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State Of Gujarat

High Court Of Gujarat|30 August, 2012
IN THE HIGH COURT OF GUJARAT AT AHMEDABAD CRIMINAL APPEAL No. 347 of 2009 For Approval and Signature:
HONOURABLE THE CHIEF JUSTICE MR. BHASKAR BHATTACHARYA AND HONOURABLE MR.JUSTICE J.B.PARDIWALA ========================================== ===============
========================================== =============== BHAGABHAI AMRABHAI MAJIRANA Versus STATE OF GUJARAT ========================================== =============== Appearance :
MR. HARDIK B SHAH for Appellant.
MR. KP RAWAL, ADDL. PUBLIC PROSECUTOR for respondent.
========================================== =============== Date : 30/08/2012
CAV JUDGMENT
(Per : HONOURABLE THE CHIEF JUSTICE MR.BHASKAR BHATTACHARYA)
1. This appeal is at the instance of a convict and is directed against the order of conviction and sentence dated 3rd December 2008 passed by the learned Joint District & Sessions Judge, Dist. Banaskantha at Palanpur, in Sessions Case No. 62 of 2008 thereby holding the accused person guilty of murder and imposing the sentence of life imprisonment and a further fine of Rs.2000/-; in default of payment of fine, the accused person was directed to undergo a further imprisonment for two months.
2. The translated version of the charge framed against the accused is as under:
“As you, the accused, had on 25th July 2007 at 10 O'clock in the night told your wife Hansaben as to why the food was not prepared and beaten her, Amrabhai had asked for the reason why you were beating her? On being so asked, you had said, “today I will kill her”. After saying this, you asked Hansaben to come with you, to go in village to take “miraj”( chewing tobacco) and you took her with you and came home alone at about 12 O'clock in the night. After that Amrabhai had gone to field in the morning for relieving himself and at that time, as it appeared from a distance that a woman was sleeping in water course on the edge of the field, he went home and told Somabhai that his 'Bhabhi' [brother's wife] was sleeping on the edge of the field, and requested him to bring her back. After that Somabhai had informed on coming back that his Bhabhi was dead. Hansaben was lying dead and there were injury scars on the body on feet, hands and on the back. This is how you the accused have committed crime as per the Section 302 of Indian Penal Code by thrashing Hansaben with stick on her body and murdered her by causing injuries.”
3. The case made out by the prosecution may be summed up thus:
3.1 On 26th July 2007, Amrabhai Kanjibhai Majirana filed a complaint, inter alia stating that he was a resident of Bantawada Bhilvas Sim, Taluka Amirgarh and he earned his livelihood by doing farming. He had two sons. Name of the elder one was Bhagubhai and the younger one was Somabhai. He had four daughters. The eldest one was Kamuben, who died four years ago. The second was Jamnaben and she was married at Umarkot. The third one was Laxmiben and she was also married at Umarkot. The youngest was Taraben and she was married at Akedi village.
3.2 His son Bhagabhai was married to Hansaben, daughter of Karsanbhai Mohanbhai, four years ago. The said Bhagabhai used to pick up quarrels with his wife every now and then. Bhagabhai used to live separately in the hut, which was the house of the complainant's father.
3.3 On 25th July 2007 at about 10 O'clock, the complainant was taking rest at his house after having dinner and at that time, his son Bhagabhai started beating his wife Hansaben with a stick complaining about the food. The complainant asked his son Bhagabhai as to why he was beating her to which he replied that he would kill her on that day. Thereafter, Bhagabhai asked Hansaben to accompany him to the village for getting Miraj. Saying so, Bhagabhai took Hansa along with him for taking Miraj. Thereafter, Bhagabhai came back home alone at about 12 O'clock in the night and when the complainant asked whereabouts of Hansaben, Bhagabhai replied that he did not know. Bhagabhai asked the complainant to woke him up at 6 O'clock in the morning, and went to sleep.
3.4 The complainant woke up at about 7 O'clock in the morning and Bhagabhai was not seen on the cot and had gone somewhere. At about 7.30 in the morning, the complainant went to his field to answer to the nature's call, and from a distance he found that a woman was sleeping near the water course on the edge of the last field. The complainant returned home and told his younger son, Somabhai, that his bhabhi was sleeping near the water course on the edge of the last field and asked him to go and bring her back. After a while, Somabhai came back crying and told that Hansaben was lying dead. On being so told, the complainant went and saw Hansaben lying dead and there were injury marks on her feet, hands and back of the body.
3.5 Thereafter, the complainant went to the house of Hansaben's father at Akedi and told about the incident to Semrajbhai Mohanbhai, uncle of Hansaben. Thereafter, in the afternoon, Semrajbhai, Bhikhabhai Godhdabhai, Bhulabhai Vasabhai, Jivabhai Meghabhai and Valabhai Jivabhai came from Hansaben's father's house and after Valabhai saw Hansaben, the complainant informed them that his son, Bhagabhai, had killed Hansaben by thrashing her with a stick.
3.6 After investigation, charge sheet was filed against the accused, who denied the same and claimed to be tried.
3.7 The prosecution produced the following pieces of oral evidence.
3.8 The prosecution also produced the following pieces of documentary evidences among others in support of its case.
3.9 After the examination of the witnesses, the statements of the accused under section 313 of the Code of Criminal Procedure were taken wherein the accused denied the allegations made against him. The accused, however, did not adduce any evidence of his own.
.10 As pointed out earlier, the learned Sessions Judge, by the order impugned herein, has found the accused guilty and accordingly sentenced him to life imprisonment and a further fine of Rs.2000/-.
3.11 Being dissatisfied, the accused has come up with the present appeal.
4. Mr. H.B. Shah, the learned counsel appearing on behalf of the appellant, took us through the entire evidence on record and laboriously contended before us that the learned Sessions Judge committed substantial error in holding that the appellant was guilty of murder notwithstanding the fact that there was no eyewitness of the incident, and at the same time, the motive for committing the murder was not established. According to Mr. Shah, in this case, it has been established from the evidence on record that the quarrel that had taken place between the appellant and his deceased wife was a normal one, and for that reason no husband wold kill his wife. In other words, according to Mr. Shah, no reasonable individual having regard to Section 3 of the Evidence Act, would consider the evidence on record to be sufficient to conclude that the appellant had committed murder of his wife.
4.1 Mr. Shah further contends that even it appears from the evidence given by the Doctor that the injuries found on the body of the deceased were not sufficient to cause death of a human being in the ordinary course and it may be that Hansaben died of shock during the night as she was left alone in a lonely, deserted place in the village. Mr. Shah, therefore, prays for setting aside the order of conviction and sentence.
5. Mr. Rawal, the learned Additional Public Prosecutor, has opposed the aforesaid contentions of Mr. Shah and submitted that from the evidnece adduced by the prosecution, it has been well established that it was the appellant who had taken his wife with him in the night at about 10 O'clock and he returned alone at about 12 O'clock. Mr. Rawal further contends that in spite of the fact that his wife did not return, it was unnatural that a husband would sleep alone in the night by keeping the daughter with her grandfather. Mr. Rawal pointed out that thereafter he ran away and was arrested on 30th January 2008, long after 6 months. Mr. Rawal contends that on consideration of the materials on record, as the appellant was last seen together with the deceased and thereafter, the victim was found dead being injured on several places, the learned Sessions Judge rightly found him guilty as immediately preceding the incident, the appellant had beaten the deceased with a stick. Mr. Rawal, therefore, prays for dismissal of the appeal.
6. Therefore, the only question that arises for determination in this appeal is whether from the evidence on record, the learned Sessions Judge was justified in finding the appellant guilty of murder.
7. In order to appreciate the aforesaid question, we propose to consider first the oral evidence adduced by the prosecution.
8. PW.1, Amrabhai, is the father of the appellant. He has stated in his evidence that on the day of the incident, the appellant returned in the evening to his house from his work with a bag in his hand and started beating the victim, and after that, he took the daughter and ran towards the well. This witness had asked the appellant not to throw the daughter in the well, and the appellant returned, took a stick in his hand and tried to hit his wife but he could not as he had fallen because of a sudden twist in his leg. Hansaben immediately went to the house of Rupabhai. According to this witness, Hansaben returned home with her paternal aunt, Bhikhiben and Bhikhiben gave the appellant two slaps and asked him as to why he wanted to to kill Hansa, to which the appellant replied her to give wages for two persons and amount of Rs.1000/- to him.
8.1 After that incident, the accused asked his wife Hansa to accompany him to the village for taking “miraj” [chewing tobacco] and appellant and victim went together to take miraj at night with their daughter and at about 12 O'clock in the night, the appellant returned home alone along with his little daughter and Hansa was not with him. When the appellant came, he woke up this witness and told that Hansa had not returned. This witness then reminded him that Hansa had accompanied him. Thereafter, the appellant told this witness to wake him up at 6 O’clock as he wanted to catch the early bus. The appellant left the little daughter in the cot of this witness and went away.
8.2 After getting up in the morning, when this witness went to answer the nature's call, and from a distance he found that Hansa was sleeping near the water course . The complainant returned home and told his younger son Somabhai that his bhabhi was sleeping near the water course and asked him to go and bring her. After a while, Somabhai came back crying and told that Hansaben was lying dead. On being so told, the complainant went and saw Hansaben lying dead. Immediately, he went to Hansa's father's house and informed about the incident.
8.3 In the cross-examination, he maintained his statement. He, however, stated that the quarrel had taken place because food was not prepared. Thereafter, Hansa, the appellant and their little daughter willingly went to the market. He further stated that the village was situated at a distance of about one and a half kilo meters from the place of his residence. He has stated that before the incident, for one year after the marriage, the appellant used to live happily at the house of his in-laws. This witness has denied the suggestion that the dead-body of Hansaben was lying in front of the mountain where there were bushes. He admitted that he had stated at Hansa's father's house that the appellant had beaten Hansa. He denied the suggestion that the complaint was not given by him.
8.4 It appears that his evidnece is quite consistent with the complaint lodged by him, being Exh. 7, and there is nothing to disbelieve the father of the appellant. No suggestion was given to him in cross-examination about bearing any animosity against his son, the appellant.
9. PW.2, Semrajbhai, is the uncle of the victim who had narrated the statements of PW.1 as told to him, and there is no inconsistent statements made between PW.1 and the incident as told to PW.2.
10. PW.3, Bhikhiben, has stated in her deposition that the appellant had fought with the victim, Hansa, on the day of the incident at about 7 O'clock in the evening and there was a commotion. She, therefore, went there and intervened and separated them. On the next day, she came to know that the victim was killed.
10.1 In her cross-examination, she stated that the victim and the accused had normal altercation. She denied the suggestion that she was giving false deposition as Hansa was her niece.
11. PW.4, Oveshali Rajemad Sunsara, is the Doctor who conducted the autopsy. This witness has stated that on external examination of the dead-body, there were as many as eight injuries, which were caused before her death. This witness was of the opinion that death of the victim occurred because of immediate mental shock she had suffered due to indiscriminate thrashing on her body. She has proved the postmortem report. When the attention of this witness was drawn to the fact that the injuries mentioned in Column No. 17 were not sufficient enough to cause death of the victim, this witness stated that if the deceased had suffered strain at the time of death, then such consequence was be possible. He has further stated that the stress occurred due to the injuries and because of this reason, death could have happened.
11.1 In the cross-examination, this witness stated that swelling on the face, fecal matter on clothes and the symptoms mentioned in column Nos. 8 and 13 could be the effect of heart attack. This witness has further stated that if a person is alone at a deserted place and gets scared, then also these symptoms can take place. This witness has further denied that the death of the deceased has happened in natural course.
12. By relying upon the aforesaid deposition of the Doctor, Mr.
Shah, the learned advocate appearing for the appellant, tried to convince that the death of Hansa occurred not due to beating but due to stress on account of the fact that she was alone in the night in a deserted place.
13. After hearing the learned counsel for the parties and after taking into consideration the entire evidence on record, we find that there was no dispute that there was an altercation between the appellant and the victim. The cause of altercation was not preparing food by the victim. This may be a normal altercation between the husband and the wife but it has also been established from evidence that for such simple reason, the appellant tried to throw his daughter in a well and beat his wife as a result of which both father of the accused and the aunt of the victim, who was called by the victim, had intervened. The evidence of the father of the accused clearly indicates that thereafter the appellant asked the victim to accompany him to the market to take “miraj” and the appellant, the victim and their daughter went together to the market which was about one and a half kilo meter away from that place but only the appellant and the little daughter returned. We, thus, find substance in the contention of Mr. Rawal, the learned Additional Public Prosecutor, that it is quite unnatural that three persons went together to the market and only two returned except the victim, and inspite of such fact, the appellant could not explain anything when asked by his father, the PW.1. It further appears that both the accused and the victim were residing separately in a hut in a part of the house of the PW.1, but after coming back at about 12 O'clock in the night, the appellant absconded from the place after placing his daughter in the cot of his father and on the next morning, the victim was found dead lying in the field near the house, and for the next six months, the appellant was not traceable.
14. In the above circumstances, in our view, the learned Sessions Judge was quite justified in concluding that the death of the victim was caused due to indiscriminate beating by stick, which caused as many as eight injuries on her body, and as a result of shock, she died. It is not possible to believe that a husband, wife and daughter go to the market together but the husband would not care to know the reason why the wife had not come back with him. From the conduct of the appellant, it is well established that after committing murder, he left the daughter in the custody of his father and thereafter, left the place and was not found for the next about six months.
15. In the above circumstances, we agree with the learned Sessions Judge that the case of murder has been proved beyond reasonable doubt as no other plea was taken by the appellant.
16. We, thus, find that the appeal is devoid of merit and deserves to be dismissed and is, consequently, dismissed. The impugned order of conviction and sentence passed by the learned Session Judge are confirmed.
[BHASKAR BHATTACHARYA, C.J.] mathew [J.B.PARDIWALA. J.]
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Title

State Of Gujarat

Court

High Court Of Gujarat

JudgementDate
30 August, 2012
Judges
  • J B Pardiwala
  • Bhaskar
Advocates
  • Mr Hardik B Shah