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Criminal Appeal No. 553 of 2008

Decided On: 06.05.2009

Appellants: Baldev Singh Vs. Respondent: State of Punjab

Hon'ble Judges/Coram:
S.B. Sinha and Mukundakam Sharma


S.B. Sinha, J.

1. This appeal is directed against the judgment and order dated 14.12.2006 passed by a Division Bench of the High Court of Punjab & Haryana at Chandigarh in Criminal Appeal No. 298-DB of 2006 affirming the judgment and order dated 30.3.2006 passed by the Additional Sessions Judge, Jalandhar convicting the appellant herein for commission of an offence under Section 302 read with Section 120B of the Indian Penal Code (for short, "IPC") and sentencing him to undergo rigorous imprisonment for life and pay a fine of Rs. 5000/-, and in default of payment of fine, to further undergo rigorous imprisonment for six months.

2. Appellant - Baldev Singh and Pritam Singh (the deceased) were brothers. Both were Non Resident Indians (N.R.I.).

A civil suit was filed by the deceased Pritam Singh against his nephew Harbhinder Singh, Tehal Singh and his brother Baldev Singh seeking declaration that the sale deed executed on 21st October, 1997 on the basis of a Power of Attorney dated 15th October 1990 is null and void as it was allegedly forged and fabricated.

On or about 17.2.2001 at about 11.00 a.m., when Pritam Singh was making preparation to leave his house in Paragpur for Jalandhar (Punjab), he was killed at his residence. The said incident was allegedly witnessed by Nath Ram (P.W. 25), who was a servant of Pritam Singh for last 40 years and Parminder @ Bittu, the driver of the deceased.

A First Information Report ("FIR" for short) was lodged marked as FIR No. 131 of 2001 on 17.2.2001 at about 1.40 p.m. by P.W. 25, wherein he stated:

Since last forty years, I have been working as Servant with Pritam Singh, resident of Pragpur. Pritam Singh is an NRI who is residing in England. He has kothi and land in village Pragpur. I look after it and Pritam Singh also visits the place. Pritam Singh has been living in his kothi at Pragpur for the last about 5-6 years. Whenever in the morning, Pritam Singh used to go out in car, then after his crossing I used to close the gate from inside. Today, at about 11 A.M., Pritam Singh after taking meals got ready to go to Jalandhar and I also came out from the Kothi. Parminder Singh @ Bittu driver was standing outside, who also accompanied us. In the meanwhile two youngmen came inside through main gate and came to us. One of these youngmen was clean shaven who had covered himself with thin blanket (loi). He was having good height, wheatish complexion and putting helmet on his head. The second one was a Sikh having wheatish complexion wearing turban on his head and having beared. Clean shaven person took out small double barrel gun .12 bore from loi wrapped by him and fired a shot at Pritam Singh. Then Pritam Singh saved himself cleverly and went inside. Both these youngmen chased Pritam Singh and went inside through Kainchi gate. Then clean shaven person gave fired another shot at Pritam Singh, which hit on the right side of the back of Pritam Singh as a result of which, Pritam Singh fell down straight on the floor and blood started oozing from back and chest. Both these youngmen ran away together with their arms and ammunition through main gate. We both saw Pritam Singh. The abdomen of Pritam Singh was ruptured and he had died. Parminder Singh driver and I have witnessed this occurrence. The cause of grudge is that a dispute between both real brothers Pritam Singh and Baldev Singh regarding Kothi and land is pending in the........