Allahabad HC Drops Murder Charges while upholding Trial Court’s Decision, Sentences Accused for Culpable Homicide for Lack of Evidence

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Facts of the Case

The marriage of Smt. Rekha Devi was solemnized with the appellant Prabhat Krishna Verma a.k.a Babloo. The complainant herein is Mahendra Kumar Verma, who is the brother of the deceased Rekha Devi. On 20.07.2008, some persons from village Chandanpur came to the house of the complainant and informed him that about 4-5 days ago, husband of his sister namely Babloo had burnt his sister by pouring kerosene oil and she was admitted at District Hospital, Faizabad. He immediately went to the District Hospital, Faizabad along with his family, where his sister informed him and his family members that on 16.07.2008 at about 9 pm. her husband Babloo, on the instigation of her mother-in-law, Vidyawati, father-in-law, Premnath and ‘Nanad’, Pramila, burnt her by pouring kerosene oil and after threatening her of the life of her children got her statement recorded to the tune that she had received burn injuries when she was cooking food. It was further stated in the application that on 03.07.2008 or a day or two before or after 03.07.2008 his sister had informed him about the cruelty committed by her in-law’s over the phone. On getting this information, he went to the house of his sister and persuaded his sister as well as her husband not to beat her. His sister was admitted in District Hospital, Faizabad and was hanging between life and death.

Criminal Appeal

This Criminal Appeal was brought by the appellant against the judgment and order dated 18.01.2011 was passed by Shri O.P. Tripathi, Additional Sessions Judge, District Faizabad in Sessions Trial No. 525 of 2008, arising out of Case Crime No. 841 of 2008, “State of U.P. Vs. Prabhat Krishna Verma” under Sections 498-A, 326, 304 and 506 of I.P.C., relating to Police Station Maharaj Ganj, District Faizabad, whereby the appellant has been convicted under Section 302 and 498-A I.P.C. and has been sentenced for life imprisonment and 03 years’ rigorous imprisonment, respectively with the fine stipulation.

Appellant’s Arguments before the Court

  • Learned counsel for the appellant submits that the trial Court has materially erred in appreciating the evidence available on record and has convicted the appellant purely on the basis of ”surmises and conjectures’.
  • The trial Court has completely disregarded the evidence available on record which was not sufficient for the appellant’s conviction. The dying declaration allegedly made by the deceased has never been proved and the evidence of P.W.-10/S.I. Raj Kumar Yadav with regard to the alleged C.D. recorded by a local T.V. Channel could not be relied on and is not admissible.
  • The deceased died of an accident as her ”saree’ caught fire when she was cooking food and even if the case of the prosecution is taken on its face value it will not travel beyond Section 304 IPC as there was no intention to murder the deceased and the principle of Section 106 of the Indian Evidence Act could not be stretched to include even the accidental death. There are major contradictions in the testimony of the prosecution witnesses and the appellant is liable to be acquitted.

Complainant’s Arguments before the Court 

  • The trial Court after properly appreciating the evidence available on record has convicted the appellant.
  • The trial Court has not committed any illegality or irregularity either in appreciation of evidence or in the application of law as the case of the prosecution was proved beyond a reasonable doubt before the Court below. There was no contradiction in the testimony of P.W.-1/Mahendra Kumar Verma and P.W.-2/Ram Surat Verma as well as in the testimony of P.W.-3/Vijay Dhari Singh and the medical evidence also corroborates the ocular evidence and, therefore, in view of the evidence available on record interference in the judgment and order of the Trial Court is not warranted.
  • The appellant has failed to explain as to how the deceased died in his house and by virtue of Section 106 of Indian Evidence Act, the burden was on him, which he failed to discharge and, therefore, there is no illegality in the conviction recorded by the Court below and, thus, the appeal is liable to be dismissed.

Court’s Decision

The court inferred from various other judgments that one can easily perceive that the there was no intention to cause death and the medical opinion was not certain as to whether the injuries, caused with intention, would have been sufficient to cause the death in the ordinary course of nature or not. But, the medical opinion was to the effect that the injury is likely to cause death. Hence death was a remote consequence. It was because of these reasons that the Court held that the offence would fall only under Section 304 I.P.C.

In view of the above, the appeal filed by the appellant was partly allowed. His conviction under Section 302 I.P.C. was hereby set-aside and he was convicted under Section 304-II of I.P.C. and having regards to the evidence available on record, was sentenced to undergo rigorous imprisonment for 10 years with fine of Rs. 15,000/- and in default of payment of fine, to undergo further simple imprisonment for one year.

His conviction and sentencing with regard to Section 498-A IPC as done by the Trial Court were upheld. The court stated, all sentences of the appellant shall run concurrently and the period underwent by the appellant in jail, in this case, shall be adjusted towards the sentence awarded by this Court. Appellant, as per the report of the office, is in jail in this case. He will serve the sentence as modified by this Court and if he has already served the sentence, as modified by this Court, he will be released from the prison if he is not required to be detained in any other matter.


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