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Karnataka High Court Sets Aside Lower Court Order Grants Bail In Murder Conspiracy Case Involving SC/ST Act.

Case title: MANIKANTA @ MANI VS. THE STATE OF KARNATAKA AND SMT. PADMAVATHIYAMMA @ PADMAVATHI

Case no: CRIMINAL APPEAL No. 258 OF 2024

Order on: 27th May, 2024

Quorum: THE HON’BLE MR JUSTICE SHIVASHANKAR AMARANNAVAR

Fact of the case:

Manikanta @ Mani, the appellant, was accused in a criminal case involving the murder of Sri Renukumar. The incident occurred on May 25, 2023, when the deceased was assaulted by several individuals with long choppers, resulting in his death. The appellant, accused No. 7, was not present at the scene but was alleged to have conspired with other accused to kill the deceased. The charge sheet included serious charges under the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act (SC/ST Act). The appellant was in judicial custody since his arrest on June 1, 2023, and his initial bail application was rejected by the LXX Additional City Civil and Sessions Judge, Bengaluru.

Legal provisions:

Indian Penal Code (IPC), 1860

Section 201: Causing disappearance of evidence of offense, or giving false information to screen offender.

Section 120(B): Punishment for criminal conspiracy.

Section 34: Acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention.

Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 (SC/ST Act)

Section 3(1)(r): Punishment for intentionally insulting or intimidating with intent to humiliate a member of a Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled Tribe in any place within public view.

Section 3(1)(s): Punishment for abusing any member of a Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled Tribe by caste name in any place within public view.

Section 3(2)(v): Punishment for committing any offense under the IPC punishable with imprisonment for a term of ten years or more against a person knowing that such person is a member of a Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled Trib

Contentions of Appellant:

The appellant, Manikanta @ Mani, was not present at the crime scene when the assault and subsequent murder of the deceased occurred. The main accusation against him was of conspiracy, not of directly participating in the murder. The appellant argued for bail based on parity, as another co-accused (accused No. 8) with similar allegations had been granted bail by the court. The appellant contended that he should be treated similarly since his involvement was also limited to the conspiracy. The appellant’s counsel assured the court that the appellant would not tamper with evidence or threaten prosecution witnesses if released on bail.

Contentions of Respondents:

 The respondent, represented by the High Court Government Pleader, highlighted that the appellant was charged with serious offenses, including murder (Section 302 of IPC), which are punishable by death or life imprisonment. The heinous nature of these crimes warranted a denial of bail. The respondent emphasized that the appellant had a criminal background as a rowdy sheeter at Mahadevapura Police Station. There was a substantial risk that he could tamper with evidence or threaten prosecution witnesses if released on bail. The prosecution maintained that there was strong evidence of the appellant’s involvement in the conspiracy to commit murder, which justified his continued detention.

Court Analysis & Judgement:

The court, after considering the arguments, noted that the appellant was not present at the scene of the crime when the assault and murder occurred. The actual assault was carried out by accused Nos. 1 to 3, while the appellant’s role was limited to conspiracy. The court recognized that accused No. 8, who was similarly accused of conspiracy, had already been granted bail. Based on the principle of parity, the court found that the appellant should be treated similarly and be granted bail. The court considered the conditions proposed to mitigate risks, including the execution of a personal bond, ensuring the appellant’s cooperation with the investigation, and his commitment not to tamper with evidence or threaten witnesses.

The court allowed the appeal, setting aside the impugned order dated November 27, 2023, which had denied bail to the appellant. The court ordered release on bail for certain conditions. The appellant must execute a personal bond for Rs. 1,00,000/- with one surety for the like sum to the satisfaction of the jurisdictional court. The appellant must not threaten the complainant or tamper with prosecution witnesses. The appellant must cooperate with the Investigating Officer in any further investigation. The appellant must appear before the Trial Court on all hearing dates unless exempted and cooperate for the speedy disposal of the case. The appellant must not commit any offense during the pendency of the case against him.

By imposing these conditions, the court aimed to ensure that the appellant’s release on bail would not adversely affect the investigation or trial proceedings.

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Judgement Reviewed By- Antara Ghosh

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Bail Can Be Cancelled by Same Court Which Granted It If There Are Serious Allegations Even If Accused Hasn’t Misused Bail: Supreme Court

Bail Can Be Cancelled by Same Court Which Granted It If There Are Serious Allegations Even If Accused Hasn’t Misused Bail: Supreme Court

Case title: AJWAR VS WASEEM AND ANOTHER

Case no.:  Criminal Appeal Nos. of 2024 arising out of Petition for Special Leave to Appeal (Criminal) Nos. 513, 2437, 13404, and 16310 of 2023

Dated on: 17TH May 2024

Quorum:  Hon’ble Ms. Justice [HIMA KOHLI And Hon’ble Mr. Justice. AHSANUDDIN AMANULLAH

FACTS OF THE CASE

Bail was granted to accused Waseem on grounds of parity with his father, Niyaz Ahmad, which was later set aside by the Court. An appeal by the appellant-complainant led to the restoration of the bail application of accused Waseem to be decided afresh by the High Court. The case involves multiple accused individuals (Nazim, Aslam, Abubakar) seeking bail on similar grounds under Section 439 Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 for a case involving various offences. Different Benches of the High Court allowed the bail applications of Waseem, Nazim, Aslam, and Abubakar on separate dates. The appellant-complainant approached the Court aggrieved by the bail orders granted by the High Court on these individuals. The case pertains to an incident on 19 May, 2020, with ongoing investigation and court proceedings involving delays and attempts to transfer the trial. The conduct of the respondents in delaying the trial was criticized by the Additional Sessions Judge in Meerut. Co-accused Niyaz Ahmad filed a transfer petition for a change in the trial judge due to alleged bias. The post mortem reports of the deceased sons of the appellant showed fatal firearm injuries. Eyewitness testimonies implicated Waseem, Nazim, Aslam, and Abubakar in the incident. Multiple arrests were made, and illegal firearms were recovered from Aslam. Trial proceedings involved examination of witnesses and the statement of the informant. Previous court orders for bail were challenged and overturned based on findings. The case is pending trial before the Additional Sessions Judge in Meerut. Allegations of enmity and a targeted attack by the accused are central to the case.

 

CONTENTIONS OF THE APPELLANT

Appearing for the appellant-complainant, Mr. Shreyas U. Lalit and Mr. Ansar Ahmad Chaudhary, learned counsel submitted that this is a case of double murder of two young sons of the appellant-complainant at the hands of the accused persons who harbored previous enmity against him and his family members. Waseem (A-7) was arrested on 27th May, 2020. The other accused persons were arrested on different dates. After their arrest, the police conducted a search of the respondents and recovered five illegal country-made pistols, seven live cartridges and five used cartridges from the possession of Aslam (A-2). A specific role has been attributed to each of the four respondents herein that resulted in the death of the appellant’s two sons and serious injuries to his nephew. All the four respondents herein were named in the FIR, besides the other co-accused. During the course of investigation, the statements of eleven independent witnesses were recorded under Section 161 Cr.P.C. wherein an active role has been attributed to all the four respondents. Later on, the appellant-complainant entered the witness box and appeared as PW-1. He has reiterated the role played by the respondents herein in committing the offence. Two other independent eye witnesses, namely, Abdullah (PW-2), Asjad (PW-3) and Fahim Uddin (PW-4) have supported the testimony of the appellant (PW-1). Learned counsel for the appellant-complainant further states that the High Court has completely overlooked the fact that the respondents-accused parties were the aggressors who had forcibly entered the house of the appellant-complainant and indiscriminately fired at him, his sons and other persons who had gathered at his house to break the fast. They have criminal antecedents and several cases are registered against them. Even before completion of a period of six months granted by the High Court, by an earlier order dated 7th April, 2022 passed on an application moved by the appellant complainant under Section 482 Cr.P.C for issuing directions to the trial Court to complete the trial in a definite period, the High Court has proceeded to grant bail in favour of Waseem on the grounds of parity with his father; similar orders have been passed in favour of Nazim, Aslam and Abubakar. It has also been pointed out that from the side of the accused persons, a cross case was registered on the basis of an application moved under Section 156(3) of the Cr.P.C. The matter was investigated and the police filed its final report. He submitted that this conduct of the respondents was adversely commented upon by the Additional Sessions Judge, Court No.15, Meerut in his order dated 23rd August, 2022, wherein it was observed that five dates were taken by the accused but they failed to cross-examine the appellant – complainant and the accused were cautioned that if the cross-examination would not be completed, then their right to cross-examine him would be closed. To delay the trial, the co-accused, Niyaz Ahmad filed a transfer petition before the Sessions Court, requesting that the trial be conducted by some other Additional Sessions Judge, on the plea of bias.

CONTENTIONS OF THE RESPONDENTS

As for the subsequent conduct of the respondents, it was pointed out that after being released on bail, one of the prime eyewitnesses, Abdullah (PW-2) was sought to be intimidated by them and their supporters. Abdullah (PW-2) filed a complaint on 21st March, 2023 which was registered as an FIR, wherein it was alleged that five accused persons i.e. three respondents herein (Waseem, Nazim and Aslam) and the co-accused, Hamid and Ayyub had threatened him in open Court. After he left the Court premises, he was thrashed by them. On an application moved by PW-2, he was extended protection by the Court. The present petitions have been strongly opposed by Mr. Siddharth Luthra, Senior Advocate appearing for the accused-respondents Waseem, Nazim and Aslam and Mr. Sitab Ali Chaudhary, learned counsel for the accused-respondent Abubakar. Learned counsel submitted that any delay in completing the trial cannot be attributed to the respondents and the adjournments referred to by the learned trial judge in the order dated 23rd August 2022 were not on account of the respondents. In fact, the prosecution witness was available only on two dates for his cross-examination and only one date was taken by the accused, Niyaz Ahmed on medical grounds. He submitted that accused Waseem did not misuse the liberty granted to him by the High Court vide order dated 22nd August, 2022 and when his bail order was set aside by this Court on 14th October, 2022 and remanded back to the High Court for passing a reasoned order, he had surrendered on time. Learned counsel submitted that the appellant-complainant himself is a well-known criminal of the area, having several cases registered against him as also his two sons. The criminal history of the appellant-complaint and his two deceased sons, Abdul Majid and Abdul Khaliq have been detailed in paras 19 to 21 of the counter affidavit. As per the respondents, the appellant-complainant is involved in 10 criminal cases and his two deceased sons, Abdul Majid was involved in 21 criminal cases and Abdul Khaliq was involved in 2 cases. Next, contending that bail once granted cannot be cancelled until there are supervening circumstances and in the present case there are no such circumstances that require setting aside of the impugned orders, learned counsel for the respondents supported the impugned orders and requested that the present appeals be dismissed. It was additionally submitted that even when the accused Waseem was released on bail, he had abided by the conditions of bail imposed on him and did not misuse the liberty in any manner. On merits, learned counsel for the respondents submitted that there was previous enmity between the parties; those three persons had been falsely introduced in the FIR against whom no case was made out and after investigation, their names were dropped from the chargesheet; that the prime eye-witnesses (PW-1, 2, 3 and 4) are related to the deceased being their father/uncle/cousin, etc. Several loopholes in the prosecution version were sought to be highlighted by the learned counsel for the respondents relating to conducting the inquest of the deceased Abdul Majid, the difference in the time between reporting the crime that took place on 19th May, 2020, at 2030 hours as against the time when the investigation had allegedly started (1818 hours); the alleged manipulation in the Medico Legal Reports of the injured, Asjad; the role of Asjad (nephew of the appellant complainant) who had allegedly called twice on the mobile phone of Abubakar (brother of the accused, Waseem) which fact could be verified from the CDR details of the mobile phone and showed that the injured Asjad was the aggressor who had threatened to kill Waseem’s brother. It was also contended that the appellant-complainant and 15 other persons with him were present at the mosque and not at his residence, as recorded in the chargesheet and they were the ones who had badly assaulted Waseem’s brother, entered his residence and thrashed his family members. Learned counsel for the respondents submitted that the real reason behind the dispute between the appellant-complainant and his family members and the accused and his family members related to political rivalry as the appellant-complainant had lost the election for the post of Village Pradhan and then proceeded to falsely implicate the accused persons. Learned counsel argued that where there are two bullet injuries, one each to the two deceased by three assailants, there is a possibility of over-implication of the accused persons. Finally, an assurance has sought to be extended to this Court that the respondents will not abscond as they are permanent residents of the village and they shall continue cooperating for timely completion of the trial.

ISSUES

  1. whether Single Judge disposed of the bail application in an unsatisfactory manner?
  2. whether bail should be granted in a serious criminal offence matter?
  3. whether The High Court’s jurisdiction under Section 439(1) of the Cr.P.C. is in question for granting regular bail Examining the justification of the High Court in granting bail to the respondents?

LEGAL PROVISIONS

Section 439 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973: This section deals with the power of the High Court and Sessions Court to grant bail. It outlines the factors to be considered when granting bail, such as the nature and gravity of the offense, likelihood of the accused fleeing from justice, etc.

Section 154 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973: The mandate of Section 154 is manifestly clear that if any information disclosing a cognizable offence is laid before an officer in charge of a police station, such police officer has no other option except to register the case on the basis of such information. The provision of Section 154 is mandatory.

Section 173 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973: Every investigation under this Chapter shall be completed without unnecessary delay. [(1-A) The investigation in relation to [an offence under sections 376, 376A, 376AB, 376B, 376C, section 376D, section 376DA, section 376DB or section 376E of the Indian Penal Code shall be completed within two months.

COURT’S ANALYSIS AND JUDGEMENT

The Court must consider the seriousness and gravity of the crime in question. The High Court overlooked the period of custody of the accused for a grave offence. The High Court granted bail based on insufficient reasoning and questionable factors. The accused involved in previous criminal activities were granted bail in this case. The High Court ignored key eyewitness testimonies and the seriousness of the offence. The appellate Court found the bail orders to be unjustified and lacking reasonable grounds. The accused had spent less than three years in custody for a double murder charge. The police’s investigation was criticized for being one-sided. The delay tactics by the accused in the trial process were observed. The High Court granted bail without proper consideration of the gravity of the offence and relevant material. The principles guiding the discretion of granting bail were disregarded by the High Court. The power to grant bail under Section 439 Cr. P.C is of wide amplitude. The discretion of the High Court or a Sessions Court in granting bail is considerable but not unfettered. Considerations for cancelling bail include supervening circumstances or post-grant conduct of the accused. An order granting bail must reflect due application of judicial mind and well-established legal principles. Appellate Courts may set aside bail orders based on illegality, perversity, or irrelevant material. Considerations for setting aside bail orders include supervening circumstances, accused’s conduct on bail, attempts to delay trial, threats to witnesses, and tampering with evidence. The list of considerations provided is illustrative and not exhaustive. At the stage of granting bail, only a prima facie case needs to be examined, detailed reasons causing prejudice to the accused should be avoided in the bail order. The various factors examined collectively indicate that the respondents do not deserve the concession of bail. The observations made are limited to examining the infirmities in the impugned orders and do not indicate an opinion on the merits of the matter pending trial. All four impugned orders are quashed and set aside. Original Names are to surrender within two weeks from the date of this order. Respondents can apply for bail at a later stage if new circumstances emerge.

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Judgement Reviewed by – HARIRAGHAVA JP

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Supreme Court’s Thorough Analysis Confirms Guilt and Sentencing for Rajendra Kolhe Based on Comprehensive Evidence Review

Case Title: RAJENDRA S/O RAMDAS KOLHE Vs. STATE OF MAHARASHTRA

Case No.: CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 2281 OF 2011

Order on: MAY 15, 2024.

Quorum: J. ABHAY S. OKA & J. UJJAL BHUYAN

Facts:

In this case, Rajendra, herein the appellant was serving in the army, and his wife, Rekha, was a police constable. Both of them resided in Ambajogai, Maharashtra. On 22nd July 2002, Rekha suffered severe burn injuries around 8:30 PM at the said residence. The prosecution alleged that Rajendra and his brother-in-law, Suresh, subjected her to cruelty, which lead to her death. They tied her up, poured kerosene on her, and set her on fire. She was taken to the hospital where she made a dying declaration involving her husband and brother-in-law. The police conducted an investigation, collecting evidence from the scene and recording multiple dying declarations. Rekha succumbed to her injuries on 24th July 2002, leading to the addition of Section 302 of the (IPC) to the FIR. The police filed a charge sheet against Rajendra, his father-in-law, mother-in-law, and sister-in-law. However, Suresh’s case was separated as he was a juvenile. Further, the trial court convicted Rajendra under Section 302 read with Section 34 of the IPC, sentencing him to life imprisonment and imposing a fine. The High Court dismissed his appeal against the conviction, leading to the current appeal in the Supreme Court. It was evident that during the trial, 13 witnesses were examined, and statements of the accused, including Rajendra, were recorded under Section 313 of the Cr.P.C. however, the defense argued that it was a case of suicide, not homicide and presented evidence, including the testimony of a doctor, to support their claim.

Contentions of the Appellant

The primary contention of the appellant in this case specifically highlights that there was no intention of Rajendra to harm or hurt his wife, instead they state that whatever incident happened during the mean time was not because of him but for some other reason, like suicide and not homicide. Further, the appellant challenged the testimonies of witnesses presented by the prosecution. They argued that the evidence provided by these witnesses was unreliable and inconsistent. Rajendra asserted that he was falsely implicated in the case due to personal vendetta or misunderstanding. He claimed that there was no motive for him to harm his wife. Lastly, he said that the way the courts handled the case was not fair, and they didn’t look at all the facts properly. He thought that maybe if things were done differently, he wouldn’t have been found guilty.

Contentions of the Respondent

The state argued that Rajendra Kolhe was responsible for his wife’s death. They said there was enough evidence to show that he was involved in the incident where she got badly burned and later died. They relied on witness statements and other evidence collected during the investigation to prove their point. They argued that the evidence presented during the trial clearly implicated him in the offense. The state contested Rajendra’s defense of suicide, asserting that the evidence pointed towards homicide rather than suicide. They challenged the credibility of Rajendra’s arguments and maintained that he should be held accountable for his actions. The state contended that the trial court and the High Court had properly considered the evidence and legal principles in convicting Rajendra. They argued that there were no procedural irregularities that would warrant overturning the previous judgments.

Legal Provisions

Section 302 IPC: Punishment for Murder

Section 498A IPC: Husband or relative of husband of a woman subjecting her to cruelty.

Section 504 IPC: It deals with the intentionally insult to provoke. 

Issues framed by the Court

  1. Whether Rajendra Kolhe was indeed guilty of the offense of causing the death of his wife, Rekha?
  2. Whether the trial court’s decision to convict Rajendra under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code was justified based on the evidence presented during the trial?
  3. Whether the trial proceedings adhered to the principles of natural justice and procedural fairness?

Court’s Analysis and Judgement:

Upon the analysis of the Hon’ble court, it carefully crosschecked all the information presented during the trial, like what witnesses said and any evidence collected. They checked if what people said matched up and if it all made sense. Further, they also considered things like reports from experts and what the victim, Rekha, said before she died. Accordingly, they determined the rules and laws that applied to the situation, in order to see if whatever happened was against the law. Therefore, after scrutinizing all the aspects of this matter they made a decision about whether Rajendra Kolhe was guilty or not, and if he was, what punishment he should get.

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Judgement Reviewed By- Shramana Sengupta

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Supreme Court Acquits Murder Accused Due to Doubts Surrounding Prosecution Case

Case Title: JAGVIR SINGH Versus STATE OF U.P.

Case No: 3684 OF 2023

Decided on: 7th May, 2024

Quorum: HON’BLE MR. JUSTICE MEHTA

Facts of the case

The documents are court records from a criminal case in which the accused appellant was found guilty of firing rounds that killed a person by the name of Sanju. To prove the accused appellant’s guilt, the prosecution cited the eyewitness accounts of Ram Prakash (PW-1), Sultan Singh (PW-2), and Ram Naresh (PW-5). The distance between the spots where the gunshots were fired and the witnesses’ places made it physically impossible for them to have witnessed the incident, according to the defense, who said that these witnesses were unreliable and had not been at the crime scene . In the end, the accused appellant was found not guilty when the appeal against the conviction was granted.

Issues

1. Whether the eyewitness testimony was untrustworthy, the court was urged to overturn the verdict and acquit?

Legal Provisions

The Indian Penal Code, 1860 (IPC) was the main source of the relevant legal legislation. The following are the main ideas and legal requirements:

IPC Section 302: This section addresses the penalty for murder.

Section 34 IPC, which deals with acts committed by multiple people in furtherance of a common intention, and this section were the original grounds for the accused jagvir Singh’s conviction.This section creates joint liability when a criminal act is committed by multiple people in furtherance of the common intention of all

Appellant’s Contentions

Due to concerns over the witnesses’ veracity, the defense argued that the eyewitness testimony was untrustworthy and urged the court to overturn the verdict and acquit Jagvir Singh. On the other hand, the State fiercely disagreed, highlighting the concurrent rulings of the trial Court and High Court, endorsing Jagvir Singh’s conviction for shooting the deceased, according to eyewitness accounts.

Respondent’s Contentions

The State angrily refuted the defense’s claims, emphasizing the trial and the High Court’s concurrent conclusions based on eyewitness accounts, which upheld Jagvir Singh’s conviction for shooting the deceased.

 Court Analysis and Judgement

Due to concerns about the eyewitnesses’ veracity, the appellant’s attorney claimed that the eyewitness testimony was untrustworthy and urged the court to overturn the verdict and acquit the accused. In contrast, the State’s attorney urged the Court to reject the appeal and uphold the conviction by highlighting the simultaneous convictions of guilt by two courts based on eyewitness testimony. Due to mistakes in the eyewitness identification, the High Court overturned the verdict, cleared the appellant, and allowed him to leave custody right away. The appellant and another were found guilty by the trial court based on the testimony of eyewitnesses; however, their conviction was subsequently reversed. In favor of the appellant’s acquittal, the defense contended that the eyewitnesses were untrustworthy and could not have witnessed the incident because of their location.

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Judgement Analysis Written by – K. Immey Grace

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Supreme Court’s Decisive Verdict in Notable Murder Case: Affirmed the conviction decision of the Trial Court for murder, Highlights Witness Reliability and Legal Scrutiny

Case Title – Anees Vs. The State Government of NCT 2024 INSC 368

Case Number – Criminal Appeal No. 437 of 2015

Dated on – 3rd of May, 2024

Quorum – Justice J.B. Pardiwala

FACTS OF THE CASE

In the case of Anees Vs. The State Government of NCT 2024 INSC 368, Saira, the deceased in the present case, was married to the Appellant of this present case in the year 1982 as per the Muslim rites. They had a daughter from the wedlock, named Shaheena, who was five years old during the incident in 1995. On the 29th of December, 1995, at around 04:00 AM, a wireless operator of the Delhi Police notified a lady constable on duty in a PCR (Police Control Room) concerning a woman being stabbed in the House No. 220, Gali No. 3, Mustafabad. The information was communicated to the duty officer at P.S. Gokulpuri, who sent S.I. Mohkam Singh for inquiry. SI Mohkam Singh, upon reaching the location, found Saira lying in a pool of blood with multiple wounds of stabbings on her body. The Appellant was also present on the scene, having superficial injuries. Saira was declared deceased upon arrival at the hospital, whereas the Appellant was discharged after being preliminarily treated. The fact that the Appellant and the deceased had a strained relationship, often resulting a quarrel due to the habit of the deceased to leave the house without informing and returning late at night was unveiled during the investigations. It was alleged that on the night of the incident, a quarrel occurred between the Appellant and the deceased, leading to the Appellant stabbing the deceased with a knife. The only eye-witness in this case was the daughter of the Appellant and the deceased, Shaheena. An FIR was registered against the Appellant under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 based on a report prepared by the Investigating Officer. The post-mortem of the deceased revealed that she had sustained multiple stab injuries, indicating a violent attack. Shaheena, the daughter, initially claimed to witness the incident as her father, the Appellant, inflicting injuries on her mother but during the trial, she turned hostile. The knife used to stab the deceased was discovered at the instance of the Appellant. The Trial Court, after taking into consideration, all the evidences and witness, convicted the Appellant under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860, sentencing him to life imprisonment and a fine. The High Court upheld the judgment of the Trial Court, stressing on the inconsistencies in the statements of the Appellant and his conduct, rejecting the explanations of the defense. The Appellant instituted an Appeal in the Supreme Court of India.

ISSUES

The main issue of the case whirled around whether the Appellant, accused of murdering his wife Saira, is guilty of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt?

Whether the testimonies of the witnesses, inclusive of the daughter Shaheena, is reliable and consistent?

Whether the post-mortem report and the forensic analysis of the evidence provide conclusive proof of the guilt of the Appellant?

Whether the inconsistent statement of the Appellant and his conduct, including his initial silence and subsequent explanation, contribute to establishing his culpability?

Whether the Appellant is entitled to the benefit of Exception 4 to Section 300 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860?

Whether the judgment of the Trial Court and the High Court of the conviction of the Appellant based on the evidence furnished during the trial justifiable?

LEGAL PROVISIONS

Section 8 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872 prescribes the Motive, Preparation and Previous or Subsequent Conduct

Section 27 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872 prescribes that How much of information received from accused may be proved

Section 101 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872 prescribes the Burden of Proof

Section 105 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872 prescribes the Burden of Proving that case of accused comes within exception

Section 106 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872 prescribes that the Burden of proving fact especially within knowledge

Section 145 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872 prescribes the Cross Examination as to previous statements in writing

Section 300 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 prescribes the Definition of Murder

Section 300 Exception 4 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 prescribes that If the person committing the act knows that it is so imminently dangerous that it must, in all probability, cause death, or such bodily injury as is likely to cause death, and commits such act without any excuse for incurring the risk of causing death or such injury as aforesaid.

Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 prescribes the Punishment for Murder

Section 161 of the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 prescribes the Examination of Witnesses by police

Section 162 of the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 prescribes that the Statements to police not to be signed

Section 311 of the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 prescribes the Power to summon material witness, or examine person present

Section 313 of the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 prescribes the Power to examine the accused

CONTENTIONS OF THE APPELLANTS

The Appellants, through their counsel, in the said case contented that the case of the Respondents is entirely based on the circumstantial evidences and that Respondents failed to establish foundational facts for invoking the Section 106 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872. The Appellants cited the case of Sharad Birdhichand Sarda Vs. State of Maharashtra (1984) 4 SCC 116 and stated that it was accentuated that for a conviction based on the circumstantial evidences, the circumstances must be consistent only with the guilt of the accused and inconsistent with innocence.

The Appellants, through their counsel, in the said case contented that the sole eyewitness, Shaheena (PW-3) did not support the case of the Respondent and that her testimony suggested that the strangers entered the house, causing injuries to both the Appellant and the deceased.

The Appellants, through their counsel, in the said case contented that Sayed Ali (PW-9), the witness for the discovery of the knife, turned hostile and failed to prove the contents of the discovery panchnama.

The Appellants, through their counsel, in the said case contented that SI Mohkam Singh (PW-17) admitted that he questioned Shaheena before forwarding the written report to the police station, but this fact was not included in the written report and that this inconsistency raises doubts regarding the credibility of the testimony of the Investigating Officer.

The Appellants, through their counsel, in the said case contented that the Respondents failed to establish any motive for the Appellant to commit the crime and that no witness was examined to support the assumption that an altercation had arisen due to the deceased arriving home late at night.

The Appellants, through their counsel, in the said case contented that even if the case of the Respondent is accepted as true, it falls within the exception 4 to Section 300 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 that the alleged crime occurred in a sudden fight upon a sudden quarrel without any criminal intent.

 CONTENTIONS OF THE RESPONDENTS

The Respondents, through their counsel, in the said case contented that there was no error on the part of the High Court, specifically errors of law, in dismissing the appeal of the Appellant and upholding the conviction issued by the Trial Court.

The Respondents, through their counsel, in the said case contented the following incriminating circumstances as foundational facts in support of the invocation of the Section 106 of the Indian Evidence Act –

The incident occurred inside the house of residence of the Appellant and the deceased, where the deceased was found severely injured.

The Appellant was present at the scene when the Investigating Officer arrived, indicating his proximity to the crime.

The Appellant did not disclose immediately to the Investigating officer that unidentified individuals entered the house and assaulted the deceased.

The Appellant’s story about unidentified individuals entered the house and assaulted the deceased, was contradictory to the other circumstances.

The false explanation of the Appellant recorded under the Section 313 of the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973, was another incriminating circumstance.

The clothes worn by the Appellant at the time of the incident had blood stains matching the blood group of the deceased.

Even though the discovery of the weapon may not have been established, the conduct of the Appellant, leading the Investigating Officer and witnesses to a nearby drain where the knife was claimed to have been found reflects negatively on him, according to the Section 8 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872

The Respondents, through their counsel, in the said case contented that there is no merit in the appeal of the Appellant and that its dismissal is requested.

COURT ANALYSIS AND JUDGMENT

The court in the case of Anees Vs. The State Government of NCT 2024 INSC 368, considered the decision of the court in the State of W.B. Vs. Mir Mohammad Omar & Ors, (2000)8 SCC 382, and stated that the court should apply section 106 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872 in Criminal cases with care and caution and that it cannot be said that it has no application to criminal cases. The court stated that to infer the guilt of the accused from the absence of the reasonable explanation in a case where the other circumstances are not by themselves enough to call for his explanation is to relieve the prosecution of its legitimate burden. So, until a prima facie case is established by such evidence, the onus does not shift to be accused. The court stated that although the conduct of an accused may be a relevant fact under the Section 8 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872, it still cannot be a ground to convict the accused for a serious offense like murder and that the court cannot Suo moto make use of statements to police not proved and ask questions with reference to them which are inconsistent with the testimony of the witness in the court. The court observed that the cross examination of the Respondent of hostile witnesses were insufficient. The court stressed on the duty of the Respondent to thoroughly cross examine the witnesses to uncover the truth, especially in cases where witnesses turn hostile. Further, the court criticized the passive role of the judge of the Trial Court, particularly considering the sensitive nature of the case involving a child witness. The Court rejected the argument of killing occurring due to the heat of the moment, stating that the Appellant failed to meet the criteria outlined in Exception 4. The court acknowledged the lengthy incarceration of the Appellant and granted him liberty to submit a representation to the State Government seeking remission of sentence. The State Government was directed to consider the representation within four weeks and communicate its decision to the Appellant.
The court dismissed the appeal, affirming the conviction decision of the Trial Court for murder. The court disposed off any pending applications. The judgment accentuated the importance of effective prosecution, judicial oversight, and adherence to legal principles in ensuring fair trials and dispensation of justice.

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Judgement Reviewed by – Sruti Sikha Maharana

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