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Lakshmipathi vs State Of Karnataka on 12 February, 2018

1

R
IN THE HIGH COURT OF KARNATAKA
AT BENGALURU

DATED THIS THE 12TH DAY OF FEBRUARY, 2018

PRESENT

THE HON’BLE MR.JUSTICE RAVI MALIMATH
AND
THE HON’BLE MR.JUSTICE K. SOMASHEKAR

CRIMINAL APPEAL No. 1000 of 2012

BETWEEN:

LAKSHMIPATHI
S/O CHANDRAPPA,
AGED ABOUT 23 YEARS,
R/O HEBBAKA VILLAGE,
TUMAKURU TALUK
AND DISTRICT – 572 101.

(NOW IN JUDICIAL CUSTODY)
… APPELLANT

(BY SRI. HASHMATH PASHA, ADVOCATE)

AND:

STATE OF KARNATAKA BY
TUMAKURU RURAL POLICE STATION,
TUMAKURU DISTRICT – 572 101.

(REPRESENTED BY LEARNED
STATE PUBLIC PROSECUTOR)
… RESPONDENT

(BY SRI. VIJAYA KUMAR MAJAGE, ADDL. SPP)
2

THIS CRIMINAL APPEAL IS FILED UNDER SECTION
374(2) OF THE CODE OF CRIMINAL PROCEDURE PRAYING
TO SET ASIDE THE ORDERS OF CONVICTIONS DATED
13.08.2012 AND SENTENCES DATED 14.08.2012 PASSED
BY THE PRESIDING OFFICER, FAST TRACK COURT – II,
SESSIONS, TUMAKURU IN S.C.NO. 59 OF 2011 –
CONVICTING THE APPELLANT-ACCUSED FOR THE
OFFENCE PUNISHABLE UNDER SECTION 498A AND 302 OF
IPC. THE APPELLANT-ACCUSED IS SENTENCED TO
UNDERGO IMPRISONMENT FOR 3 YEARS AND TO PAY A
FINE OF RS. 5,000/- , IN DEFAULT TO PAY FINE, HE SHALL
UNDERGO IMPRISONMENT FOR 6 MONTHS FOR THE
OFFENCE PUNISHABLE UNDER SECTION 498A OF IPC.
THE APPELLANT-ACCUSED IS SENTENCED TO UNDERGO
IMPRISONMENT FOR LIFE AND TO PAY FINE OF RS.
10,000/-, IN DEFAULT TO PAY FINE, HE SHALL UNDERGO
6 MONTHS OF IMPRISONMENT FOR THE OFFENCE
PUNISHABLE UNDER SECTION 302 OF IPC. BOTH THE
SUBSTANTIVE SENTENCES SHALL RUN CONCURRENTLY.

THIS CRIMINAL APPEAL HAVING BEEN HEARD AND
RESERVED FOR JUDGMENT ON 30.01.2018 COMING ON
FOR PRONOUNCEMENT THIS DAY, K. SOMASHEKAR J.,
DELIVERED THE FOLLOWING:

JUDGMENT

1. The case of the prosecution, in brief, is as

follows:-

The deceased Latha and the accused were in love

with each other. Thereafter, the parents of both the
3

deceased and accused consented for their marriage and

their marriage was solemnized 10 months prior to her

death in the office of the Sub-Registrar, Tumakuru.

Thereafter, the accused started to ill-treat her stating that

she was not good looking woman and if she dies, he would

marry with another lady and subjected her to both mental

and physical harassment by ill-treating and assaulting her

and sent her back to her parent’s house to bring money.

At that time, the complainant gave gold ornaments worth

15 grams and thereafter, the accused shifted his residence

from Baddihalli to Oorukere village and started to lead

their matrimonial life. There also, the accused started to

harass her both mentally and physically. On 22.10.2010,

in between 3.00 p.m to 5.00 p.m, the accused picked up

quarrel with the deceased and committed her murder by

strangulating her neck manually. Based on the complaint

lodged by Smt. Savithramma (PW.1), the mother of the

deceased on 22.10.2010 at 8.30 p.m, the respondent

police registered a case in crime No.331/2010 initially for

the offence punishable under Sections 498-A and 306 of
4

IPC. On receipt of the postmortem report and opinion

from the doctor, and after completion of investigation, filed

charge sheet against the accused for the offences

punishable under Sections-498-A, 302 of the Indian Penal

Code.

2. The accused pleaded not guilty and claimed to

be tried. In order to prove its case, the prosecution

examined 14 witnesses, marked 15 documents as at

Ex.P.1 to P.15. By the impugned judgment of conviction

and order of sentence, the Trial Court convicted the

accused for the offences punishable under Sections 498-A

and 302 of the Indian Penal Code and sentenced him to

undergo imprisonment for three years and to pay fine of

Rs.5,000/- for the offence punishable under Section-498-A

and to undergo imprisonment for life and to pay fine of

Rs.10,000/-, in default to undergo imprisonment for 6

months, for the offence punishable under Section-302 of

IPC. Both the sentences were ordered to run concurrently.
5

Being aggrieved by the same, the present appeal is

preferred.

3. Shri. Hasmath Pasha, learned Advocate

appearing for the appellant vehemently contended that the

marriage between the accused and the deceased was a

love marriage and hence, question of he subjecting the

deceased for mental and physical harassment does not

arise. Secondly, he contended that since there was no

independent eye-witnesses to incident and as, on the date

and time of the death of the deceased, the accused was

not at all present in the house, the prosecution has not

established the chain of circumstances to implicate the

accused-appellant in the alleged murder of the deceased.

The trial Court has failed to appreciate the evidence on

record in a proper perspective and misdirected itself in

convicting the accused. There is no material evidence to

indicate that the accused had committed the offences

alleged against him and that the statements of the

witnesses cannot be believed, as they are all close
6

relatives of the deceased. Hence, he pleads that the appeal

be allowed and the accused be acquitted for the offences

alleged against him.

4. On the other hand, Shri. Vijayakumar Majage,

learned Additional State Public Prosecutor contends that

evidence of Smt. Savithramma (PW.1), the mother of the

deceased, Renukaprasad (PW.8), elder brother of the

deceased, Manjula (PW.4), Manjanna (PW.5), Palaksha

(PW.6), Ramakrishna (PW.7) who have clearly narrated

the manner in which the accused subjected the deceased

Latha to both mental and physical harassment. The

evidence of the relatives of the deceased, coupled with the

medical evidence amply proves the guilt of the accused.

He submits that in view of the substantial material

evidence led in by the prosecution, no fault could find in

the impugned judgment of conviction and order of

sentence passed by the trial court and hence, he pleads for

dismissal of the appeal.

7

5. We heard learned counsel for the appellant and

Additional S.P.P. for the respondent-State and examined

the records.

6. Upon hearing the learned counsels and in view

of the above mentioned rival contentions, the point that

arises for consideration is as follows:

“Whether the Trial Court was justified
in accepting the medical evidence alone to
arrive at a conclusion of convicting the
accused-appellant for the offence punishable
under Section-302 of IPC., in the absence of
eyewitness to the incident?”

7. PW.1 is the mother of the deceased and

complainant PW.2 is the owner of the house where the

accused and the deceased were residing. PW.3, 4, 5, 6, 7

and 9 are the relatives of the deceased. PW. 8 is the

brother of the deceased. PW.10 is the doctor who

conducted postmortem report over the dead body of

deceased Latha. PW.11 is the engineer who prepared

sketch in respect of scene of appearance. PW.12 and 14
8

are the police personnel who conducted the investigation

of the case. PW.13 is the Taluk Executive Magistrate who

conducted inquest Mahazar over the dead body of the

deceased.

8. Smt. Savithramma (PW.1) who is the mother

of the deceased and the complainant, lodged complaint as

per Ex.P.1. She has stated in her evidence that the

accused and her daughter were in love with each other and

hence, their marriage was performed 10 months prior to

her death in the office of the Sub Registrar, Tumakuru.

Thereafter the deceased Latha used to inform her that the

accused subjecting her both mental and physical

harassment stating that she was not looking fair and if she

dies, he would get marriage with another lady. Hence, she

gave gold ornaments worth 15 grams and also lodged

complaint to Kyathsandra Police about the ill treatment

meted out to her daughter as per Ex.P. 4 who in turn

advised the accused to look after her daughter Latha in a

proper manner. Thereafter the accused shifted his house

to Urukere Village and started to live there. There also, he
9

used to assault her and same has been informed to her by

her daughter through phone and in that regard Palaksha,

Krishnappa, Jagganna, Manjula and the complainant

visited the house of the accused and advised him not to

give torture to her daughter. On 22.10.2010 at about

4.30-5.00 p.m., the accused himself informed her over

phone that her daughter Latha died in his house.

Immediately, she and other relatives went to the house of

the accused and saw that her daughter Latha’s dead body

lying on the mat and at that time accused was not present

in the house. Suspecting that some foul has been played

by accused, she lodged complaint at 7.30 p.m. on the

same date. She has further deposed that subsequently

she discovered a death note written by her deceased

daughter Latha beneath the aluminum container and the

same has been handed over to the police who seized the

same as per Ex.P.3. In that note, her daughter has

written that the accused alone is responsible for her death.

The earlier complaint lodged by the deceased to

Kyathsandra Police against the accused, about the ill
10

treatment given by the accused also got marked through

this witness as per Ex.P.4. Sri. Jagannatha (PW.3),

Manjula (PW.4), Palaksha (PW.6), Renuka Prasad (PW.8),

H.M. Kumar (PW.9) are all the close relatives of the

deceased Latha. They also categorically deposed that the

accused who had addicted to bad habits like playing cards,

drinking alcohol and cigarettes and used to give torture to

deceased Latha stating that she is not a fair looking girl

and if she dies, it would be helpful for him to get marriage

with some other lady. On the date of the incident, after

receipt of the information about the death of Latha they

went to the house of the accused and saw the dead body

of Latha was lying on the mat in the house of the accused.

During the course of inquest mahazar also, they narrated

the facts before the Taluk Executive Magistrate stating that

the accused, right from the date of marriage with the

deceased, used to abuse and assault her stating that she

was not a fair looking lady and if she dies, he would marry

with another lady. The evidence of all these witnesses

corroborate with each other on all material aspects.
11

Nothing worthwhile has been elicited in their cross-

examinations to discard their evidence. Hence, we are of

the view that the trial Court was justified in convicting the

accused-appellant for the offence punishable under

Section-498-A of IPC. Thus, it takes us to the main

question as to whether the trial Court was justified in

convicting the accused for the offence punishable under

Section-302 of IPC., in the absence of eyewitness to the

incident?.

9. Dr. N. Rudramurthy (PW.10) who conducted

post mortem over the dead body of deceased Latha has

noticed the following injuries:

1. Contusion measuring 9 cms X 3.6 cms
present over right side of neck, obloquy placed
running upwards.

2. Contusion measuring 10 cms X 3 cms
present over left side of neck obloquy running
upwards.

The doctor has opined that all the injuries are ante

mortem and fresh in nature and the death was between

twelve hours to twenty four hours prior to post mortem
12

examination. Further, he has stated that on dissection of

neck it was observed that blood extravagation seen into

muscles of neck bilaterally below injuries diffusely. He

opined that death is due to Asphyxia as a result of manual

strangulation. In his deposition he has categorically stated

that the external injuries and internal injuries found on the

dead body of the deceased Latha could be caused if a

person strangulates the neck and that as per his opinion it

was a case of murder. Accordingly he had issued post

mortem report as per Ex.P.8. In the cross-examination,

while answering to the suggestion made by the counsel for

the accused, the doctor has categorically stated that there

was an abrasion wound in the form of circle found on the

neck of the deceased and such wound could be caused

while compressing the neck by using hands. He has

further stated that if a neck is forcibly compressed by

using hands, death of such person could be caused.

Hence, the medical evidence clearly indicates that the

death of the deceased Latha was not a suicide, but it was

due to asphyxia as a result of manual strangulation.
13

10. The contention of the learned counsel that, as

the accused was not present in the house at the time of

death of his wife Latha, he has no role in the death of

Latha, could not be accepted for the simple reason, the

prosecution material clearly reveals that it is the accused

and the deceased residing in the house and information

about the death of the deceased Latha was given to

complainant PW.1 by the accused himself. Hence, an

adverse inference can be drawn that on the date and time

of incident, the accused was very much present in his

house it is the accused alone who caused the death of the

deceased. Despite having an opportunity to rebut such an

inference by adducing evidence or stating in his statement

recorded under Section 313 of Cr.P.C., the accused has

failed to lead such rebuttal evidence, in support of his

defence. Hence, we are of the view that there is no

substance in the contentions urged by the learned counsel

for the appellant.

14

11. On careful scrutiny of the death note of the

deceased produced at Ex.P.3 and the averments made in

the earlier complaint lodged by the deceased herself to

Kyathsandra Police as per Ex.P.4 clearly reveals that the

accused subjected his wife deceased Latha to both mental

and physical torture. The deceased was not an illiterate

lady but she was an educated lady. Hence, the Trial Court

by comparing the handwriting found on the death note at

Ex.P.3 with the hand writing found at Ex.P.4, the earlier

written complaint lodged by the deceased against the

accused are one and the same. No fault could be found

with such finding.

12. Further contention that many of the witnesses

examined on behalf of the prosecution are related to the

deceased and therefore, they are not trustworthy

witnesses. It settled principle that if the witnesses are

trustworthy, their evidence has to be accepted, even

though they are related to the deceased. Having heard

the learned counsels, we are of the view that statement of
15

the relatives of the deceased cannot be rejected, merely

on the ground that they are related to the deceased.

Therefore, their evidence would have to be scrutinized with

greater caution. Having considered the evidence of

relatives of the deceased, we are of the view that they

have truthfully narrated the incident, as it happened.

Therefore, their deposition is worthy of credence. Under

these circumstances, such a contention raised by the

learned counsel for the appellant cannot be accepted.

13. The oral evidence of the relatives of the

deceased coupled with the medical evidence clearly proves

the case of the prosecution beyond all reasonable doubts.

Under these circumstances, we do not find any perversity

in the findings recorded by the trial Court calling for

interference from this Court.

14. Learned counsel for the appellant has placed

reliance on the Judgment of the Hon’ble Apex Court, in the

case of Arvind Singh -vs- State of Bihar (2001)6 SCC-

407/AIR 2001 SC 2124) to contend that in the absence of
16

medical certification, and in the absence of corroboration

of evidence of the relatives, the death note written by

deceased Latha as at Ex.P.3 cannot be accepted. We

have carefully perused the above judgment. It was a case

wherein, the deceased therein died on account of burn

injuries and her statement was recorded at the time when

she was alive. The facts in the present case are entirely

different and hence, the dictum laid down by the Apex

Court in the above case cannot be applicable to the

present case. The next judgment of the Hon’ble Supreme

Court, relied on by the learned counsel for the accused-

appellant is in the case of Jose Alial Pappachan -vs- Sub-

Inspector of Police, Koyilandy(2016)10 Supreme Court

Cases-519 to contend that links in the chain of

circumstances has not been established in this case,

linking the involvement of the accused in the death of his

wife and hence, benefit of doubt be extended to the

accused. Here, in this case also, the facts are entirely

different from the facts of the present case. That was a

case wherein the husband of the deceased strangulated to
17

her death and then hanged her. In the case on hand,

there was no such defence taken by the accused and apart

from that the medical evidence clearly reveals that death

was due to asphyxia as a result of manual strangulation.

Hence, the said judgment cannot be made applicable to

the present case. The next citation of the Hon’ble

Supreme Court, referred to by the learned counsel is in

the case of Sohel Mehaboob Shaikh -vs- State of

Maharashtra (2009) 12 Supreme Court Cases 588, to

contend that the prosecution has not established the

theory of last seen together and that there was no

evidence to show that the accused was present in the

room at the time of occurrence of the incident. That was

a case wherein the death was due to burn injuries and the

accused was not present at the time of occurrence.

Whereas, in the present case, it is all along case of the

prosecution that the accused himself had intimated to the

mother of the deceased about the death of his wife and

hence, the above judgment is not helpful to the accused,

inasmuch as, the facts of the present case are entirely
18

different. Hence, we are of the view that none of the

judgments relied on by the learned counsel for the

appellant would be made applicable to the facts of the

present case.

15. No doubt there was no eyewitness to speak

that it was the accused-husband himself committed the

murder of his wife Latha by strangulating her neck

manually. The death of deceased did occur within a span

of 10 months after her marriage, in the house where the

accused and deceased being husband and wife staying

together. The relatives of the deceased, in an unequivocal

terms have stated about the manner in which the accused

subjecting the deceased both mental and physical torture

prior to her death. There was an earlier complaint lodged

by the deceased herself to the police about the ill-

treatment meted to her by the accused. It was not the

case of the defence that the accused was not at present in

the village on the date of incident. To establish that he

was not at all present in the house, he has not adduced
19

any rebuttal evidence either in his statement recorded

under Section-313 of Cr.P.C., or during trial. The time of

death, as mentioned in the postmortem report is between

twelve hours to twenty hours prior to postmortem report.

The death was occurred on 22.10.2010 between 3.00pm to

4.00 p.m, and the postmortem was conducted on

23.10.2010 between 12.20 pm to 1.20 p.m. Indisputably,

the accused himself intimate to his mother-in-law about

the death of the deceased at 4.00 p.m on 22.10.2010. As

noted by the Taluk Executive Magistrate in the inquest

report Ex.P.6, one Ramadevi (PW.2) had seen the

deceased alive at 4.00 p.m on 22.10.2010. The medical

evidence clearly reveals that the death was on account of

strangulation manually. Thus, an inference could be drawn

against the accused that he was very much present in his

house on the date and time of incident.

16. On re-appreciation of the entire material on

record it is seen that the prosecution had established the

chain of circumstances leading up to the death of the
20

deceased. The oral and documentary evidence on record

unerringly point the fingers towards the guilt of the

accused. Therefore, we are of the view that there is no

error or perversity committed by the Trial Court in

appreciating the evidence on record. The reasons

assigned by the Trial Court are just and proper. There is

no perversity in the order of the trial Court. We find no

good ground to interfere with the well considered

judgment of the Trial Court. Consequently, point for

consideration is answered by holding that the Trial Court

was justified in convicting the accused-appellant for the

offence punishable under Section-302 of IPC., solely based

on the medical evidence and the same cannot be said to

be either perverse or that it calls for interference in this

appeal.

Therefore, the appeal being devoid of merit is

dismissed.

21

The judgment of conviction dated 13.08.2012 and

order of sentence dated 14.08.2012, passed by the II Fast

Track Court, Tumakuru in S.C. No.59 of 2011 is affirmed.

Sd/- Sd/-
JUDGE JUDGE

VR

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