If the absence of motive is accepted, it is of little importance and pales into insignificance when the crime is established by direct evidence: Gauhati High Court

When there is direct, credible witness testimony as to the commission of an offence, the motive element of the equation is nullified. As a result, if the origin of the purpose for the event is not established, the visual testimony of the witnesses as to the event cannot be discounted just because of the lack of motive, if the evidence is otherwise trustworthy. The judgment was passed by the High Court of Gauhati in the case of Kameswar Majhi v. State of Assam [CRL.A(J)/126/2018] by Division Bench consisting of Hon’ble Justice N. Kotiswar Singh & Justice Soumitra Saikia.

The facts of the case are that the accused Kameswar Majhi called the deceased, his niece and her husband. While the deceased was preparing tobacco, the accused armed with a dao attacked the deceased from behind beheading him. the deceased, died instantaneously as his head was severed from his body on being attacked with a dao by the accused. The FIR filed, was duly received and registered under Section 302 IPC.

The learned trial court convicted the appellant under Section 302 IPC sentencing him to undergo rigorous imprisonment for life and a fine of Rs.1,000/ and in default of payment of fine to undergo rigorous imprisonment for another 1 month. The Sessions Judge did not consider the case to be within the category of rarest of the rare cases and, therefore, declined to pass an order of death sentence.

The learned counsel for appellant submits that the trial Court convicted the accused solely on the circumstantial evidence and that there was no eye-witness to the incident alleged. He further submits that the depositions of witnesses are unreliable in view of the discrepancies pointed out hereinabove. He further referred to the medical opinion and submits that since further medical investigation relating to the blood stains found on the victim’s body were not examined and which in the opinion of the medical expert was necessary to ascertain as to whether the blood stains on the body and the head belonged to the same person, the medical evidence presented during trial cannot be relied upon to prove the guilt of the accused.

Learned counsel for the respondent submits that it is evident from the perusal of the depositions of the witnesses that the witnesses had given their depositions after about 9 or 10 years after the incident had taken place. He, therefore, submits that these depositions were given by the witnesses recollecting the sequence of the events from their memories. Therefore, there may be minor discrepancies in the narration of the sequence of the events in the depositions of the witnesses, which ought to be ignored. He submits that such discrepancies will not scuttle the prosecution’s case against the accused.

While dismissing the petition the court relied on Hon’ble Supreme Court in the case of Solanki Chimanbhai Ukabhai V. State of Gujarat, wherein it was held that “Ordinarily, the value of medical evidence is only corroborative. It proves that the injuries could have been caused in the manner alleged and nothing more. The use which the defence can make of the medical evidence is to prove that the injuries could not possibly have been caused in the manner alleged and thereby discredit the eye-witnesses. Unless, however, the medical evidence in its turn goes so far that it completely rules out all possibilities whatsoever of injuries taking place in the manner alleged by eyewitnesses, the testimony of the eye-witnesses cannot be thrown out on the ground of alleged inconsistency between it and the medical evidence.”

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