In the High Court of Delhi CRL.A. 1003/2014 Petitioner Jaspal Singh Respondent CBI Date of Judgement 06th February, 2018 Bench Hon'ble Justice S. Muralidhar & Justice I.S. Mehta
Facts of the Case:
The President of India was due to visit Dehradun on 3rd July 2009 at around 4 pm. The entire city was, therefore, on high security alert on that day. The Uttarakhand police in Dehradun were patrolling the city since the morning. Gopal Dutt Bhatt (A2), who was a Sub-Inspector („SI‟) at Police Station („PS‟) Dalanwala in Dehradun and who, at the relevant time, was attached to the Araghar Outpost, was on his motorcycle doing the rounds of his designated area. From the Araghar Outpost, A2 was proceeding on his motorcycle. Near the Gurudwara on Mohini Road, A2 noticed a boy sitting on a motorcycle which was having a Haryana number plate. Two other boys were standing nearby. A2 purportedly asked the boy sitting on the motorcycle for the papers of the vehicle. There appears to have been an exchange of words.
Although Gopal Dutt Bhatt was in the order framing charges referred to as A4 and Neeraj Kumar as A2, in the impugned judgment their numbers have been interchanged. Gopal Dutt Bhatt is mentioned as A2 and Neeraj Kumar as A4.
There were several prosecution witnesses (PWs) examined by the CBI as regards the incident near the Gurudwara on Mohini Road. However, despite their statements being recorded under Section 164 of the Code of Criminal Procedure („Cr PC‟), some of them failed to support the prosecution when they were examined in Court. One of them, Anjum Pervez Khan (PW15), supported the prosecution. PW15 was a Junior Engineer with the Meerut Development Authority (MDA). His residence was at Circular Road, Dalanwala, Dehradun near the said Gurudwara. On 3rd July 2009, between 12.45 and 1 pm, PW15 returned home to change his clothes to offer Namaz of Jumma. He parked the vehicle in front of the gate of his house. PW15 noticed a crowd near the Gurudwara and that three persons were quarrelling. Out of curiosity, he went near the crowd. He noticed two boys beating a person in police uniform. The two boys had pushed the policeman to the ground and were beating him with fists and kicks. In the course of the scuffle, one of the boys snatched the service pistol of the policeman and began pointing it towards the policeman. PW15 then decided that he should use his own licensed pistol. He went back to his residence, took out his licensed pistol and, after reaching the spot and finding that the scuffle was still ongoing, fired two shots into the air with the licensed pistol. On hearing those shots, there was a bhagdad (commotion) and both boys ran away merging with the crowd. In his statement to the police PW15 stated that one of the boys had been apprehended by certain other policemen who had reached the spot by then. PW15 also admitted that his statement under Section 164 CrPC had been subsequently recorded before the Special Judicial Magistrate (Spl JM), CBI at Lucknow. In that statement, he again stated that he had noticed two boys scuffling with A2 whose pistol/revolver had been snatched by one of them.
a. In a case of a fake encounter, whether it is necessary to understand the ranks in the police force that the accused persons held?
b. Whether the barriers of ‘impunity’ and ‘immunity’ represent also the State’s unwillingness and inability to prosecute law enforcers who have acted in violation of the rule of law?
Arguments from the Petitioners
a. The statement of A1 on the basis of which FIR Nos.98/09 and 99/09 were registered at PS Raipur. According to A1, near the Mohini Road Gurudwara A2 noticed three boys, the first of whom was the deceased, Ranbir Singh, the second being Ram Kumar (PW-10) and the third being Ashok Panwar, who is till date absconding. The three “unknown goons” did „maar pit’ with SI G.D. Bhatt (A-2) during his checking and ran away towards Teg Bahadur Road on motorcycle No.HR-6G-9093 after snatching his official pistol along with cartridge and magazine.
b. He had gone into his house, taken out his licensed revolver and fired in the air as a result of which, there was a commotion and the crowd started disbursing. While the boys also tried running away with the crowd, he noticed that as a result of someone calling the police, some more policemen reached the spot and those policemen managed to catch hold of one of the boys.
c. They subsequently received information at around 3 pm that the three boys had been spotted filling petrol at the Kashmira Filling Station near Ladpur Forest on the Ring Road.
Arguments from the Respondent
a. No doubt in the case of conspiracy there cannot be any direct evidence. The ingredients of offence are that there should be an agreement between persons who are alleged to conspire and the said agreement should be for doing an illegal act or for doing illegal means an act which itself may not be illegal.
b. The essence of criminal conspiracy is an agreement to do an illegal act and such an agreement can be proved either by direct evidence or by circumstantial evidence or by both, and it is a matter of common experience that direct evidence to prove conspiracy is rarely available.
The Court orders:-
(i) The conviction of A-1 to A-7 for the offences under Section 120-B IPC and sections 302 and 364 read with Section 120-B IPC. The corresponding judgment and order on sentence of the trial Court qua A-1 to A-7 for the aforementioned offences stands confirmed.
(ii) A-8 to A-16 and A-18 are acquitted of the offence under Section 120 B IPC and corresponding judgment and order on sentence of the trial Court is hereby set aside.
(iii) A-17 and A-18 are acquitted of the offence under Section 218 IPC and the corresponding judgment and order on sentence of the trial Court is hereby set aside.
(iv) The bail bonds and surety bonds, if any, furnished by A-1 to A-7 are cancelled. If any of them is on bail he shall surrender forthwith to serve out the remaining sentence.
(v) The bail bonds and surety bonds if any furnished by A8 to A18 stand discharged. If any of them is in jail, he shall be released forthwith unless wanted in some other case.
(vi) A-8 to A-18 shall fulfil the requirements of Section 437 a Cr PC to the satisfaction of the trial court at the earliest.
Edited by Sree Ramya
Approved & Published – Sakshi Raje