AB/ Court No.1
SDE C.R.A. 406 of 2019
C.R.A.N. 3041 of 2019
In the matter of : Gopal Mondal Others
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
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”.
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
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.)