1. Iqbal appellant and hi a mother Mst. Tuli were charged for offence under Section 302 read with 384, Indian Penal Code, for murder of Mst. Nisso wife of the former on the night between July 8, and July 9, 1965. Shri B. F. Barlow, Sessions Judge, Karnal, by his judgment dated 81.1-1966, convicted Iqbal under '8. 802, Indian Penal Code, and acquitted Mst. Tuli.
2. The facts of the prosecution case are that about 5 years prior to the occurrence of murder, Iqbal was married to Mst. Niaso, Due to the bad character of Mst. Nisao, the relations between Iqbal and her were strained. They used to frequently quarrel with each other. Consequently Mst. Nisso mostly remained in her father's house. About three weeks before the occurrence Iqbal brought his wife to his house in village Haldana in the district of Karnal where he and his mother were staying. Seeing her behaviour Iqbal grew all the more suspicious regarding her being a woman of easy virtue. About 10 days prior to the occurrence, he belaboured his wife. Neol Singh P, W. 4 and Tnman P. W. 6, who happened to be there, asked Iqbal as to why be had beaten his wife. He told them that his wife was of a bad character and as such he did not; want to keen her in his house. In the evening of July 8, 1965, there took place a quarrel between Mst. NISPO and Mst. Tuli Surja Lambardar P. W. 7 and some other people is the neighbourhood were attracted as a result the loud wrangle. At that time Iqbal gave fist blows and pushes to his wife in the presence of those persons. These witnesses suggested to Iqbal that if he did not like his wife and did not want to keep her in his house, be should send her to her parents. At that time Iqbal replied that it was a matter of honour for him and that he would die rather than live with her. He was advised by these witnesses not to be desperate. The case of the prosecution is that on the night between July 8 and July 9, 1965, Iqbal on exhortation by his mother Mst. Tuli, murdered his wife Mst. Nisso by cutting her neck with Gandasa, Exhibit P-1, which he had borrowed a couple of days before from Bichha, P. W. 10.
3. Iqbal disappeared from his house and was not seen in the village from the morning of July 9. 1965. His mother Mst. Tuli in-formed Neol Singh, P. W. 4 that Iqbal had murdered his wife. Neol Singh lodged the report with the police on July 9, 1965, at 11.15 A.M. at Police Station Samalkha. Roshan Lal, Sub-Inspector, recorded the first information report and proceeded to the spot for investigation. After preparing the inqueat report and after collection of blood-atained earth from the spot, he sent the dead body of the deceased for post mortem examination at 2.80 P. M. He also took in his possession blood-stained shirt, Exhibit P-6, from the person of Mst. Tuli. Dr. Surjan Singh. P. W.3, who performed the post-mortem examination on the body of the deceased at 6.35 P.M. on July 9, 1965, found the following wound on the person of the deceased:
An oblique transverse incised wound 31/2'x 1'on the front of neck on both sides of the middle line just above the pomum adami. In depth it had cut through the muscles, big blood vessels, nerves, air and food passages down to the spine.
The doctor found that stomach of the deceased contained 12 ounces of semi-digested food with good deal of undigested matter. Death, according to the opinion of the doctor, had been caused due to shock, haemorrhage and cutting of air and food passages as a result of the above said injury. According to him, the injury was ante-mortem and sufficient to cause death in the ordinary coarse of nature and had been caused with some sharp-edged weapon. He was of the view that the probable time between the injury and death was a few minutes and that a period of lees than 24 hours could have elapsed between death and the time of the post-mortem examination. When questioned as to how long after the meals the deceased could have expired, he replied that death must have occurred a couple of hours after the last meal. Iqbal remained absent from the village until he contacted Ram Dia Lambardar P. W. 14 on July 18, 1965, and confessed before him that he bad murdered his wife with a Gandasa as she was a woman of bad character and en. treated the witness to render help to him.
4. In course of interrogation on July 18, 1965, Iqbal made a disclosure statement that he had kept blood stained clothes and Gandasa hidden in fuel wood near a berri tree in his house and that he could get the same recovered. His statement, Exhibit PF, was recorded and he got recovered Gandasa Exhibit P. 1, Phali Exhibit P. 2, rope Exhibit P. 8, Ohaddar Exhibit P, 4 and shirt Exhibit P. 5. Man Singh P, W. 1 appeared as a witness saying that at midnight he got awakened because of the drizzling and that when he got up he heard Mst. Tuli Baying to Iqbal to give one Gandasa blow to the deceased. Ghandgi P. W. 8 was examined and stated that Mst. Tuli told him early in the morning that her son Iqbal had murdered his wife and had absconded. Ranbir Singh P, W. 5 also claims to have been informed by Mst. Tuli about the commission of murder of Mst. Nisso by Iqbal. As against the above two witnesses of prosecution, Iqbal in his statement under Section 842, Code of Criminal Procedure, stated that he, his wife and his mother were living jointly in the house. He also stated that his wife re. turned to his house about 20 days before the date of murder. He, however, denied that he suspected her being a woman of bad character. He also admitted that his wife died in the house on the night between July 8 and July 9, 1963. He repudiated the making of disclosure statement and the recoveries made in pursuance thereof. He also went back upon his extra-judicial confession, which he made to Earn Dia P. W. 14. The trial Court has convicted the appellant on the following five pieces of circumstantial and indirect evidence.
The learned Counsel for the appellant has attacked the circumstantial evidence on the grounds that circumstantial evidence by itself is weak evidence and conviction should not be based on it. He urged that the evidence in respect of these circumstances relied upon by the prosecution is not dependable and cannot be the basis of conviction of the appellant.
2. Absconsion of the appellant.
3. Extra-judicial confession.
5. Medical evidence.
5. The evidence of Man Singh P. W. 1 pertaining to the hearing of exhortation on the part of Mst. Tuli to his eon Iqbal has not been believed by the trial Court. The trial Court has not accepted the evidence of Chandgi P. W. 8 to whom the confessional statement was made by Mst. Tuli regarding the commission of murder by her son on the ground of implication of one accused by another. Similarly that part of the testimony of Neol Singh P. W. 4, which related to the communication of the fact by Mst. Tuli that her eon Iqbal bad murdered his wife, was excluded from consideration on the ground of inadmissibility. The evidence of these witnesses has been rightly discarded.
6. On the point of motive, the Counsel for the appellant contended that there was no evidence worth the name to suggest that the trouble between the appellant and his wife was so serious that it could actuate the appellant to take away the life of his wife. He ignored the evidence of four prosecution wit. nesses consistently deposing to the fact that the relations between his wife and the appellant were strained and that the appellant so strongly suspected his wife being of bad cha-raster. Neol Singh P. W. 4 categorically stated that 10/12 days prior to the occurrence of murder, the appellant quarreled with his wife and on enquiry he replied that his wife was a woman of bad character; that he was not prepared to Bend her to her parents; that it was very disgraceful for him to have such a wife and that it was better for him to die rather than to suffer disgrace. This very witness also stated that in the evening immediately prior to the night of the occurrence Iqbal and his mother were found quarrelling with the deceased on the same ground of objection. He is a disinterested witness and there is no reason why his evidence of the fact of bad blood between the husband and the wife should be disbelieved. Tuman P. W. 6 deposed to the fact that 7/8 days before the murder of Mst. Nisso, there was an altercation between the appellant and his wife. He also states that Neol Singh P, W. 4 was present on the occasion, He corroborates Neol Singh that when Iqbal was asked as to why he was maltreating his wife he replied that she bad a bad character. Nothing has been made out in course of cross-examination of this witness to suggest that he is in any way inimically disposed towards the appellant so as to make a false statement. Surja P. W. 7 is another witness who states that 2/3 days before the commission of crime, the appellant and his wife were engaged is altercation. It is his case that on his asking as to what exactly was the reason of the quarrel, the appellant stated in reply that the character of his wife was not good.
Mst. Chhoto P. W. 8, a Member of the village Panchayat, states that 8 days before the occurrence the deceased met her and complained about the beating she had been receiving at the bands of the appellant and her mother. She being a lady member of the village Panchayat is likely to know if the deceased had been repeatedly maltreated by her husband and her mother-in-law. The prosecution have fully brought home to the appellant the existence of motive which seems to have impelled the appellant to murder his wife. The appellant thought that her disgraceful conduct was a slur on his name as her husband and in spite of repeated remonstrations she did not improve and behave and consequently compelled him to do her to death.
7. While levelling his attack against the inference to be drawn from the absence of the appellant from the village for four days from July 9 to July 13, 1965, the Counsel for the appellant invited the attention of the Court to the fact that the appellant, as stated by him, had gone to the village of his brother-in-law. He also stressed that there was no evidence to show that he was present in the village prior to the occurrence. He was present in the house in the evening prior to the night of the occurrence. The learned Counsel for the State brought to our notice the fact that Neol Singh PW. 4 and Tuman PW. 6 stated that when the altercation took place between the deceased on the one hand and the appellant and his mother on the other hand in the evening of July 8, 1965, they were attracted to the house of the appellant and saw the appellant present there. They further asserted that the appellant in reply told them that the cause of trouble between him and his wife was her bad character. As already stated, these two witnesses are of undoubted veracity. This establishes that the appellant was last seen with his wife in the house under the unpleasant circumstance of quarrel between the two. According to medical evidence the murder WAS committed about two hours after the deceased had taken has last meal. The appellant has offered no cogent explanation for his disappearance from the village. In any case, prior to the sunrise on July, 9, 1965 when her mother complained to Neol Singh PW. 4, the appellant was not in the village. Mst. Toli, mother of the appellant, was sleeping with the deceased in the house apart from the appellant being there in the evening. It is strange that Mst. Tuli would not know as to how exactly his daughter-in-law had been done to death and she would not raise hue and cry if some stranger had assaulted her and report the matter immediately to the police or inform the Lainbar-dar or Sarpanah of the village. It is also equally surprising that the appellant himself will not return to the village 4,5 days after the murder of his wife had been committed. The reason assigned by him for his absence from the village for the said period is flimsy and untenable.
8. It was argued on behalf of the appellant that the actual words constituting the extra-judicial confession of the appellant had not been reproduced is his statement by Rim Dia Lambardar PW. 14, to whom the confession was made. It is not necessary for a witness to whom extra-judicial statement has been made by an accused person, to reproduce the very words used by him if the substance of the confessional statement, as made by an accused person, is given by the witness to whom it is made. Such statement could be used against the accede person. Bam Dia PW. 14 stated in his examination-in-chief as under:--
Iqbal accused confessed before me that he had murdered his wife as she was of bad character and requested me to help him.
Again in course of cross-examination, when asked about the making of the confessional statement by the Counsel for the appellant, he reiterated as follows:--
Iqbal had told me that he had killed his wife with the Gandasa.
No reason has been suggested on behalf of the appellant for discarding this evidence on the ground of Ram Dia being an interested witness or his evidence being otherwise undefendable.
9. As referred to above, Gandasa Exhibit P. 1, Phali Exhibit P. 2, Rope Exhibit P. 3, Chadder Exhibit P. 4 and Kurta Exhibit P. 5, were recovered in pursuance of a disclosure, statement made by the appellant. The disclosure statement made by the appellant is Exhibit PF and the recovery memo drawn up is Exhibit PD. The former is attested by Prahlad Singh P. W. 12 and Sher Singh P. W. 11 and the latter by Neol Singh P. W. 4 and Prahlad Singh P. W. 12. Roahan Lal P. W. 15, who, in course of investigation of the case, recorded the disclosure statement and also drew up the recovery memo, testified to the correctness of these recoveries. All these five articles including Gandasa Exhibit P. 1 have been found by the Serologist to be stainted with human blood. This Gandasa was borrowed by the appellant two days prior to the occurrence from Bichha P. W. 10. The fact that Gandasa Exhibit P. 1 is stained with human blood and so also the Chaddar and the shirt connects the appellant with the commission of the crime. I see no reason to differ from the opinion taken by the trial Court regarding the credibility of the witnesses who attested the recovery of these incriminating articles.
10. The cut of the neck is stated by the doctor to be one which could be caused with a sharp-edged weapon. The recovered blood, stained Gandasa is a sharp-edged weapon. The fatal injury caused on the neck of the deceased almost severing the head from the body could be caused with the Gandasa. The time of the death given by the doctor is a couple of hours after the lust meal was taken. This suggests that the deceased was done to death two hours after the members of the family took their meals. That must have been on the night between July 8 and July 9, 1965.
11. The above referred to four circumstances, that is, the motive on the part of the appellant, his absconsion from the village for four days, his extra-judicial confession and recoveries including the blood-stained Gandasa borrowed by him a couple of days before the occurrence along with the medical evidence constitute sufficient evidence to compel the inference of the appellant being responsible for the murder of his wife.
12. The appellant forwarded his appeal through Jail with his signature appended to the solitary and yet comprehensive ground. In that ground the appellant admitted that the deceased was carrying on with one Balvant Singh, that she was a woman of bad character, that she was bringing disgrace to the family, that it is on account of that reason that the appellant and his mother dissuaded her from that dishonorable course of conduct, that she was seen at 10.00 p. m. on the date of occurrence committing illegal inter, course with Balvant Singh, that she did not give any reply when remonstrated and that consequently the appellant lost control and murdered her. He further added that he was sorry that he could not make correct statement before the Sessions Judge as he was not properly guided by the Advocate and that mere; may be shown to him.
13. We thought it proper to confirm I that ground had been written at his instance, it was read out to him and was voluntary. In his statement which he made on 17th June, 1968, before us, he stated that the grounds of appeal had not been written at his dictation that the grounds were drawn up by the Deputy Superintendent of Jail and that he thumb-marked the same without having been read out to him. He further stated that the story given in the grounds of appeal was not correct and that whatever he had stated at the trial was correct. In the face of the statement made by the appellant, we have thought it proper not to take any notice of the facts admitted by him against himself.
14. For the reasons given above, the appeal fails and is dismissed.