In Milan v. State of Odisha (JCRLA No.64 of 2016), the Orissa High Court ruled that homicidal death does not necessarily necessitate direct evidence. The circumstances and manner of the deceased body’s injuries led Chief Justice S. Muralidhar and Justice B.P. Routray to infer a homicidal death.
Brief Facts Of The Case: A man convicted of murdering his wife and condemned to life in prison made the observation in an appeal. He stated that without specifics about the moment of death and kind of injuries, homicide is not proven.
Analysis: The Court noted that the alleged murder was perpetrated in the absence of any adult other than the deceased and appellant. The dead body’s external characteristics, as viewed during the inquest and post-mortem, suggest homicide. The two skull fractures over the temporoparietal and occipital bones strengthen the prosecution’s evidence concerning a blunt object hitting the victim’s head.
Judgement: When the assailant is the spouse and he tries to destroy evidence by burning the body, it’s hard to collect direct proof of the injuries, the court opined. The court determined that the deceased died a homicidal death by observing that the inquest and post mortem examination were performed three days after the incident and that the exterior and interior aspects of the dead body supported the judgement of homicidal death. The death was ruled as homicide.
The Court emphasised that since the eyewitnesses were the appellant’s children, their assault testimony could not be trusted because they had heard the same from another 12-year-old boy. The 12-year-testimony old’s was clear, compelling, trustworthy, and medically supported. The court noted no allegations of tutoring child witnesses. While valuing a child’s testimony, the court must be cautious of tutoring. Section 118 of the Evidence Act states that every individual is a competent witness unless the court deems them incapable owing to tender years or other reasons. Each scenario determines if a child can understand and answer questions sensibly. Dismissing the appeal, it was decided that direct and cogent evidence concerning the attack and the accused’s actions plainly established murder allegations under Section 302/201 of the IPC against the appellant.
JUDGEMENT REVIEWED BY PRAKIRTI JENA