Amrik Singh vs State Of Punjab on 20 November, 2017

CRR-2129-2016 (OM) 1

IN THE HIGH COURT OF PUNJAB AND HARYANA
AT CHANDIGARH

CRR-2129-2016 (OM)

Date of decision: 20.11.2017

Amrik Singh

…..Petitioner
versus

State of Punjab

……Respondent

CORAM: Hon’ble Mr.Justice Kuldip Singh

Present: Mr.Anupam Singla, Advocate for the petitioner
Ms.Monika Jalota, DAG Punjab

1. Whether Reporters of Local Newspapers may be allowed to see the
judgment ?
2. To be referred to the Reporters or not ?
3. Whether the judgment should be reported in the Digest?

Kuldip Singh, J.

Impugned in the present revision petition is the judgment dated

29.2.2016, passed by the learned Additional Sessions Judge, SAS Nagar,

Mohali, affirming the judgment of conviction and order of sentence dated

12.2.2013, passed by the learned Sub Divisional Judicial Magistrate,

Kharar, vide which the present petitioner was convicted under Section 420

read with Section 120B IPC and sentenced to undergo Rigorous

Imprisonment for one year and fine of Rs.1000/-, in default of payment of

fine, to undergo further Rigorous Imprisonment for one month.

The case was registered on the complaint dated 11.12.2003/

17.11.2003 (Ex.PD) filed by Dharam Pal, Banarasi Lal and Motia Rani, all

residents of village Mullanpur Garibdass, District Ropar, addressed to the

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Chief Minister of Punjab, in which, it was stated that Amrik Singh, who

happens to be brother of then Senior Superintendent of Police, Muktsar, in

connivance with Bachan Kaur wife of late Gurdev Singh, resident of

Mullanpur Garibdass, Kharar, sold a plot at Mullanpur Garibdass to Dharam

Pal, Banarasi Lal, Rajesh Kumar and Motia Rani by showing the documents

that the plot was owned by Smt. Bachan Kaur and she has got no right to

sell the said plot. The said complainants agreed to purchase the part of the

plot from Amrik Singh, which was sub-divided in three parts. Amrik Singh

later on got executed the registered sale deeds on 21.8.2003 from Bachan

Kaur in favour of the complainants. Amrik Singh also gave an affidavit

dated 21.8.2003 that in case of any dispute, he will be responsible. The full

payment of the plot was made to Amrik Singh and Bachan Kaur. Later on,

the complainants came to know that neither Amrik Singh nor Bachan Kaur

was owner of the plot sold to the complainants and the plot was actually

owned by Dharam Singh, resident of Naya Nangal, who made a complaint

to DSP Kharar that his plot has been fraudulently sold by Amrik Singh and

Bachan Kaur. Complainants then contacted Amrik Singh and Bachan Kaur

to refund the money but they were threatened. Amrik Singh also filed false

application to DGP (Punjab), accusing the complainants of various crimes.

Complainants are now being harassed and threatened by SP (D) Sangrur and

other police officials of the district. CIA staff is also harassing the

complainants and they are being repeatedly called to the police station at

Sangrur. Therefore, necessary instructions be issued to the police to register

a case against Amrik Singh and Bachan Kaur.

On the basis of the said complaint, an inquiry was held and

thereafter recommendations dated 28.12.2004 (Annexure PW7/B) were

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made by Additional Director General of Police to SSP Ropar to register a

case. Accordingly, present FIR was registered under Sections 420 and 406

IPC and challan was presented against Amrik Singh as well as Bachan Kaur.

In support of its case, prosecution examined the complainant

Dharam Pal son of Chand Ram (PW1), Banarsi Lal complainant as PW2, SI

Bhagwant Singh as PW3, Motia Rani, complainant (also wrongly numbered

as PW3), HC Satwinder Singh as PW4, ASI Ram Kishan, retired SI as PW5,

Ramesh Lal as PW6, SI Joginder Pal as PW7. Thereafter, the prosecution

closed its evidence.

When examined under Section 313 Cr.P.C., Amrik Singh

pleaded that he is innocent and has been falsely implicated in this case.

Bachan Kaur also raised a similar plea. However, they did not lead any

evidence in defence.

After hearing the prosecution and the accused, the learned Sub

Divisional Judicial Magistrate, Kharar vide judgment of conviction and

order of sentence dated 12.2.2013, held that offence under Section 406 IPC

is not proved. However, offence under Section 420 IPC was held to be

proved against Bachan Kaur and offence under Section 420 read with

Section 120B IPC was held to be proved against Amrik Singh.

Accordingly, they were sentenced as discussed above. Appeal filed by

Amrik Singh was dismissed by the learned Additional Sessions Judge, SAS

Nagar, Mohali vide judgment dated 29.2.2016. Against the said judgment,

Amrik Singh has preferred the present revision petition.

Allegations are that Amrik Singh, who is stated to be a property

dealer, prevailed upon the complainants Dharam Pal, Banarasi Lal and

Motia Rani to purchase a plot belonging to Bachan Kaur. Accordingly,

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different sale deeds were executed on 21.8.2003. However, later on,

original owner Dharam Singh son of Munshi Singh made a complaint

claiming that he is the owner of the said plots. Therefore, the complainants

were forced to purchase the same plots from Dharam Singh son of Munshi

Singh again.

It is necessary to examine the sale deeds executed by Bachan

Kaur, in which, Amrik Singh is stated to be a mediator being the property

dealer. It is further alleged against Amrik Singh that he had executed an

affidavit (Ex.PW1/A) dated 21.8.2003 i.e. the date of the sale deed,

undertaking the responsibility in case of any defect in the title or dispute.

First sale deed (Ex.PW1/B) is by Bachan Kaur wife of Gurdev

Singh, resident of Mullanpur Garibdass in favour of Motia Rani, resident of

Mullanpur Garib Dass regarding plot measuring 38.88 square yards, which

abuts the road. It is recited that the plot is within Lal Lakir of the village

and Bachan Kaur, resident of Mullanpur owns the same. The sale deed was

witnessed by complainant Dharam Pal son of Chuhar Ram, resident of

Mullanpur Garibdass.

Second sale deed (Ex.PW2/A) is of plot measuring 82.22

square yards having 20 feet front abutting the road. Sale is in favour of

Banarsi Lal son of Munshi Ram and Rajesh Kumar son of Banarsi Lal

resident of Mullanpur Garib Dass. Date of the sale is same i.e. 21.8.2003.

The sale is witnessed by Kharaiti Lal son of Hari Raj, resident of Mullanpur

Garibdass as well as others.

Third sale deed (Ex.PW6/A) is regarding plot measuring 66.11

square yards by Bachan Kaur having 17 feet front towards road in favour of

Dharam Pal son of Chuhar Ram resident of Mullanpur Garib Dass. In all the

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sale deeds, it is recorded that the said plots are in the Lal Lakir of village

Mullanpur Garibdass.

It is apparent from the sale deeds that said three plots adjoin

each other and probably, one big plot has been divided into three parts. All

the sale deeds were executed on 21.8.2003. Sale consideration is recorded

to have been paid.

Now, the affidavit of Amrik Singh (Ex.PW1/A) who is stated to

be property dealer states that the plots have been sold which are within Lal

Lakir of the village. Possession has been delivered. Amrik Singh

undertook that in case of any defect in the title or any legal dispute raised by

anybody, Amrik Singh himself will be responsible for the same. Affidavit

was also given on the stamp paper on 21.8.2003. One is to see whether

through the said affidavit, Amrik Singh also incurred criminal liability. In

all the said sale deeds, one Gurdev Singh, Namberdar of the village

Mullanpur Garibdass is also a witness.

Now, it comes out that one Dharam Singh son of Munshi

Singh, resident of Ropar, claims the ownership of the said plot situated

within Lal Lakir. He appointed Kharaiti Lal son of Hari Ram, resident of

Village Mullapur as power of attorney vide deed dated 18.9.2003. On the

strength of the said power of attorney, said Dharam Singh son of Munshi

Singh through his attorney Kharaiti Lal sold one plot, dimensions of which

are mentioned in the sale deed, for Rs.one lakh in favour of Motia Rani on

22.9.2003 vide sale deed (Ex.PW1/C). It was witnessed by Dharam Pal son

of Chuhar Ram as well as Namberdar Balwant Singh. Similarly, said

Kharaiti Lal also sold a plot in favour of Banarsi Lal and Rajesh Kumar vide

sale deed (Ex.PW2/D) dated 22.9.2003. Through third sale deed, another

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plot was sold to Dharam Pal son of Chuhar Ram. All the said plots are

stated to be recorded within Lal Lakir of the village Mullanpur Garibdass.

In this way, it is clear that the complainants first purchased the plots from

Bachan Kaur vide sale deed dated 21.8.2003 and subsequently, purchased

the same from one Dharam Singh son of Munshi Singh, resident of Nangal,

District Ropar, through sale deeds dated 22.9.2003 i.e. a month later.

Now, this Court is to examine the nature of the area situated in

Lal Lakir. Regarding the area situated in the Lal Lakir, there is no record of

ownership and possession is treated to be best proof of title. In all the sale

deeds, Bachan Kaur claimed that she is the owner of the plots and in

possession thereof. The possession is also recorded to have been delivered

to the purchasers.

It also comes out that all the three purchasers, namely, Dharam

Pal son of Chuhar Ram, Banarasi Lal and Rajesh Kumar, Motia Rani are

also residents of village Mullanpur Garibdass and Bachan Kaur also belongs

to the same village. Therefore, the said purchasers had an opportunity to

see whether Bachan Kaur is in possession of the said plot and could sell the

same. Dharam Pal appearing as PW1 has stated that that Amrik Singh,

being the property dealer, had shown him the plot. He had also shown him

the agreement with Bachan Kaur. Cross examination of Dharam Pal reveals

that he has been residing at village Mullanpur since long. His forefathers

have also been residing there. He has been born and brought in the said

village. Entire dimension of the plot is 45’x36′. The said plot is in the

Abadi of village Mullanpur. He had seen the disputed property earlier also.

He admitted that Bachani (Bachan Kaur) is also resident of village

Mullanpur. Her husband Gurdev Singh was known to him. He knew

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Bachani (Bachan Kaur) since he gained senses. Gurdev Singh was landlord

and owner of substantial land in the village abadi. Gurdev Singh died 10-12

years back. Dharam Pal son of Chuhar Ram has purchased the plot

measuring 70’x35′ on which he later on constructed shops. He further

stated that Dharam Singh son of Munshi Singh was earlier residing in

village Mullanpur at some distance from his house. He sold house 35 years

back and went to Nangal.

Banarsi Lal (PW2) admitted that he is residing at village

Mullanpur since 1975 and he had seen the plot before purchasing the same

from Bachni (Bachan Kaur). Motia Rani also admitted that Bachan Kaur is

resident of village Mullanpur. She knew her after she came to the village

i.e. after her marriage, which took place in the year 1977. She started

knowing Bachni after 8-10 years of her marriage in village Mullanpur. She

also claimed that she had also filed civil suit against Amrik Singh regarding

cancellation of sale deed. She admitted that property involved in the sale

deed is in abadi area known as Bara. It was a vacant site. However, there

was manure heap on the same. But she cannot tell who had put the manure

heap on the same. She does not know whether the manure heap belongs to

Bachni. She also admitted that vacant possession of the said plot was

handed over to her by Bachni.

In this way, it is clear that all the three purchasers, namely,

Dharam Pal son of Chuhar Ram, Banarasi Lal as well as Motia Rani are

living in the same village Mullanpur, where Bachan Kaur is also residing

and that they knew each other for long. Therefore, they had an opportunity

to see the plot and also see as to who is in possession of the same, since no

revenue record of the same is available on account of the fact that it is

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within Lal Lakir of the village. In case of property within Lal Lakir of the

village, possession is construed to be best proof of title. Therefore, said

purchasers had the opportunity to see the plot and the person who is in

possession thereof, before purchasing the same.

In these circumstances, it cannot be said that they merely acted

on the representation made by Amrik Singh, property dealer.

Now, the question is as to whether a subsequent man Dharam

Singh son of Munshi Singh, resident of village Nangal is the owner of the

said plots. Said Dharam Singh son of Munshi Singh was not examined in

the Court to claim or to state as to how he claims the ownership of the said

plots. It appears that Dharam Singh son of Munshi Singh made a complaint

to the DSP and said purchasers having been summoned to police station

frightened and got the sale deed executed from said Dharam Singh son of

Munshi Singh. On the file, there is no document to show that Dharam

Singh son of Munshi Singh was the owner of the said plot. He had left the

village Mullanpur for Nangal many years back and there is nothing on file

to show that Dharam Singh son of Munshi Singh was in possession of the

said plot, to claim its ownership. Presence of manure heap shows that

somebody from the village was using the same. Therefore, the purchasers

had the opportunity to see as to who is in actual possession before

purchasing it.

Now, the question would arise as to whether the complainants

have been cheated and Amrik Singh entered into the criminal conspiracy

with Bachan Kaur to cheat the complainants. So far as Bachan Kaur is

concerned, it comes out from the judgment of the lower appellate Court that

most probably she has compromised with the complainants. The offence of

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criminal conspiracy to cheat must be proved beyond all reasonable doubts.

There is no proof that Bachan Kaur was not the owner of the said plots. The

complainants did not check any document from Dharam Singh son of

Munshi Singh before re-purchasing the same plot from said Dharam Singh

son of Munshi Singh on the basis of his claim that he is owner of the same.

A copy of the judgment (EX.P1) dated 22.11.1999 shows that there was a

litigation between Gram Panchayat on the one hand and Rattan son of

Munshi, Dharam Singh, Jarnail Singh, Pinki, Dev regarding one plot

measuring 8 biswas comprising khasra No.18(0-7) in the Shamlat Deh. Suit

filed by Rattan Singh and Dharam Singh etc. was dismissed and appeal was

also dismissed vide judgment Ex.P1. Another suit for permanent injunction

between Gurdev Singh Rattan Singh, Dharam Singh etc. was dismissed

under Order 9 Rule 8 CPC vide order Ex. P8. In this way, there is no

clinching evidence on the file to show that Dharam Singh son of Munshi

Singh was in fact the real owner and that the claim of Bachan Kaur being

the owner of the said plot on the basis of possession was incorrect.

Therefore, it cannot be said that all the complainants, namely, Dharam Pal,

Banarasi Lal, Motia Rani were cheated by Bachan Kaur and that Amrik

Singh had entered into criminal conspiracy with said Bachan Kaur to cheat

the complainants. He was merely a property dealer and might have acted

for commission. Affidavit (Ex.PW1/A) merely makes Amrik Singh liable in

case of legal dispute. It can be construed to refer to a civil dispute and does

not mean that Amrik Singh had admitted that in case of defect of title, he

also will be held to be criminally liable. Both the Courts below have erred

in properly appreciating the evidence.

In view of the foregoing discussion, I am of the view that the

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prosecution could not prove that Amrik Singh entered into criminal

conspiracy with Bachan Kaur to cheat the complainants. Accordingly,

offence under Section 420 read with Section 120B IPC is not proved.

Consequently, the judgment dated 29.2.2016, passed by the learned

Additional Sessions Judge, SAS Nagar, Mohali as well as judgment of

conviction and order of sentence dated 12.2.2013, passed by the learned Sub

Divisional Judicial Magistrate, Kharar, are hereby set aside and the

petitioner stands acquitted of the charges framed against him. His bail

bonds and surety bonds are discharged.

Petition is accordingly allowed.

20.11.2017 (Kuldip Singh)
gk Judge

Whether speaking/ reasoned: Yes
Whether Reportable: Yes

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