In the case of Tapan Kumar Pradhan v. State of Odisha(Case No.: CRLA No. 29 of 2003,Judgment Dated: 11th August 2022),the Orissa High Court recently upheld a person’s conviction in a 2001 murder case and the life sentence that followed. Notably, the High Court increased his bail in 2004 after the Trial Court had found him guilty in 2003.
Facts: Both the accused and the informant (PW-1) were from the same village. The daughter of the co-accused allegedly eloped from the area a few days before the terrible tragedy. While looking for her, the co-family accused’s members came to PW-1’s home and asked his daughters one of whom was the deceased about her. The daughter of the current Appellant and Co-Accused arrived back in the village on April 1st, 2001. Following that, the families of the appellant and co-accused began a dispute with PW-1’s daughters, alleging that they had circulated untrue information about the appellant and co-daughter. accused’s During the argument, the co-accused and the appellant made threats to kill the deceased that night. According to the prosecution, the co-accused and his wife encouraged the appellant to murder the victim. After eating dinner that evening, the deceased walked to her home’s backyard to attend to her needs but did not come back. Following dinner, her family retired to bed believing she may have gone to see the “Danda Jatra.” PW-3, the deceased’s sister, found her lying dead in the backyard of the house early on April 2, 2001, with bleeding wounds to her head and neck. PW-1 then filed a FIR with the Officer-in-Charge of Reamal Police Station (PS), who opened an inquiry and registered a case. He did an autopsy on the deceased person. He detained the appellant as well. The weapon/axe was found in the appellant’s kitchen room after he made a statement while being held in prison. The mentioned axe was taken. He is also reported to have produced his athletic t-shirt, one pair of navy blue pants, and one pair of worn-out chappals. The 10 is said to have seized the same. The charge sheet was filed by the 10 once the inquiry was finished. The appellants demanded a trial and entered a not guilty plea.
Judgements: The first situation, the Court remarked, relates to the argument that occurred the night before between the appellant, the co-accused, and the deceased and her family. This was spoken upon by PWs-1, 2 and 3. Despite the fact that these witnesses are related to the deceased, the court concluded that their testimony should not be discounted if it is otherwise accurate and corroborated by other witnesses. To reinforce the aforesaid conclusion, the Court relied on the decision of the Apex Court in Waman (supra). The Court expressed its reluctance to accept the slight discrepancy brought up by the appellant’s attorney on the filing of the FIR, who scribed it by contrasting the testimony of PW-1 and the IO. The Court noted that this slight inconsistency does not call into question the veracity of PWs 1, 2, or 3’s testimonies and does not weaken the prosecution’s case. The Court believed that the recovery evidence had been more than properly proven by the 10 himself by submitting the pertinent record. He could have undoubtedly questioned the impartial witnesses whose presence the recoveries were made, but doing so would not necessarily have cast doubt on the rest of the recovery evidence. The Court relied on the ideas presented in Kashmira Singh v. State of Punjab to this end (1998). The doctor who performed the post-mortem examination on the dead was cross-examined, and the Court drew attention to his response. According to my report, the dead received the oblique incise wound while he or she was standing, whereas the other strikes were delivered after the victim had already fallen. The Court concluded that the Appellant’s claim that the prosecution had failed to establish that the death was homicidal was therefore unfounded. The Court concluded that if all of the aforementioned facts are taken together and indicate solely to the appellant’s culpability, and not the fault of anybody else, it will not matter if the offending weapon was blood-free. Therefore, it also doesn’t matter much if the chemical examination report didn’t show anything. As a result, the Court upheld the judgement and sentence handed down by the Trial Court. Additionally, it revoked the appellant’s bail bonds and demanded his immediate surrender to complete the remainder of the term.
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JUDGEMENT REVIEWED BY SNIGDHA DUBEY.