Husband and Father-in-law held guilty for the murder of a young bride on the basis of circumstantial evidence

Supreme Court: While examining the circumstantial evidences in case of brutal murder of a young bride, the bench comprising of Prafulla C. Pant  and D. Y. Chandrachud JJ. held the appellants guilty for the murder along with the mother-in-law of the deceased, who had already been convicted for the offence.

The case involved the murder of the bride within 6 months of the marriage and subsequent chopping off of the body of the deceased into two parts that was thrown in a park.  The trial court having heard the matter had charged mother-in-law and both the appellants with murder with common intention under S 302 read along with S. 24 of the Penal Code, 1860 and convicted them accordingly. The judgment was appealed against the said order before the Madhya Pradesh High Court, which had passed an order dismissing the appeals. In the submissions made before the bench, the counsel for the appellants relied on Rajkumar v. State of M.P. (2004) 12 SCC 77 and maintained a plea of alibi and said that the accused were not present at their residence. They were instead at their workplace at the time of the crime and further the burden of proof lay on the prosecution to connect the accused with the crime.

The  Court upheld the law laid down in Sharad Birdhichand Sarda v. State of Maharashtra (1984) 4 SCC 116 and examined the circumstantial evidences. In the judgment, it observed that the offence was committed at the house and that it could not have been committed by a single person, and the presence of outsider in the house was nobody’s case. The accused in their defense had also maintained that the deceased had gone to her relative’s place, subsequent to which she had been missing. This was found as a ‘blatant false plea’ given the murder was committed at home and relying on the earlier judgments, the plea acted additional link in the record against them. It was even observed that no report was lodged by the appellants regarding the homicidal death of the deceased. Therefore, given these observations, the theory of alibi was  not  accepted. Having re-appreciated all evidence and facts, the bench concurred with the courts below and held that the appellants had common intention in the murder and held that the impugned order required no interference. The appeals were therefore, dismissed. [Jamnadas v. State of M.P. 2016 SCC OnLine SC 625, decided on June 29, 2016]

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