A Judge does not preside over a criminal trial merely to see that no innocent man is punished: High Court of Orissa

The trial Court held the circumstances proved formed a continuous chain and pointed to the guilt of the Appellant and his innocence was inconsistent with the evidence. Such an opinion was held by The Hon’ble High Court of Orissa before The Hon’ble Mr. Chief Justice S. Muralidhar and The Hon’ble Mr. Justice Biswajit Mohanty in the matter of Sarathi Mahananda Vs. State of Odisha [CRLA No.445 of 2014]. 

The facts of the case were associated with an appeal under Section 374(2) of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 which was directed against the judgment and order passed by the learned Additional Sessions Judge, Titilagarh in Sessions Case No.15 of 2011 dated 12th November 2013. It was stated that under Sections 302 IPC, the appellant was convicted and sentenced to rigorous imprisonment for life. Moreover, the present appellant and his parents faced a trial on offences under Sections 498A, 304B, 302 and 34 IPC. The appellant was convicted under Section 302 while he was acquitted from the offences under Section 498A, 304B/34. 

It was submitted that the appellant married his deceased wife  Harabati Besra in 2005 but soon after, he and his family member ill-treated and tortured the deceased. After staying in her paternal home for 1 year, the deceased returned back to her husband’s home. In July 2010 Padu Mahananda informed the deceased’s father about her critical condition. The deceased’s father with his family upon reaching the house found the dead body of his daughter. Accordingly, he lodged an FIR against the in-laws. Likewise, the appellant was arrested. The appellant admitted that the tools used for the killing were concealed in his house. The post mortem report of the dead body revealed that the cause of death was asphyxia which normally happens when strangulated which was homicidal in nature. 

After going through all the reports, submissions and the facts, The Hon’ble Court held that “… On an analysis of the evidence the Court is satisfied that each of the above links form a continuous chain of circumstances and each of them has been sufficiently proved, beyond reasonable doubt by the prosecution. Taken together, they unerringly point to the guilt of the Appellant and are inconsistent with his innocence… The Court finds no grounds made out for interfering with the impugned judgment and order of the trial Court. The appeal is accordingly dismissed.”

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Judgment reviewed by Bipasha Kundu

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