Case BriefsHigh Courts

Delhi High Court: A Division Bench comprising of S. Muralidhar and Vinod Goel, JJ. dismissed a criminal appeal filed against the order of the trial court whereby the appellant was convicted under Section 302 IPC.

The appellant was alleged to have murdered his wife. It was proved that the deceased was last seen with the appellant. The prosecution examined 45 witnesses before the trial court. Based on the testimonies of witnesses and findings of the court, the appellant was convicted for murder of his wife under Section 302 and sentenced accordingly. Aggrieved thus, the appellant filed an appeal against his conviction and sentence.

The High Court perused the record and took note of the findings as made by the trial court. The Court noted that mother of the appellant (PW 1) deposed that the appellant and the deceased slept together and also that she saw the appellant with the deceased on night of the incident. Further, the post-mortem report clearly showed that death of the deceased was a result of serious injuries which were caused by the sharp-edged weapon, maybe a farsa. In Court’s opinion, the prosecution proved that the death was homicidal. Moreover, the Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) Report proved that the death was caused inside the jhuggi where the deceased was sleeping with the appellant. The Court observed that there was no alternative theory to suggest how the deceased may have suffered the injuries in the facts and circumstances of the case. For the reasons aforestated, the Court was unable to reach to a conclusion different from that of the trial court. Resultantly, the conviction of the appellant was upheld and the appeal was dismissed. [Rajesh v. State (NCT of Delhi),2018 SCC OnLine Del 10497, dated 13-08-2018]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Gauhati High Court: A Division Bench comprising of Ajit Singh, CJ, and Achintya Malla Bujor Barua, J. held the accused-appellant guilty under Section 304 Part II IPC as he was unable to give any explanation for the injuries suffered by the deceased.

The appellant was accused of murdering his wife. The dead body of the wife was found in the house of the appellant; it was found that except for the appellant and his three years old daughter, there was nobody else in the house; and as such, the appellant was expected to explain under what circumstances his wife died inside the house with injuries on her head. The trial court convicted the appellant under Section 302. Aggrieved thus, the appellant preferred the instant appeal.

The High Court perused the record and referred to the Supreme Court decision in Ganeshlal v. State of Maharashtra, (1992) 3 SCC 106 wherein mere denial of the prosecution case coupled with absence of any explanation was held to be inconsistent with the innocence of the accused. The same principles was reiterated in Trimukh Maroti Kirkan v. State of Maharashtra, (2006) 10 SCC 681. In the instant case, the appellant, in one instance, stated that the wife died due to over-consumption of alcohol. At another, he stated that he slapped her which resulted in her death. Both the statements were found to be not true in light of the medical report that showed that the deceased suffered serious head injury. The Court held that the appellant did not offer any explanation for the injuries suffered by the deceased, and as such, the appellant was the perpetrator of the crime. However, it was found that appellant as well as deceased used to consume alcohol and quarreled with each other. The Court was of the view that the appellant dealt a blow on the head of the deceased in a fit of anger. It was held that though the appellant had no intention to kill the deceased, however, he had knowledge that such an assault might cause her death. Resultantly, the conviction of the accused was modified from that under Section 302 to Section 304 Part II. The appeal was, thus, partly allowed. [Rajesh Mahali v. State of Assam,2018 SCC OnLine Gau 904, dated 09-08-2018]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Delhi High Court: A Division Bench comprising of S. Muralidhar and Vinod Goel, JJ., allowed a criminal appeal directed against the trial court judgment convicting the appellant under Sections 302, 201 and 404 IPC.

The appellant was accused of entering into a criminal conspiracy with other co-accused to murder the deceased Khazano Devi. They were also accused of causing the disappearance of evidence. All the accused were convicted by the trial court and sentenced for the offence punishable under the abovementioned sections. The appellant challenged the trial court judgment before the High Court.

The Court noted that the prosecution relied on three circumstances which were, firstly, last seen evidence, to which the High Court held that there were no independent witnesses in that regard. Secondly, recovery of articles, which the Court held were not sufficient to provide a link in chain of circumstances to prove guilt of the appellant. Thirdly, motive, for which the Court observed that where other circumstances are not satisfactorily proved it is necessary to prove the motive for commission of the crime. However, the Court held that the prosecution failed to prove the motive for murder of the deceased. In such circumstances, the Court was of the view that the appellant was entitled to benefit of doubt. Therefore, he was acquitted of the offences charged under and the sentence was set aside. The appeal was, thus, allowed. [Yamin v. State, 2018 SCC OnLine Del 10198, dated 26-07-2018]

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: Navin Sinha, J. delivered the judgment for the Full Court comprising of Ranjan Gogoi, R. Banumathi, JJ. and himself, wherein the appeal filed by a murder convict against his conviction was partly allowed.

The appellant was convicted for murdering his neighbor. The facts were that the appellant had an altercation with the deceased due to loud playing of tape recorder. The appellant was irked by the loud noise. A verbal argument ensued. The appellant rushed across to his house, came back with a sword and delivered a single blow to the deceased in the rib cage area and then ran away threatening to see him later. The deceased succumbed to the injury the same day. The trial court acquitted the appellant but he was convicted by the Uttaranchal High Court for the offence punishable under Section 302. Aggrieved by the same, the appellant filed the instant appeal.

The Supreme Court considered the factual matrix of the case and held that in the entirety of the evidence, the conviction of the appellant under Section 302 was liable to be modified. The Court reached a conclusion that the occurrence took place in the heat of the moment. It was noted that genesis of the occurrence was a single assault. Moreover, duration of the entire episode was less than 2 minutes, which lends credence to the view that the assault was made without pre-meditation at the spur of time. Thus, it was not safe to convict the appellant for murder. However, he had knowledge that such assault was likely to cause death. In such circumstances, the Court was of the view that the conviction of the appellant was liable to be modified from Section 302 to Section 304 Part II. The appeal was, thus, partly allowed. [Deepak v. State of U.P.,2018 SCC OnLine SC 770, decided on 01-08-2018]

 

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Bombay High Court: A Division Bench comprising of P.N. Deshmukh and M.G. Giratkar, J., partly allowed a criminal appeal which was filed against the judgment of conviction under Section 302 IPC passed by the trial court.

The convict was accused of throwing chilli powder at the deceased and other persons and strangulating the deceased to death. The case was that the accused ran a liquor store, which was objected to by the deceased and other members of a certain samiti. According to the appellant, the deceased was leading a mob of 50 people, trying to enter her house. Apprehending threat and danger, the appellant got frightened and threw chilli powder at the mob. She caught hold of the deceased by her hair and scuffled with her only so that it would act as a deterrent for other persons from entering the house. However, during the said scuffle, the deceased died accidentally. The appellant was tried and convicted under Section 302 IPC. Aggrieved thus, the appellant filed the instant appeal.

The High Court perused the record very carefully. In light of the post-mortem report along with evidence of witnesses, it was proved that death of the deceased was homicidal. However, the Court was of the view that since the defendant did not have any intention to kill the deceased, the conviction of the appellant was liable to modified from that under Section 302 to Section 304 Part II. The order was made accordingly. [Sumitra v. State of Maharashtra,2018 SCC OnLine Bom 1550, dated 19-07-2018]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Bombay High Court: A Division Bench comprising of B.R. Gavai and Sarang V. Kotwal, JJ. allowed an appeal filed against the order of conviction and sentence under Section 302 IPC passed by the trial court.

The appellant was convicted for the murder of the watchman of his housing society. The appellant stabbed the deceased with a knife for refusing to irrigate plants at his home. He was convicted by the order of the trial court, against which present appeal was preferred. Counsel for the appellant prayed for a benefit under Section 84 IPC as the appellant was suffering from paranoid schizophrenia.

The High Court perused the record and found that on an earlier occasion also, the appellant was tried under the same section but was given the benefit of Section 84 by the trial court. Reference was made to Supreme Court decision in Shrikant Anandrao Bhosale v. State of Maharashtra, (2002) 7 SCC 748, to observe that the circumstances of unsoundness of mind before and after the incident is a relevant fact to draw the inference that the appellant was under ailment at the relevant time, when he committed the crime. Appellant also examined his doctor that proved a history of mental illness. Further, immediately after the incident, the appellant was admitted to the hospital for the treatment of paranoid schizophrenia. It was held that the appellant had discharged the burden to show that he was suffering from unsoundness of mind at the time of the incident. Hence, the trial court was not right in refusing to grant him benefit under Section 84. Thus, the appeal was allowed and the appellant was acquitted. [Mohammed Rafiq Shahabuddin Shaikh v. State of Maharashtra,2018 SCC OnLine Bom 1461, dated 29-06-2018]

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: R. Banumathi, J. speaking for herself and Ranjan Gogoi, J. dismissed a criminal appeal filed against the judgment of the Bombay High Court wherein the order of the trial court acquitting the appellants from the charges including Section 302 IPC was reversed.

According to the prosecution, the appellants and the deceased/prosecution witnesses were members of different political parties. On a fateful day, the appellants being armed with deadly weapons like sword, knife, motorcycle chain, etc., came to the house of the deceased; attacked him; and the deceased succumbed to injuries. The trial court rejected the evidence of all the witnesses on one count or another and acquitted the appellants. However, on appeal, the High Court reversed the order of the trial court and convicted the appellants under Sections 147, 148, 302 read with Section 149 IPC. This judgment was challenged by the appellants.

For adjudicating the matter, the Supreme Court carefully considered the record and discussed the witness evidence in detail. Following points of law are discernible from the discussion of the Hon’ble Court:

  • Witness evidence cannot be disbelieved simply because he did not react in a particular manner, each person reacts in his own way.
  • Relationship with the deceased is not, by itself, a ground for affecting the credibility of a witness.
  • FIR is not an encyclopedia which is expected to contain all the details of the prosecution case. It is not be rejected unless there are indications of fabrication in the FIR.

Further, on perusal of the record, the Court found that witness evidence was corroborated by the medical evidence and also by the recovery of weapons from the accused. It was observed that on an appeal against the acquittal, the paramount consideration is to avoid a miscarriage of justice. The Court was of the view that High Court correctly held that the trial court did not appreciate the evidence properly and its findings were perverse; the High Court was right in reversing the order of the trial court. Accordingly, conviction of the appellants was confirmed and the appeals were dismissed. [Motiram Padu Joshi v. State of Maharashtra,2018 SCC OnLine SC 676, decided on 10-07-2018]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Madhya Pradesh High Court: A Division Bench comprising of Rajendra Kumar Srivastava and S.K. Gangele, JJ. allowed the appeal and acquitted the appellant who was convicted under Section 302 read with Section 34 IPC.

The appellant was convicted for the murder of the deceased and awarded life sentence. It was alleged by the PWs 2 and 3, the brother and mother of the deceased, that the appellant had a farsa with which the deceased was attacked and he, therefore, died on the spot. The order of conviction and sentence passed by the trial court was challenged in the instant appeal.

The High Court noted that the eye-witnesses had deposed that the appellant was armed with a farsa and had inflicted injuries upon the deceased. However, in the postmortem report, there were no signs of any such injury that could have been caused by a sharp weapon. The doctor, who conducted the postmortem also deposed that he did not notice any such injury. Relying on Mahavir Singh v. State of M.P., (2016) 10 SCC 220, the Court held that where the medical evidence goes so far that it completely rules out the possibility of the ocular evidence being true, then such ocular evidence may be disbelieved. Holding thus, the conviction and sentence of the appellant under Section 302 read with Section 34 IPC was set aside. The appeal was thus, allowed. [Shiv Prasad Kol v. State of M.P., 2018 SCC OnLine MP 414, dated 05-07-2018]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Jharkhand High Court: A Division Bench comprising of H.C. Mishra and B.B. Mangalmurti, JJ., dismissed a criminal appeal filed against the judgment of conviction and sentence passed against the appellant by the trial court.

The appellant was convicted for the murder of his father. It was alleged that on a fateful day, the appellant was taking all the paddy from the house, and when his father asked him to leave some behind, he became furious and attacked his father with a sword. The father of the appellant was taken to hospital where he recorded his statement to the Magistrate and subsequently, he died. The appellant was tried under Section 302 IPC. Material prosecution witnesses in the case including the wife of the deceased (mother of the appellant) turned hostile. However, the trial court, based on the dying declaration of the deceased, convicted the appellant. Learned counsel for the appellant assailed the judgment as it was based solely on the dying declaration of the deceased which was not corroborated by any of the witnesses.

The High Court gave due consideration to submissions made by counsel for the appellant. However, the Court was of the view that the submissions did not hold ground. The Court noted that the dying declaration was recorded by following the proper procedure. Although the witnesses turned hostile and the dying declaration was not corroborated, yet the fact remained that there was no contradiction between the dying declaration and the first statement given by the deceased. The Court held that the dying declaration inspired confidence. Taking into account the evidence of the Investigating Officer, the doctor, the Magistrate and considering the sharp nature of injuries sustained by the deceased, the Court held that the guilt of the appellant under Section 302 was proved. Hence, the impugned judgment of the trial court was upheld and the appeal was dismissed. [Dijan Mandal v. State of Bihar, 2018 SCC OnLine Jhar 417, decided on 19-4-2018]