1. This appeal from jail is projected against the judgment and order of the learned Sessions Judge, Sambalpur, dated 15-11-80 convicting the appellant Under Section 302, I.P.C for intentionally causing the death of his wife Shakuntala and sentencing him thereunder to R.I. for life.
2. A brief narration of the prosecution case is that at about 10 p.m. on 14-8-79 the appellant intentionally caused the death of his wife Shakuntala Munda. It is found from the narration of the prosecution case that after the demise of his first wife, the appellant took Shakuntala for his second wife. The first wife had left behind her two sons, one being P.W. 10 and the other son having been taken in adoption by the appellant's father-in-law. On the date of occurrence, at about evening there was a quarrel between the appellant and the deceased and the bickering was stopped as the appellant was chastised by his brother P.W. 8 who returned home at that time along with his wife P.W. 9 and nephew P.W. 10, i.e., the son of the appellant, after selling fire-wood at Sambalpur. Thereafter, the appellant, Shakuntala and P.Ws. 8, 9 and 10 had their evening meals. P.W. 8 with his wife, P.W. 9, the appellant with his wife Shakuntala, and P.W. 10, the son of the appellant, were living in the same row of houses though in different rooms. After the evening meals, the appellant went inside his room along with his wife. Soon thereafter, P.Ws. 8, 9 and 10 heard sounds of beating coming out of the room of the appellant. They also heard the groaning sound of Shakuntala in the room of the appellant. At that time they also saw the appellant coming out of his room with a Tangia and proceeding towards the police station saying that he had killed' his wife. P.Ws. 8, 9 and 10 went inside the room and saw Sakuntala lying in a pool of blood and in spite of water being administered to her by P.W. 10, she did not respond and expired.
While the appellant was proceeding towards the Rengali Outpost, the Home Guard P.W. 5 and his companions met him on the way. The appellant informed them that he was going to the Outpost to make a report that he had killed his wife. P.W. 5 and his companions escorted the appellant to the Outpost where he produced the Tangia, M.O. III. The Assistant Sub-Inspector of Police in charge of the Outpost (P.W. 11) entered the appellant's report in the station diary and seized the Tangia, M.O. III, in the presence of witnesses including P.W. 4. P.W. 11 thereafter sent the extract of the station diary entry to P.W. 12, the Officer-in-charge of Katarbaga Police Station who was then camping at Jharsuguda.
P.W. 12 proceeded to the spot in the very night, held inquest on the dead body and sent the same to the Government Hospital at Jharsuguda for post-mortem examination and seized a piece of Sari and a Napkin from the spot. He also sent the appellant to the Government Hospital at Jharsuguda for collection of blood clots sticking to his body and for taking his nail scrappings which was done by the doctor P.W. 1. P.W. 2 held that post-mortem examination and also examined the Tangia, M.O. III. All the incriminating articles were sent to the State Forensic Science Laboratory for chemical examination and serological test.
After completion of the investigation, the appellant was charge-sheeted Under Section 302, IPC and put on trial.
3. The plea, of the appellant is one of complete denial.
4. As the appellant is not represented by any counsel, we engage Mr. Bhabasis Das, Advocate, to represent him at the State expense.
5. During trial, twelve witnesses were examined on behalf of the prosecution. No witness was examined for the defence.
6. There is no dispute as to the facturn of death of Shakuntala. It has been testified by the evidence of P.Ws. 8, 9 and 10 coupled with that of P.W. 2, Dr. Arun Kumar Das, who held the post-mortem examination on the dead body of Shakuntala. P.W. 2 found the following injuries on the dead body of the deceased on post-mortem examination :
(l) One lacerated wound 2' X 1/2 X scalp deep over the back of the right ear, oblique in direction.
(2) Lacerated wound 2' X 1/2' X scalp deep behind injury No. 1. It is on the parietal aspect of the right side. A portion of the scalp bone broken and driven into the brain matter. Membranes of the brain torn and there was laceration of the brain matter. The direction of the wound was oblique.
(3) Lacerated wound 11/2' X 1/2' X scalp deep on the back of the head, oblique in direction.
(4) Lacerated wound 2' X 1/2' X scalp deep over the occipital region, transverse in direction.
(5) Lacerated wound 2' X 1/2' X 3' on the parietal side on the left. The direction was vertical.
(6) One lacerated wound one inch below the Injury No. 4, 2' X 1/2' X scalp deep, oblique in direction.
(7) Bruise over the right wrist, 2' X 2'. A compound fracture of the lower end of the Radio-ulna.
In the opinion of P.W. 2, all the injuries were ante-mortem in nature and could be caused by the blunt side of an axe like M.O. III and injury No. 2 which caused injury to the brain matter was fatal and sufficient to cause death in the ordinary course of nature. In his cross-examination he has denied the suggestion that injury No. 2 could be caused by an accidental fall and has stated that it could be possible only by some violent action on that part of the body. According to P.W. 2, none of the injuries was suicidal in nature. He has further opined that here is no doubt that the death was homicidal.
7. In this case there is no eye-witness to the occurrence as to the infliction of injuries on the person of the deceased. The entire prosecution case is based on circumstantial evidence. It is the settled principle of law that there is no legal infirmity in basing the conviction only on circumstantial evidence and that in a case depending wholly on circumstantial evidence, before recording the conviction on the basis thereof, the court must be firmly satisfied -
(i) that the circumstances from which the inference of guilt is to be drawn have been fully established by unimpeachable evidence beyond a shadow of doubt ;
(ii) that the circumstances are of determinative tendency unerringly pointing to the guilt of the accused ; and
(iii) that the circumstances taken collectively are incapable of explanation on any reasonable hypothesis save that of the guilt sought to be proved against him.
In Chandmal v. State of Rajasthan : 1976CriLJ679 , their Lordships of the Supreme Court have succinctly laid down, apart from the principles noted above, that the circumstances taken cumulatively should form a chain so complete that there is no escape from the conclusion that within all human probability the crime was committed by the accused and none else. That is to say, the circumstances should be incapable of explanation on any reasonable hypothesis save that of the accused's guilt.
In this case, the prosecution has brought on record the circumstantial evidence of such a tell-tale character that it forms a complete chain and no link is snapped so as to implicate the appellant.
The appellant and the deceased Shakuntala were last seen together going inside the room after their evening meals ; before that there was a quarrel between them ; there was human blood inside the room. So it was the appellant alone who would have offered the explanation, if he had any, as to how inside his room his wife was lying dead in a pool of blood. Besides, P.Ws. 8, 9 and 10 are the near relations of the appellant. P.W. 8 is his brother, P.W. 10 is his son and P. W. 9 is the wife of P.W. 8. All of them have stated in no uncertain term that they heard some sounds of beating inside the room of the appellant. They have also stated to have heard groaning sound of Shakuntala coming out of the room. These witnesses have further stated that immediately after they heard these sounds, the appellant came out of the room with a Tangia in his and and declared that he had killed his wife. After having said so, the appellant proceeded to the Rengali Outpost and on the way he met the Home Guard P.W. 5 and his companions and before them he also confessed that he was going to the outpost to make a report that he had killed his wife. P.W. 5 found the appellant with a Tangia in his hand. The appellant went to the Rengali Outpost where he produced the Tangia, M.O. III, which was seized by the Assistant Sub-Inspector of Police in charge of the Outpost (P.W. 11) in the presence of P.W. 4. The Investigating Officer, P.W. 12, seized a piece of Sari and a napkin from the spot which were stained with blood. The appellant was sent to the Government Hospital at Jharsuguda where P.W. 1, Dr. Rai Asok Das, took the nail scrappings of the appellant and collected blood stains sticking to his body. All the seized articles including the Tangia, M.O. III, were sent for chemical examination and serological test. The report of the Serologist discloses that all the articles contained human blood. The report also confirms that the blood found in the Sari and the napkin as well as in the scrappings of the nails were of the same group, i.e., Group B. We have scrutinised the evidence of P.Ws. 8, 9 and 10 who have testified that just before they took their evening meals, there was a quarrel between the appellant and the deceased and that the quarrel was stopped only when the appellant and the deceased were chastised by the appellant's brother P.W. 8. They have also stated that they heard beating sounds as well as sounds of groaning of Shakuntala coming out of the appellant's room and that soon after they heard these sounds, the appellant came out of the room with the Tangia, M.O. III, declaring that he had killed his wife. P.W. 5 who accosted the appellant on his way to the Rengali Outpost has also stated that the appellant told him and his companions that he had killed his wife and that he was proceeding to the Outpost, This witness has further stated that when they came to know about this, they escorted the appellant to the Outpost. P.W. 5 was cross-examined, but nothing of substance has been elicited from him so as to discredit his evidence.
P.W. 8, the brother of the appellant, has stated that after he heard the groaning sound of Shakuntala, he saw the appellant coming out of his room holding a Tangia and declaring that he had killed his wife. At that time P.Ws. 9 and 10 came near him. This witness has been cross-examined at great length, but nothing of substance has been brought out so as to shake the veracity of the statement of this witness in his examination-in-chief.
The evidence of P.W. 9, the wife of P.W. 8, corroborates that of P.W. 8 almost on all material particulars.
The evidence of P.W. 10, the son of the appellant, is also to the same effect.
8. In view of the clinching nature of the evidence on record, we have no manner of doubt that it was the appellant and none else who caused the death of the deceased. The trial court on a proper consideration and appreciation of the evidence on record has rightly returned a verdict of guilty against the appellant.
9. Mr. Das, the learned Counsel for the appellant, submits that the evidence on record does not disclose any motive on the part of the appellant for causing the death of his wife. He has drawn our attention to the evidence of P.Ws. 8, 9 and 10 to show that the couple were living in peace previous to the occurrence.
In a criminal trial involving a charge like the one that we are dealing, the proof of motive is not necessary. However, when motive is not brought out, the court has to scrutinise the evidence thoroughly and with proper care. We have ourselves scanned the evidence of the prosecution witnesses and we do not find any extenuating circumstance in favour of the appellant.
In the result, the appeal in without merit and it is accordingly dismissed. The order of conviction and sentence passed against the appellant by the learned Sessions Judge is confirmed.
S.C. Mohapatra, J.
10. I agree.