Balwant Singh vs State Of Punjab on 19 February, 2024

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Punjab-Haryana High Court

Balwant Singh vs State Of Punjab on 19 February, 2024

                                                       Neutral Citation No:=2024:PHHC:023009




      IN THE HIGH COURT OF PUNJAB AND HARYANA AT
                     CHANDIGARH
                          ****
                                       CRM-M-16959-2023
                                     Reserved on:15.02.2024
                                  Pronounced on:19.02.2024
                                                              2024:PHHC: 023009

BALWANT SINGH
                                                              . . . . PETITIONER
                                      Vs.
STATE OF PUNJAB
                                                         . . . . RESPONDENT
                                 ****
CORAM: HON'BLE MR JUSTICE DEEPAK GUPTA
                                 ****
Argued by:- Mr. P.P.S. Duggal, Advocate,
           for the petitioner.

             Mr. R.K. Takkar, DAG, Punjab.

                                     ****
DEEPAK GUPTA, J.

By way of this petition filed under Section 439 CrPC,

petitioner prays his release on regular bail in case FIR No.44 dated

17.03.2018 under Sections 307/148/149 IPC [Section 302 IPC was added

later on] registered at Police Station Guruhar Sahai, District Ferozepur.

2.1 FIR was lodged on the complaint of Bagicha s/o Kashmir

Singh, resident of Basti Kesar Singh Wali P.S. Guruhar Sahai. According to

him, there was a dispute over 17 Kanal 14 marla of land situated at Basti

Kesar Singh Wali with his sister Vidya and brother-in-law (Jija) Balwant

Singh (present petitioner), as they had taken his father Kashmir Singh to

tehsil complex Guruhar Sahai on the pretext of elderly pension and

deceitfully got executed sale deed regarding 17 kanal 14 marla of land in

her name. Civil Suit regarding that land was pending in the Court. It was

stated further by the complainant Bagicha Singh that he was in possession

of the land in dispute and had sown wheat crop therein. On 14.03.2018 at

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about 6-6.30 AM, his father Kashmir Singh was going to the fields to

irrigate the crop. He (complainant) was behind him. As they reached near

the motor installed in the fields, Balwant Singh (petitioner) along with his

wife Vidya, Jagminder Singh son of Balwant Singh, Lakha Singh son of

Gulab Singh, Rajwinder Singh son of Lakha Singh, Sukhwinder Singh son

of Lakha Singh, Balwinder Singh son of Kishan Singh, Pritam Kaur wife of

Balwinder Singh and Gurmeet Singh son of Balwinder Singh came there.

All of them were armed with different kinds of weapons like iron sabbal,

sticks etc. Vidya exhorted to catch hold of them and teach them a lesson.

Then Balwant Singh gave iron sabal blow on the head of Kashmir Singh,

who fell on the ground. While he was lying, other culprits assaulted him

with their weapons. On the noise raised by him, the assailants fled away. It

was further stated by the complainant that he called his friend Pyara Singh

and then they took injured father Kashmir Singh to Civil Hospital, Guruhar

Sahai. Due to the grievous injuries, doctor referred them to Medical College

and Hospital, Faridkot. His father was not able to speaking anything.

2.2 The endorsement made below the FIR would reveal that on

getting information regarding admission of Kashmir Singh in Medical

College and Hospital, Faridkot in injured condition, police reached there on

15.03.2018 and wanted to record the statement of the injured, but he was

opined to be unfit to make a statement. Doctor was asked to prepare the

MLR of the injuries inflicted to the patient. Doctor on duty told them that

the same was to be prepared by Dr. Ashwani Kumar. However, Dr.

Ashwani Kumar told them on telephone that as the patient had not regained

consciousness yet, so neither the MLR could be prepared nor the nature of

injuries could be ascertained, at that stage. DDR was registered on that day.



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2.3           On 17.03.2018, police reached the hospital again. However,

injured Kashmir Singh was again opined by the Doctor to be unfit to make

the statement. Dr. Ashwani Kumar was asked to prepare the MLR, who told

them that he was out of station and will prepare the MLR after examining

the patient later. Then the statement of Bagicha Singh, the son of the injured

was recorded and based thereon, FIR under Sections 307/148/149 IPC was

registered.

2.4 The status report, as filed by the police, also reveals that as

Kashmir Singh died during treatment, Section 302 IPC was added. Cause of

death was opined by the Doctors to be the head injury.

2.5 As per the status report filed by the respondent-State, during

the course of investigation, Vidya wife of Balwant Singh, Jagminder Singh

son of Balwant Singh, Lakha Singh son of Gulab Singh, Rajwinder Singh

son of Lakha Singh, Balwinder Singh son of Kishan Singh, Pritam Kaur

wife of Balwinder Singh and Gurmeet Singh son of Balwinder Singh were

found innocent by Superintendent of (Head Quarter), Ferozepur. Sections

148 & 149 IPC were deleted. The main accused Balwant Singh (petitioner)

was arrested on 18.11.2022.

2.6 After completion of investigation, challan was presented in

the Court. Charges have since been framed and case is now fixed for

prosecution evidence.

3.1 It is contended by ld. counsel that petitioner has been falsely

implicated at the instance of the complainant, who is his wife’s brother. It is

the complainant, who was maltreating his father i.e. deceased. Complainant

wanted his father to transfer 17 kanal 14 marla of land in question in his

name and as deceased Kashmir Singh refused, complainant had ousted him

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from home, regarding which deceased had executed an affidavit (Annexure

P1). Later on, fearing danger to his life from Bagicha Singh, deceased had

started living with his daughter Vidya i.e. wife of the petitioner. Out of love

and affection, deceased had executed and got registered sale deed dated

12.04.2012 regarding 17 kanal 14 marla of land in favour of Vidya and this

is the reason for hatching a conspiracy by the complainant, who actually

killed his father-Kashmir Singh and then implicated the petitioner, his wife

and others in this false case.

3.2 Ld. counsel for the petitioner pointed out that complainant

had also filed a civil suit against his father Kashmir Singh & sister Vidya

and others regarding the land in dispute, but the same was dismissed on

21.02.2017 vide Annexure P2. As per the knowledge of the petitioner, no

appeal against that judgment has been filed yet.

3.3 It is contended further that the occurrence pertains to

14.03.2018 at about 6-6:30 AM and the injured was taken to Civil Hospital,

Guruhar Sahai, from where the injured was referred to Guru Gobind Singh

Medical College and Hospital, Faridkot. Ld. counsel contends that deceased

was discharged from the hospital on 02.04.2018 in proper health condition

and later on, he expired on 25.04.2018 in the house of the complainant and

taking advantage of the death, Section 302 IPC was added. It is pointed out

that during the period of discharge till death, statement of deceased

Kashmir Singh was not recorded.

3.4 Ld. counsel also pointed out that petitioner is in custody for

the last 1 year and 23 days with no criminal antecedents; that trial may take

long time to conclude and so, in all these circumstances, he be granted bail.

4. Ld. State Counsel opposed the petition by pointing out

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towards the gravity of the offence and that petitioner is attributed to have

given head injury to the deceased.

5. I have considered submission of both the sides and have

appraised the record carefully.

6. Perusal of the FIR would reveal that as many as 9 persons

including petitioner Balwant Singh and his wife Vidya (sister of

complainant), Jagminder Singh son of Balwant Singh, Lakha Singh son of

Gulab Singh, Rajwinder Singh son of Lakha Singh, Balwinder Singh son of

Kishan Singh, Pritam Kaur wife of Balwinder Singh and Gurmeet Singh

son of Balwinder Singh, all armed with different kind of weapons are

alleged to have come to the spot, but only Vidya is attributed to have raised

lalkara to caught hold of deceased Kashmir Singh and petitioner Balwant

Singh is attributed to have given iron sabal blow on the head of Kashmir

Singh. Others are also alleged to have assaulted the deceased with their

weapons. However, the status report as filed by the respondent-State would

reveal that except for petitioner-Balwant Singh, all others including Vidya

were found to be innocent. This in itself indicates that complainant tried to

exaggerate the occurrence and so, truthfulness of his statement is required

to be tested by corroborative evidence. Though, complaint was present at

the spot as per him but did nor intervene to save his father and remained an

onlooker.

7. Further, complainant claims that his sister and brother-in-law

(i.e. petitioner) had got the land in dispute transferred in the name of his

sister, regarding which dispute was pending in the civil court. However,

petitioner has placed on record copy of the judgment dated 21.02.2017

passed in Civil Suit No.415 of 2013 titled ‘Bagicha Singh Vs. Kashmir

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Singh and others’, which would reveal that the suit filed by the

complainant- Bagicha Singh against his father Kashmir Singh and sister

Vidya was dismissed by the Court in February 2017 itself i.e., more than 1

year prior to the alleged date of occurrence. In the FIR, complainant did not

mention that civil suit regarding the land in dispute had already been

decided against him.

8. Still further, as per FIR, Kashmir Singh in injured conditions

was taken to Civil hospital, Guruhar Sahai, from where he was referred to

Medical College and Hospital, Faridabad. Although Kashmir Singh expired

on 25.04.2018 due to the injury allegedly caused to him on 14.03.2018, but

surprisingly, no medico legal report was prepared either in Civil Hospital

Guruhar Sahai, where the Kashmir Singh was initially taken or in Guru

Gobind Medical College and Hospital, Faridkot, where he was referred. As

per the police proceedings recorded below the statement of Bagicha Singh

in the FIR, concerned doctor did not prepare the MLR. Even the

postmortem report, copy of which is Annexure P4, as per the information

provided by the police, deceased Kashmir Singh died due to injuries

sustained as a result of physical assault on 14.03.2018. The PMR records

further as under:

“As per hospital record –

Referred from CHC Guruhar Sahai without issuing MLR vide Registration No.E
No.219 dated 14.03.2018 and admitted at GGS Hospital Neurosurgery ward
under Dr. Amit Narang with Diagnosis of right Temporo Parietal Sub Dural
Haematoma and on 02.04.2018 after conservative management.”

9. Although, it is not clearly mentioned that Kashmir Singh was

discharged on 02.04.2018 after conservative management, but it is a

specific contention of the petitioner that Kashmir Singh was discharged on

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02.04.2018 after conservative management and the said contention has not

been refuted by the respondent-State. Another contention of the petitioner

that Kashmir Singh after his discharge on 02.04.2018 was taken by

complainant to his home and he then expired on 25.04.2018 is also not

refuted by the State. Status report is silent as to why the statement of

Kashmir Singh was not recorded till his death on 25.04.2018, once he had

been discharged on 02.04.2018. Although on 17.03.2018, when police

recorded the statement of complainant Bagicha Singh regarding the

occurrence, Kashmir Singh was unfit to make the statement on that day, but

nothing has come on record as to when Kashmir Singh had gained

consciousness, and why his statement was later on not recorded by the

police till his death.

10. Counsel for the petitioner has further drawn attention towards

subsequent opinion taken from Guru Gobind Medical College and Hospital,

Faridkot (Annexure P5) [referred as medico legal report though it is not

so], as per which said subsequent opinion was taken on 30.11.2019 and

which reads as under: –

“With reference to your request letter No.4533.Reader. SP, City, Ferozepur
dated 29.11.2019 after going through the findings of Postmortem report, Police
inquest papers, Neurosurgeon treatment record, Pathology report and Chemical
analysis report and subsequent opinion report dated 26.11.2019, considering
location of injury No.1 on right side of top of head, I am of the opinion that the
possibility of injury No.1 being sustained as a result of assault cannot be ruled
out, however circumstantial evidence must be taken into consideration.”

11. As is evident from Annexure P5, even as per this opinion

taken after more than 1 ½ year of the date of death of Kashmir Singh, no

clear opinion was given that injury on the person of Kashmir Singh was due

to the assault as was alleged by the complainant, though its possibility could

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not be ruled out. As per the opinion of the concerned Doctor, the

circumstantial evidence was required to be taken into consideration.

12. Apart from above, petitioner is in custody since 21.11.2022,

as per the custody certificate placed on record which shows that custody of

the petitioner is approximately 1 year and 3 months. Petitioner has no other

criminal case pending against him. Trial is likely to take long time to

conclude.

13. Taking into consideration all the aforesaid facts and

circumstances, but without commenting anything further on the merits of

the case, this petition is allowed. Petitioner is admitted to regular bail on his

furnishing requisite bail bonds and surety bonds to the satisfaction of the

Ld. trial Court/Duty Magistrate concerned, on usual terms and conditions.

It is, however, made clear that any observation made hereinabove shall not

be construed to be an expression of opinion on the merits of the case by the

trial Court while deciding the case on merits.

(DEEPAK GUPTA)
19.02.2024 JUDGE
Vivek

1. Whether speaking/reasoned? Yes

2. Whether reportable? No

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