Criminal Appeal No 1219 /2007 (arising out of S.L.P.(Crl) No. 5172/2006)
Harjit Singh Bedi, J.- Leave granted
This is a case of filicide the
victim Rajesh aged eight years was the son of the accused/appellant.
3. This appeal arises out of the following facts.
4. The appellant Sanwariya Lal was married to Shanti
Bai several years earlier and a son
Rajesh was born out of the marriage. On account of a discord between the
couple, Shanti Bai returned to her parental home and the appellant
started to live with Anguri PW.7 whereafter Shanti Bai was given in 'Nata'
to some other person though Rajesh remained with his maternal grand
parents. It also appears that a settlement had been arrived at between
the appellant and his wife and their respective second spouses and a sum
of Rs.20, 000/- was deposited in a fixed deposit in Rajesh's name though
he continued to stay with his maternal grand parents and was admitted to
a school in Jalian. The appellant and Anguri came to the school to take
the child with them but he showed his reluctance. The teacher too
refused permission to take the child during school hours and called his
maternal grand mother who permitted Rajesh to go with his father.
On 25th December 2000 at about 5 or
6 p.m. information was received by Prahlad PW.5, Rajesh's maternal uncle
that he had been taken to hospital with injuries and had thereafter
succumbed to them. A First Information Report was lodged by Prahlad at
Police Station Nimbaheda alleging that Rajesh had been murdered. Inquest
proceedings under section 174 of the Cr.P.C. were conducted and the dead
body was dispatched for the post-mortem examination. The Post-mortem
conducted by Dr. Ganpat Lal Jain confirmed the presence of several
injuries on the dead body one, a fracture of the right pelvis and
contusion marks in the muscles and the second a contusion on the head
and neck and multiple abrasions on the right hand and frontal side of
the arms. He also stated that the injury on the pelvis could not have
been caused by a simple fall though the injury was possible if the fall
had been on a hard surface.
The trial Court in its judgment
observed that the case was based on circumstantial evidence and for this
purpose placed reliance on the statement of PW4, the first informant,
PW2 Bagdi Ram and PW5 Jasraj who deposed with regard to the dispute
between Shanti and the appellant and circumstances which had led to the
compromise between them, their respective second marriages and that the
appellant had suspected Rajesh's paternity and believed that he had been
conceived on account of an illicit relationship of his mother with some
It was further observed that the
appellant had his eye on the sum of Rs.20, 000/- that had been deposited
in a fixed deposit in the name of the deceased. Two important witnesses
PW7 Anguri the second wife of the appellant and PW 10 Satya Nariyan a
close relative and also a resident of village Arniya Mali to which the
appellant belonged were however declared hostile. By way of
corroboration, the prosecution also relied on the statement of
R.B.Mishra PW18 who was the senior Branch Manager in the Bank of Baroda,
Nimbahaida and who deposed that on 28.8.2000 the appellant had deposited
a sum of Rs.20, 000/- in the name of the Raju. The prosecution also
sought support from the statement of PW21 Lila Malviya the teacher in
the Government Primary School who stated that on 2.12.2000 the appellant
and his second wife had come to take Rajesh from School but had been
advised to wait till 4.30 pm, and finally the opinion of the Medical
Board that the injuries could not have been caused by a fall from a
5. The accused in his statement
denied all the allegations against him and further stated that Rajesh
had suffered serious injuries after falling from a by-cycle and also
produced DW-2 Bheru Lal, the maternal grand-father of the deceased in
support of this plea.
6. The trial court relying on the
evidence of the aforesaid witness observed that as the appellant was
none other that the father of the deceased, and that the incident had
happened in the family home and no cogent explanation for the death had
been offered by the appellant, convicted the appellant for an offence
punishable under Section 302 of the IPC and sentenced him to undergo
rigorous imprisonment for life and to a fine of Rs.1000/- and in default
thereof to undergo an additional sentence of 6 months. It is in this
circumstance that the appeal is before us.
7. The learned counsel for the
appellant has argued that PW7 Anguri Bata and PW10 Satyanarain the two
primary witnesses who could have revealed as to what had actually
happened had been declared hostile at the trial and as such the case
rested on circumstantial evidence alone and the chain of circumstances
sufficient to justify an order of conviction were not complete. She has
pointed out that from the medical evidence the cause of death could not
be categorically ascertained and that the nature of injuries on the dead
body being contusions and abrasions largely suggested that the death was
on account of a fall from a by-cycle and this has been confirmed by DW-2
who was none other than the maternal grand-father of the deceased.
8. The State counsel has on the
contrary emphasized that the chain of circumstances envisaged in a case
of circumstantial evidence was complete, and the judgment of conviction
9. We have gone through the evidence
very carefully. It is true that the only two persons who could have
perhaps put light on the incident that is PW7 and PW10 have not
supported the prosecution. We, however, find that the chain of
circumstances against the appellant is nonetheless clearly made out. The
fact of marriage with Shanti, a dispute between the couple which had
resulted in a separation and a second marriage for both under custom has
been virtually admitted. It also stands admitted that a sum of
Rs.20,000/- had been deposited in a fixed deposit for 20 months by the
appellant in Rajesh's name in the Bank of Baroda. The prosecution
evidence further reveals that the appellant had suspected Rajesh's
paternity and believed that he was not the father and that he also had
an eye on the fixed deposit which had been put in the name of the
deceased. It is thus clear that the motive for the incident stands
10. We also find fro the prosecution
evidence, including the statement of the school teacher that the
appellant had taken the deceased away from school and we tend to believe
that this exercise had been planned as the appellant intended to do away
11. We have also gone through the
medical evidence with particular reference to the statement of the
Doctor who had conducted the post-mortem examination. The injuries are
1. There is contusion of muscles and
fracture of supramus of Rt. side of pelvis. Ante mortal in nature.
2. There is dissection of abdominal muscles from Rt. Renal to public
area present. Muscles contused. Ante mortal in nature.
3. Contusion 3 x 5 cm over Rt. Parietal region. Ante mortem in nature.
4. Contusion 6 x 5 cm over Parietal region. Ante mortem in nature.
5. Contusion 3 x 1 cm and 2 x 1 cm over Lt. Ear region. Ante mortem in
6. Abrasion 1.5 x 3 cm over on chin Rt. Side. Ante mortem in nature.
7. Abrasion 1.5 x 1 cm on frontal side of neck. Ante mortem in nature.
8. Multiple abrasions of various sizes over Lt. side of chest. Ante
mortem in nature.
9. Multiple abrasions of various sizes on Rt. Arm, Rt. forearm. Ante
mortem in nature.
10. Abrasion 3 x 1 cm size over Lt. Shoulder joint. Ante mortem in
11. Abrasion 2 x 2 cm on Rt. Knee, Rt. Thigh region. Ante mortem in
12. Contusion 3 x 1 cm Lt. Knee and Lt. side of 4/3 of thigh. Ante
mortem in nature.
13. Abrasion 3 x 1 cm size above umblius. Ante mortem in nature.
12. We are of the opinion that such extensive injuries including a
fracture could not have caused by a simple fall as has been suggested
and clearly show the use of excessive force. It is pertinent to note
that the appellant has not been able to explain the presence of such a
large number of injuries as he was called upon to do as they had
undoubtedly been suffered at home. The attempt by the defence to prop up
Rajesh's grand father as a defence witness to support the story of a
fall from a by-cycle cannot be believed as he was not an eye witness to
13. We are therefore of the opinion
that the circumstances clearly implicate the appellant in the murder. We
accordingly dismiss the appeal.
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