Libertatem Magazine

Supreme Court Affirms Decision Passed by the High Court in the Case of Jayantilal Verma V. State of M.P. (Now Chhattisgarh)

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The appellant filed this appeal before the Supreme Court against the judgment passed by the High Court, convicting the appellant herein for the offences punishable under section 302 of the IPC.  

Brief facts of the case

Sahodara Bai was found dead in her matrimonial home located in village Uslapur, District Rajanandgaon, M.P. (now Chhattisgarh). A marg intimation was lodged with the police at the request of her brother, one Kishore Kumar, who alleged that he had returned to village Uslapur on the information that she had died. He related a previous incident from a few days ago alleging that the deceased had returned to her maternal home to village Baiharsari stating that she had been harassed at the hands of her in-laws for the last 6-7 months. Postmortem was performed on the body and FIR was lodged at District Kawargha that the appellant herein, his father, one Lalchand and mother, one Ahiman Bai as accused of offences punishable u/s 302 r/w Section 34 of the IPC, 1860. The post mortem report stated that the cause of death was asphyxia due to strangulation, and the nature of death was possibly homicidal. After the completion of the investigation and charges were framed the Sessions Court held all the three accused persons guilty of offences punishable u/s 302 of the IPC. All the 3 accused went for an appeal before the HC. In the course of the pendency of the appeal, Lalchand, the father-in-law of the deceased passed away. The HC acquitted the mother-in-law of the deceased & stated that there was no legally admissible evidence to convict her. But, the HC upheld the conviction of the appellant herein. He aggrieved by the HC judgment filled the present appeal before this court.

Arguments before the court

The Counsel for the appellant herein submitted that the circumstantial evidence was not of that nature that it could be said conclusively, and the chain of evidence was not completed to hold the appellant herein guilty. It was also argued that the statements of the witnesses were not recorded before the five days from the date of the incident, & also the site plan prepared by PW-7 was not proved.

The counsel for the respondent-State submitted that it has relied upon the fact that the accused did not give any explanation regarding the cause of death, even though the death had happened in the privacy of the matrimonial home. The appellant herein and his family were the only residents, where the body of the deceased was found and it states that a burden on them within the meaning of Section 106 (Burden of proving fact especially within knowledge) of the Evidence Act. 

Observation of the court

The court observed that the most significant point was where the death was caused and the body found. It was in the boundaries of the house of the appellant herein where there were only family members staying. The HC also found that the location of the house and the surrounding buildings were such that there was no chance that somebody from outside could come and strangulate the deceased.

The decision of the court

The Supreme Court directed that the respondent State to examine whether the appellant herein has completed 14 years of an actual sentence or not and if it is so, his matter shall be examined within a maximum period of two months. If not, the exercise should be undertaken within the same time on completion of 14 years of the actual sentence.

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