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Indian Case Summary

Sukhvinder Singh And Ors vs State Of Punjab on 12 May, 1994 – Case Summary

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In the case of Sukhvinder Singh And Ors vs State Of Punjab on 12 May, 1994, the Supreme Court of India was tasked with examining a case involving the kidnapping and murder of a minor child, Varun Kumar. The case was heard by a bench consisting of A.S. Anand and Faizan Uddin.

Facts of the Case

The case began when Rakesh Kumar, the father of the deceased, reported to the police that his son had been abducted. He had received a ransom note demanding Rs. 60,000 for his son’s safe return. Despite following the instructions in the note, his son was not returned, and he reported the incident to the police.

The accused in the case were Sukhvinder Singh, his parents Mohan Singh and Surjit Kaur, and two other individuals, Puran Chand and Sukhdev Paul. They were all charged with the murder of Varun Kumar, who was living with his parents as a tenant in a portion of the house owned by Sukhvinder Singh and his parents.

Issues and Court Observations

The prosecution relied heavily on circumstantial evidence, including the conduct of the appellants, the ransom letters allegedly written by Sukhdev Paul, and the recovery of the dead body from the house of the appellants. The prosecution also argued that the appellants had formed an unlawful assembly with a common objective to commit the crime.

The Designated Court found all the circumstances established and convicted all the appellants for offences under Section 302 read with Section 149/120B IPC and Section 3 of TADA. They were sentenced to life imprisonment and fined.

However, the Supreme Court found that the conviction under Section 3 of TADA was unjustified, as none of the ingredients of that Section had been alleged and established in the case. The court also found that the circumstantial evidence against Mohan Singh and Surjit Kaur was insufficient to establish their guilt.

The court also questioned the validity of the disclosure statements made by Sukhvinder Singh, Sukhdev Paul, and Puran Chand, which led to the recovery of the dead body. The court found that the recording of multiple disclosure statements leading to the discovery of the same fact was an abuse of the provisions of Section 27 of the Evidence Act.

Conclusion

The Supreme Court set aside the conviction and sentence of all the appellants for the offence under Section 3 of TADA and acquitted them of the said charges. The court also found that the prosecution had not been able to establish the case against Puran Chand and Sukhdev Paul beyond a reasonable doubt. The only appellant left implicated was Sukhvinder Singh, whose case was based on the recovery of the dead body from his house and the ransom letters. The court’s decision highlights the importance of establishing guilt beyond a reasonable doubt and the careful application of the provisions of the Evidence Act.