Circumstantial evidence is not enough to sustain murder charges : Bombay HC

TITLE : Vijay v The state of Maharashtra

CITATION : Criminal Appeal No of 84 of 2018

CORAM : Hon’ble justice Vibha Kankanwadi & Hon’ble Justice Abhay S. Waghwase

DATE:   6th  December, 2023


The appellant is challenging the sessions court in offences pertaining to Section 302 and 201 of the Indian Penal Code for murdering his wife and causing the evidence to disappear.


The deceased was married to the accused with two sons and one daughter. The daughter and one of the sons passed away earlier and the accused continuously abused the wife. He even doubted the chastity of his wife and assaulted her.

On one occasion the wife stayed at her brother in law’s house due to the continuous abuse. The next day after her return, she was found dead in a water barrel with her saree and hair floating in the tank.

The trial judge after hearing both the parties sent the accused to imprisonment for life and to pay fine of Rs.5000/- along with rigorous imprisonment for one year for the offence committed under Section 302 and rigorous punishment for another five years for the offence committed under Section 201 IPC.  


It has been submitted by the counsel of the appellant that the evidence was entirely circumstantial, and the chain of events must be proved beyond reasonable doubt. The forensic expert claimed that the exact cause of death cannot be found in the body. The prosecution’s cross examination and witnesses were not satisfactory to provide substantial evidence. The court opined that mere fact of the accused continuously abused the deceased does not mean that he is the killer. Additionally, since there was no sufficient evidence to conclude the prosecutor’s case, the court acquitted the accused from the charges of Section 302 and Section 210 of IPC.

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Written by- Sanjana Ravichandran

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