HC upholds guard's acquittal for firing on duty

The Delhi High Court has upheld a trial court’s acquittal of a bank security guard after accepting his argument that he was only discharging his duties when he fired at a man, who later died, to prevent him from running away after forging some papers.

A bench led by Justice Sanjiv Khanna dismissed the police’s appeal challenging the trial court’s July 2007 acquittal order against Chaturbhuj Singh.

Kashmiri Gate police had registered a case against Singh on charge of culpable homicide not amounting to murder by firing and killing from his rifle Sarvesh Sapra on March 9, 2006 when he tried to run away from a bank after trying to fraudulently make some transactions.

Call of duty

The court accepted Singh’s argument that as a guard in the bank his foremost duty was to save the bank and public money from being looted.

Further, Singh had argued that Sapra was holding the passbook of another person, Amarjeet Maurya, and had manipulated and forged the signatures of Maurya and when he was confronted by the bank officials.

Sapra tried to flee when he got wind that the bank officials may call police.

“We feel that the apprehension of death and grievous hurt was present in the mind of the respondent (Singh) when he exercised the said right (self-defence) in the present case. The respondent, who was a guard, had heard shouts and yelling in the bank at the counter and then had seen a person trying to make his way through the main door,” said the court.

“To stop him, Singh closed the door. Sapra did not relent, but smashed through the glass frame and when confronted picked up a big glass piece,” the court said.

Singh’s counsel contended that Sapra tried to run away and when one more bank official and Singh, who was on guard duty, tried to stop him, he not only broke the glass of the main gate but also tried to hit Singh.

The guard then fired at Sapra, said his counsel.

“Evidence of scuffle and blood on glass pieces indicate Singh’s statement was plausible and correct,” said the court.

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