4.3.2009 and was briefly cross-

examined on the same day, the matter was adjourned to 30.3.2009 for

remaining cross-examination. However, on 30.3.2009 upon a request made by

the defence counsel on the ground that lawyers are abstaining from work, the

matter was adjourned to 21.4.2009. On 21.4.2009, the witness was not

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present. On the 12.5.2009 as well as on 1.6.2009, no PW was present. The

witnesses were again not present on the next two dates. On 13.8.2009 PW

Jagir Singh was present but was not examined in view of an objection raised

by the defence counsel against piecemeal recording of evidence. On 1.9.2009

PW Jagir Singh and Hardeep Singh were present and their examination-in-

chief was recorded but upon request made by defence counsel their cross-

examination was deferred. Again on the next date, after recording part cross-

examination of PW Jagir Singh, the matter was adjourned upon request made

by defence counsel. On 8.10.2009 no PW was present. On 23.10.2009 PW-13

Jagir Singh was cross-examined but cross-examination of PW Hardeep Singh

was deferred upon a request made by counsel Shri Sarbjit Singh on the ground

that he has to go to Jalandhar in order to conduct a trial there.

60. Even on the next date i.e. 10.11.2009 though PW Hardeep Singh was present

but his defence counsel Shri B.S. Riar sought adjournment on the ground that

he has to conduct trial in some other Court. On 24.9.2010 the matter was

adjourned as defence counsel was out of country. ASI Baldev Singh did

appear on 6.1.2011 but again upon request of defence counsel the matter was

adjourned. On next date i.e on 10.1.2011, part of his cross-examination was

recorded but upon request of defence counsel further cross-examination was

again deferred. It was ultimately on 23.9.2011 that cross-examination of ASI

Baldev Singh was concluded. Similarly, examination-in-chief of PW-21

Inspector Ravinder Singh was recorded on 7.11.2011 but cross examination

was deferred on request made on behalf of the accused. Thereafter, the matter

was adjourned several times and ultimately it was on 1.2.2012 that his cross-

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examination was recorded.

61. The scheme of the Code (Cr.P.C.) itself mandates day-to-day recording of

evidence in criminal trials. Section 309 Cr.PC. specifically providing for the

same reads as under :-

"309. Power to postpone or adjourn proceedings. -

(1) In every inquiry or trial the proceedings shall be continued from day-

to-day until all the witnesses in attendance have been examined, unless
the Court finds the adjournment of the same beyond the following day
to be necessary for reasons to be recorded:
Provided that when the inquiry or trial relates to an offence under
section 376, section 376A, section 376B, section 376C or section
376D of the Indian Penal Code, the inquiry or trial shall, as far as
possible be completed within a period of two months from the date of
filing of the charge sheet.

(2) If the Court, after taking cognizance of an offence, or commencement
of trial, finds it necessary or advisable to postpone the commencement
of, or adjourn, any inquiry or trial, it may, from time to time, for
reasons to be recorded, postpone or adjourn the same on such terms as
it thinks fit, for such time as it considers reasonable, and may by a
warrant remand the accused if in custody:

Provided that no Magistrate shall remand an accused person to custody
under this section for a term exceeding fifteen days at a time:
Provided further that when witnesses are in attendance, no
adjournment or postponement shall be granted, without examining
them, except for special reasons to be recorded in writing:
Provided also that no adjournment shall be granted for the purpose
only of enabling the accused person to show cause against the sentence
proposed to be imposed on him.

Provided also that -

a) no adjournment shall be granted at the request of a party, except where
the circumstances are beyond the control of that party;

b) the fact that the pleader of a party is engaged in another Court, shall
not be a ground for adjournment;

c) where a witness is present in Court but a party or his pleader is not
present or the party or his pleader though present in Court, is not ready
to examine or cross-examine the witness, the Court may, if thinks fit,

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record the statement of the witness and pass such orders as it thinks fit
dispensing with the examination-in-chief or cross-examination of the
witness, as the case may be.

Explanation 1.- If sufficient evidence has been obtained to raise a
suspicion that the accused may have committed an offence, and it
appears likely that further evidence may be obtained by a remand, this
is a reasonable cause for a remand.

Explanation 2.- The terms on which an adjournment or postponement
may be granted include, in appropriate cases, the payment of costs by
the prosecution or the accused."

62. Despite, specific provisions in the Code, it appears that the same are hardly

given any deference by the Trial Courts. The above stated position of

deferring of cross-examination in a routine manner indicates the casual

attitude of the Trial Court in the matter of adjournments. The time gap

between examination-in-chief and cross-examination affords opportunity to

accused to either win over the witnesses or to threaten and intimidate them

leading to miscarriage of justice.

63. Our High Court in Criminal Appeal No.D-796-DB of 2008 Rakesh Kumar v.

State of Punjab, decided on 6.11.2012, while noticing the casual manner in

which adjournments have been granted in a trial had ordered for issuance of

instructions to all the judicial officers to bear in mind provisions of Section

309 Cr.P.C. while postponing or adjourning the hearing in criminal cases,

particularly when a material witness has been partly examined. A copy of the

aforesaid judgment was circulated amongst all the judicial officers in the

States of Punjab, Haryana and U.T. Chandigarh.

64. Hon'ble the Supreme Court in (2015) 3 SCC 220 Vinod Kumar vs. State of

Punjab decided on while noticing casual attitude as regards grant of

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adjournments observed as follows :-

"41 .........Adjournments are sought on the drop of a hat by the counsel,
even though the witness is present in court, contrary to all principles of
holding a trial. That apart, after the examination-in-chief of a witness is
over, adjournment is sought for cross-examination and the disquieting
feature is that the trial courts grant time. The law requires special
reasons to be recorded for grant of time but the same is not taken note
of. ..................The Court has a sacred duty to see that the trial is
conducted as per law. If adjournments are granted in this manner it
would tantamount to violation of the rule of law and eventually turn
such trials to a farce. .....................In fact, it is not at all appreciable
to call a witness for cross-examination after such a long span of time. It
is imperative if the examination-in-chief is over, the cross-examination
should be completed on the same day. If the examination of a witness
continues till late hours the trial can be adjourned to the next day for
cross-examination. It is inconceivable in law that the cross-examination
should be deferred for such a long time. It is anathema to the concept of
proper and fair trial. The duty of the court is to see that not only the
interest of the accused as per law is protected but also the societal and
collective interest is safeguarded. ..................Therefore, we think it
appropriate that the copies of the judgment be sent to the learned Chief
Justices of all the High Courts for circulating the same amongst the
learned Trial Judges with a command to follow the principles relating to
trial in a requisite manner and not to defer the cross-examination of a
witness at their pleasure or at the leisure of the defence counsel, for it
eventually makes the trial an apology for trial and compels the whole
society to suffer chicanery. ....."

65. Recently, in CRM-M-14984 of 2017 titled as Ajay Kumar vs. State of Punjab,

decided on 25.5.2017, this Court while deprecating the practice of deferment

of cross-examination on request of the defence counsel, directed issuance of

instructions to all the Judicial Officers that whenever cross-examination is

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deferred on request of the defence counsel the Presiding Officer would owe an

explanation for the same.

66. We hope that the provisions of Section 309 of Cr.P.C. as well as the mandate

of Hon'ble the Supreme Court shall be followed in letter and spirit by all the

judicial officers in the States of Punjab, Haryana and U.T. Chandigarh. A

copy of the judgment be circulated amongst all the Judicial Officers in the

States of Punjab, Haryana and U.T. Chandigarh.

      ( Rajesh Bindal )                                     ( Gurvinder Singh Gill )
Judge Judge

October 11, 2017
mohan

Whether speaking/reasoned Yes/No

Whether reportable Yes/No

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