Circumstances Should Be Complete Without Gaps In Chain Of Events To Establish Offence of Murder: Supreme Court

  • Ratna Singh
  • 12:35 PM, 24 Feb 2021

The Supreme Court of India on 23rd February, 2021 relying upon the chain of circumstantial evidence held the appellant to be liable under S.302 of IPC rather than S.304 part II of IPC. Thus, reiterated the judgment given by the concerned trial court and the High Court previously.

The Division Bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan and Ajay Rastogi rejected the appeal of the appellant who moved the SC urging that prima facie, his case does not fall under Section 302 IPC but may fall under Section 304 Part II IPC. The bench observed that,

“The present case squarely rests on circumstantial evidence where the death has been caused by homicidal violence and the appellant who had himself taken the deceased to the hospital and made a false statement to the Doctor that she had suffered a cardiac arrest which was found to be false after the post-mortem report was received and the nature of injuries which were attributed on the body of the deceased of which a reference has been made clearly establish that it is the case where none other than the accused appellant has committed a commission of crime with intention to commit the murder of his own wife who was at the advanced stage of pregnancy.”

The facts of the present case date back to 2007 when the trial court held the appellant (R. Damodaran) liable under s. 302 of IPC guilty of murder of his wife (Nirmala Mary) while she was at the advanced stage of her pregnancy. He was awarded life imprisonment by the learned trial Judge by judgment dated 3rd September, 2007 and confirmed by the High Court by judgment impugned dated 10th July, 2009.

“The case of the prosecution was that the appellant attacked with a wooden log and caused her death because of homicidal violence. The defence plea was that it was a cardiac arrest. Even from the evidence of the Doctor PW 6, it would be clear that when the accused appellant brought the deceased to the hospital, she was dead but still 5 informed the Doctor that she had a cardiac arrest. In the medical opinion canvassed through PW 7 Doctor, it was opined that she died out of shock and haemorrhage due to thoracic injuries because of homicidal violence.”- noted the appeal.

“In addition to other circumstances, the prosecution was able to establish that it was none other than the appellant who had committed the crime and he wanted to show his innocence by taking the deceased to the hospital and made a false statement that she suffered a cardiac arrest which on receipt of the post-mortem certificate, was found to be false where it was established that the death was caused by homicidal violence.”- the appeal stated.

Taking into account the factual matrix of the present case the court relied upon the landmark judgments of SC in Sharad Birdhichand Sarda Vs. State of Maharashtra (1984) and Padala Veera Reddy Vs. State of Andhra Pradesh and Ors. 1989 and observed that,

“Taking note of the principles which has been laid down by this Court and the circumstances which the prosecution has established in a chain of events leave no matter of doubt that it is none other than the appellant who had committed the crime of murdering his own wife who was at the advanced stage of pregnancy, and taken the dead body to the hospital and made a false statement that she had got a cardiac arrest. Initially, the FIR was registered on suspicion but after the autopsy on the body of the 10 deceased was conducted, taking note of the post-mortem report, a case under Section 302 IPC was registered. Such incriminating links of facts could, if at all, have been explained by the appellant and nobody else, they being personally and exclusively within his knowledge. Of late, Courts have, from the falsity of the defence plea and false answers given to Court, when questioned, found the missing links to be supplied by such answers for completing the chain of incriminating circumstances necessary to connect the person concerned with the crime committed.”

The SC held that the present case squarely rests on circumstantial evidence where the death has been caused by homicidal violence and it has been made clear that it is the case where none other than the accused appellant has committed a commission of crime with intention to commit the murder of his own wife who was at the advanced stage of pregnancy.

The bench cancelled the bail granted on 6th April, 2018 to the appellant and directed him to surrender within four weeks from 23rd Feb, 2021 and undergo the remaining part of sentence. Also, if he fails to surrender, action may be taken in accordance with law.

(Case Title: R.Damodaran v The State represented by the Inspector of Police,2021)

 

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