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Judgments of Supreme Court of India and High Courts

Gopal Mondal & Others vs Unknown on 13 February, 2020

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1 13.02.2020
AB/ Court No.1
SDE C.R.A. 406 of 2019
With
C.R.A.N. 3041 of 2019

In the matter of : Gopal Mondal Others

…Appellants/
Petitioners.

Mr. Subhabrata Chowdhury,
Mr. Biswajit Goswami,
Ms. Tripti Pandey …for the Petitioner/Appellants.

Ms. Kakali Chatterjee …for the State.

In re : C.R.A.N. 3041 of 2019

This is an application for suspension of sentence and grant of bail

pending disposal of the appeal against a judgment and order of conviction passed

by the learned Additional Sessions Judge at Amta, Howrah in Sessions Trial

No.19 of 2013 arising out of Joypur Police Station Case No.91 of 2011 whereby

the appellants / applicants were held to be guilty of offences punishable under

Sections 498A/302 of the Indian Penal Code (for short IPC). The appellants /

applicants were sentenced to life imprisonment.

The criminal case was initiated on the basis of a suo motu written

complaint lodged by S.I. Partha Sarathi Halder on August 7, 2011. The complaint

was lodged on the basis of information received that Rakhi Mondal (victim), wife

of Gopal Mondal (first accused) had died by consuming poison. Inquest was

conducted over the deadbody of the victim and Surathal Report was prepared.

The deadbody was sent for post mortem.

Pursuant to investigation, charges were framed against the three accused

persons under Sections 498A/302/201/120B IPC.

The learned Trial Judge analyzed the evidence on record and convicted

the accused persons being the husband and the parents in law of the victim

under Sections 498A/302 IPC.

There were no eyewitnesses. The conviction is based entirely on

circumstantial evidence.

We have gone through the evidence on record and the judgment under

appeal. We notice that the post mortem doctor opined that cause of death is “due

to shock and hemorrhage due to abovenoted spleenic rupture and head injury,

which were ante mortem and homicidal in nature”.
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In cross-examination, the doctor stated “if someone is assaulted with the

help of hard substance over the head then blood must be found below the scalp”.

The learned Trial Judge noted that the post mortem report indicates that

there was blood below the scalp and from this the learned Judge inferred that the

victim must have been assaulted prior to her death. However, we notice that no

weapon was recovered by the police.

Further, the defence case was that the victim consumed poison, which

caused her death. The viscera report of the victim was sent for forensic

examination but the report was not brought on record. This also, prima facie,

appears to be a loophole in the prosecution case.

We have considered the assimilation of legal evidence by the learned Trial

Judge. On an overall assessment of the totality of the facts and circumstances of

the case and quality of evidence on record, we cannot be persuaded to hold, at

this stage, that the appellants / applicants do not have any arguable case for

acquittal at the final hearing of the appeal.

Apart from the above, we are also told that the second and third accused

persons were on bail during trial. It is not the prosecution case that the said two

persons jumped bail or misused or abused bail in any manner or breached any

condition of bail. They have been in custody since June 24, 2013 which was the

date of pronouncement of judgment by the learned Trial Judge. The first accused

has also been in custody for almost nine years since his arrest in June 2011.

There is no likelihood of this appeal being heard in the near future. Hence,

following the ratio laid down by the Hon’ble Supreme Court in Kashmira Singh

Vs. State of Punjab (1977) 4 SCC 291; Akhtari Bi (Smt) Vs. State of Madhya

Pradesh (2001) 4 SCC 355; Surinder Singh Vs. State of Punjab (2005) 7 SCC

387; Sunil Kumar Vs. Vipin Kumar Ors. (2014) 8 SCC 868; Daler Singh Vs.

State of Punjab 2017 Cri. L J 2337; Husain Anr. Vs. Union of India (2017)

5 SCC 702; Dharampal Vs. State of Haryana 2017 Cri L J 2137 and Batchu

Rangarao Ors. Vs. State of Andhra Pradesh : 2017 (2) ALD (Cri) 78 (AP), the

appellants / applicants are entitled to grant of suspension of sentence pending

disposal of the appeal.

In the result, this application succeeds. The sentence of imprisonment

and fine imposed on the applicants by the learned Trial Court will stand

suspended. The applicants shall be released on bail on furnishing a bail bond of
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Rs.10,000/- each (Rupees Ten Thousands only) with two sureties of like amount

each, one of whom must be local, to the satisfaction of the learned convicting

court and on condition that the applicants shall meet the Officer in Charge of the

concerned Police Station once a month between 1st and 5th starting from March,

2020 and further that they shall be personally present or shall be represented

before the Court when the appeal is taken up for hearing.

We clarify that the observations made herein are prima facie in nature

and have been made only for the purpose of disposing of the interlocutory

application for disposal of sentence and grant of bail pending disposal of the

appeal. The observations shall have no bearing at the final hearing of the appeal.

The application being C.R.A.N. 3041 of 2019 is, accordingly, disposed of.

Urgent Photostat Certified copy of this order, if applied for, be supplied

expeditiously after complying with all necessary legal formalities.

(Thottathil B. Radhakrishnan, C.J.)

( Arijit Banerjee, J.)

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