Charan Singh & Ors vs State Of Punjab – Case Summary

Charan Singh & Ors vs State Of Punjab – Case Summary

Author – Megha Garg

Equivalent citations:

1975 AIR 246, 1975 SCR (1) 561

Bench

Khanna, Hans Raj

Introduction

This is an appeal case in which the appellants murdered two people. Section 302 the  Murder Punishment, that, anyone who kills another person shall be sentenced with death, or [capital punishment], and shall also be liable for fines. Section 342 of IPC states that Cost power to order. Any court dealing with an application to file a complaint pursuant to section 340 or an appeal pursuant to section 341 shall be empowered to make such an order as may be just costs. Section 374 states that appeals for convictions that any person convicted can file appeal before supreme court , high court and Court of Session. In this case the appellants filed an appeal before supreme court u/s 374 of IPC.

Facts of the Case

On August 5, 1971, Karam Singh (60) and his son Sukhdev Singh (38) were shot dead on their field in the area of Dhandari village at a distance of seven miles from Sadar Ludhiana police station. In accordance with that incident, four people, Charan Singh & ors. (Appellants) were tried in the Sessions Judge Ludhiana court. The Deceased and Appellant Charan Singh apparently had a beef between them on the land and they also tried to shot Sukhdev Singh( Deceased), but the shots however did not hit him.

At around 5 p.m. on August 5, 1971, it is reported that Mann Dass (PW)  and Kamikkar Singh (PW 18) were hoeing maize crops in the land that Mann Dass had leased from Niranjan Singh, Kamikkar Singh who belongs to Paddi village is a friend of Mann Dass and had come to Dhandari village two days before the occurrence. At that time, Karam Singh and his sons Sukhdev Singh and Gurdial Singh also harvested maize in the adjacent land purchased from Niranjan by Sukhdev Singh and Gurdial Singh. The four accused then emerged from an accused Charan Singh’s nearby sugarcane field and shot them.

Issues and facts of the Case

  • Whether or not the accused’s culpability was proven or not?
  • Whether or not the testimony of a given witness should be believed?

Judgement

Session judge:- Under section 302 of the Indian Penal Code, the learned ‘Sessions Judge convicted Charan Singh and Mukhtiar Singh for the murder of Karam Singh and sentenced each to death. Charan Singh and Mukhtiar Singh were both convicted of Sukhdev Singh ‘s death under section 302 and sentenced to life imprisonment on that count under section 34 of the Indian Penal Code. Gurdev Singh and Parmjit Singh were convicted of Sukhdev Singh ‘s murder under section 302 of the Indian Penal Code and each was sentenced to death on that basis. Pursuant to section 302, Gurdev Singh and Paramjit Singh were further convicted of Karam Singh ‘s death under section 34 of the Indian Penal Code and each was sentenced to life imprisonment on that basis. Charan ‘Singh, Mukhtiar Singh and Gurdev Singh were also convicted under section 27 of the Weapons Act and each was sentenced to four years ‘ imprisonment on that count.

High Court:-  The judgement of the trial court was upheld by the Punjab and Haryana High Court at appeal and reference.

Supreme Court:-  The Supreme Court  uphold Gurdev Singh and Paramjit Singh’s conviction and sentence, and deny the appeal in so far as it relates to them. The appeal relating to Charan Singh and Mukhtiar Singh is admitted as the argument against them is not free of fair doubt and they are entitled to the benefit of it. They are set aside their conviction and punishment, and acquitted.

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