*IN THE HIGH COURT OF DELHI AT NEW DELHI
% Reserved on : 20th December, 2016
Date of decision : 20th February, 2017
+ CRL.A. No.711/2012
POONAM RANI ….. Appellant
Through: Ms. Anu Narula, Adv.
STATE ….. Respondent
Through: Ms. Aashaa Tiwari, APP for
HON’BLE MS. JUSTICE GITA MITTAL
HON’BLE MS. JUSTICE ANU MALHOTRA
GITA MITTAL, J.
1. By way of the instant appeal, the appellant assails the judgment
dated 9th April, 2012 in Sessions Case No. 123/10 arising out of FIR
No. 269/10 under Section 302/34 IPC registered by the police station
Hauz Khas finding her guilty of the commission of offence under
Section 302 of the IPC as well as the consequential order on sentence
dated 21st April, 2012 whereby she was sentenced to undergo rigorous
Crl.App.711/2012 Page 1 of 89
imprisonment for life and to pay a fine of `10,000/-, in default of
payment of fine, sentenced to undergo one year’s simple
2. It was the case of the prosecution that at 2:23 a.m. on 7th
August, 2010 the police control room received a telephonic intimation
from the phone no. 9868910445 to the effect that thieves had got into
house No.39, Shahpur Jat, Asian Game Village near school and have
hit “my grandmother” which information was logged as CRDD no.
224 at 0223 hours by L/Ct. Sonika (PW-18) (Ex-PW18/A) at the
police headquarters and transferred by PW-18 to the police station
3. At the police station, Hauz Khas, the telephonic information
from the Police Control Room was received at about 2:30 am by ASI
Mohd. Swalay (PW20), posted as the Duty Officer at that time, and
recorded by him in the DD register at serial no.58A (Exh.PW20/A).
Through Head Constable Rajan (PW21), also posted at P.S. Hauz
Khas, DD 58A was sent for inquiry to SI Narender Kumar Ojha
4. On receipt of DD No.58A, S.I. Narender Kumar Ojha
proceeded to the spot accompanied Ct. Sunder where they found one
Rajesh taking his injured mother Smt. Shravan Devi to the hospital in
a maruti van. SI Ojha followed them to the All India Institute of
Crl.App.711/2012 Page 2 of 89
Medical Sciences where the doctor declared the injured as having
been brought dead. SI Narender Kumar Ojha (PW31) thereafter
returned to the spot and found that Inspector Rajeev Kumar (PW32)
had already reached there.
5. Prior to his departure from the police station for the spot,
Inspector Rajeev Kumar (PW32) logged DD no. 59B at 2.35 a.m.
6. The Crime team from the South District, finger print bureau as
well as officials from the Forensic Science Laboratory also reached at
7. It appears that the PCR message was also transmitted to the
police by wireless to the police vehicle in the area which had rushed
to the spot. We find that at the police control room, the following
information was conveyed by police van No.E81/ER and stands noted
at 0255 hours that “Shrawan Devi, wife of Bhim Singh, aged 65 years
aur Poonam W/o Kuldeep, age 30 years, dono lady ek kamre mai so
rahi thi, do UK (unknown) ladke huliya UK aaye or Mausi Mausi
kehkar darwaza khulwaya aur Shrawan ke sir me lath mar diya jisse
lady injured ho gayi jise gharwale pehle hi UK (unknown) hospital le
gaye. Ek aadmi darwaze par Poonam ke sath khada ho gaya aur ek
aadmi kamre ke andar gaya. Ye dono kamre se kya saman lekar gaye
Crl.App.711/2012 Page 3 of 89
hai yeh confirm nahi hai. E-2 inform for senior officers notice”. The
source of this information is not revealed.
8. The police control room Form-I further records that the local
police reached at the spot at 0233 hours and that by then, the family
members had taken Sharvan Devi to the Safdarjung Hospital where
the doctors declared her as dead. The family members had brought
the dead body back to the house.
9. At 3.50 a.m. of the 7th of August 2010, by Ct. Rajender
(PW22), P.S. Hauz Khas received telephonic information from Ct.
Kripal Singh posted at AIIMS Hospital to the effect that Sharvan Devi
had been admitted by her son in the hospital on account of a head
injury and that MLC No. 63755/10 had been recorded with regard to
this admission. He had requested that the police be sent to the
hospital. This information was entered in the roznamcha as DD
No.85B (Exh.PW22/A). After it was recorded, DD No.85B was also
handed over by the Duty Officer to HC Rajan (PW21) for handing
over the same to SI Narender Kumar Ojha which he did.
10. So far as the condition of the deceased at the time that she was
examined at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences is concerned,
we find that Dr. Madan Kumar (PW15) who was posted as the
casualty medical officer has carefully recorded the same in the MLC
No. 63755/10 (Exh.PW15/A) who declared Smt. Sharvan Devi as
Crl.App.711/2012 Page 4 of 89
having been brought dead at the time of examination by her son
Rajesh at about 3.33 a.m. The doctor has noted the following injuries
on her person :
“1. Lacerated wound over Lt side of forehead size 4
cm x ½ cm x bone deep
2. Lacerated wound over Lt side forehead size 5 cm x
½ cm x bone deep
3. Lacerated wound over Lt temporal region size 6 cm
x ½ cm x bone deep
4. Lacerated wound over posterior auricular region
size 2 cm x ½ cm
5. Lacerated wound over Lt pinna size 1 cm x ½ cm
6. Dislocation and # of mandible (lower)
7. # of maxilla (upper jaw)
8. # of Lt temporal bone.”
11. In the witness box, Dr. Madan Kumar (PW15) was not in a
position to state as to by which particular object the injuries would
have been caused.
12. After completion of the investigation, a charge sheet was filed
against the appellant on 3rd November, 2010. By an order dated 13th
December, 2010, the case was committed by the ld. Metropolitan
Magistrate for trial to the Court of Sessions. After considering all the
material placed by the investigating agency alongwith the charge
sheet, by an order dated 13th December, 2010, the learned Additional
Crl.App.711/2012 Page 5 of 89
Sessions Judge framed a charge against the appellant for commission
of offence under Section 302 of the IPC.
13. The appellant pleaded not guilty and claimed trial. During trial,
the prosecution examined 33 witnesses in support of the case. The
incriminating circumstances were put to the appellant under Section
313 of the CrPC which she explained. The appellant also opted to
lead defence evidence and examined her father Sh. Ram Kumar as the
witness in her support.
14. After considering the entirety of the matter, by the judgment
dated 9th April, 2012, the appellant was found guilty for commission
of the offence with which she was charged and by the order dated 21 st
April, 2012, sentenced to undergo rigorous imprisonment for life and
to a fine of `10,000/- and in default of payment of fine to one year
simple imprisonment for the offence punishable under Section 302 of
IPC. This judgment and sentence stand assailed by the present appeal.
15. We have heard Ms. Anu Narula, learned counsel for the
appellant and Ms. Aashaa Tiwari, learned APP for the State on this
appeal who have carefully taken us through the entire record of the
16. We propose to examine the submissions in the following
Crl.App.711/2012 Page 6 of 89
I. Investigation at the spot (paras 17 to 27)
II. Inspection of the Crime team (paras 28 to 35)
III. Alleged disclosure statement by the appellant dated 8th
August, 2010 (Ex.PW1/G) and her arrest
(paras 36 to 38)
IV. Autopsy (paras 39 to 47)
V. Subsequent opinion by the doctors on post-mortem
report and seized ‘musal’ (paras 48 to 52)
VI. Forensic examination (paras 53 to 56)
VII. Further investigation (para 57)
VIII. Additional evidence on behalf of the appellant
(paras 58 to 61)
IX. First information of the incident to the police
(paras 62 to 78)
X. Motive for the offence (paras 79 to 111)
XI. Prosecution reliance on the alleged disclosure
statement dated 8th of August 2010 (paras 112 to 117)
XII. Seizure of the iron musal (pestle) (paras 118 to 126)
XIII. Whether the seized metallic piece called ‘musal’ could
be the weapon of offence? (paras 127 to 134)
XIV. Whether entry of intruder plausible? (para 135)
Crl.App.711/2012 Page 7 of 89
XV. Occupation in the property No.39, Shahpur Jat, New
Delhi (paras 136 to 139)
XVI. Entrances to the property (paras 140 to 145)
XVII. Possibility of the assailants being a person or persons
friendly to or known to deceased (paras 146 to 153)
XVIII. Difficulty in identification of the assailants
(paras 154 to 155)
XIX. Nothing unnatural or suspicious about the appellant’s
clothes getting blood stained or her changing them in
the circumstances (paras 156 to 182)
XX. Material evidence not examined – biased investigation
(paras 183 to 200)
XXI. An observation (paras 201 to 207)
XXII. Conclusion (para 208)
XXIII. Result (paras 209 to 210)
We now propose to discuss the above issues in seriatim :
I. Investigation at the spot
17. Inspector Rajeev Kumar (PW32) reached the place of the
incident located on the left side portion of the 5 th floor of the property
no. 39, Shahpur Jat. It is in evidence that this portion of the building
was a flat consisting of three interconnected rooms. There were
splashes of blood on the wall and the roof on one side of the first
Crl.App.711/2012 Page 8 of 89
room. Two diwans (beds) were having a large quantity of blood, a
mattress (gadda), a cover (gudri) and pillow with covers were lying
on the floor of the first room with the pool of blood. The last room,
which was being used as a pooja room had an iron almirah in an open
condition but without the stored articles being disturbed. The middle
room had a bloodstained bed sheet on the double bed and another
sheet on the dressing table. On the double bed, the police also found a
child’s underwear with bloodstains as well as a coca cola coloured
piece of cloth on the double bed.
18. Inspector Rajeev Kumar (PW32) has stated that he made
preliminary enquiries from Smt. Poonam Rani (the present appellant),
who was present, who disclosed that two unknown persons with iron
rods entered in their house in the intervening night at about 12:30 hrs.
They were having a hot conversation with her mother-in-law Smt.
Sharvan Devi. When her mother in law threatened to call the family
members, one of them hit her on her head with an iron rod. As a
result, she fell down on the floor. The other one entered in the pooja
room and both of them went away. After recording the above
statement of Poonam Rani (Exh.PW32/C), Inspector Rajeev Kumar
put his endorsement on the same (Exh.PW32/D) and sent it through
Ct. Sunder (who was accompanying him) to the police station for
registration of the case.
Crl.App.711/2012 Page 9 of 89
19. At the police station Hauz Khas, based on the above rukka, FIR
No. 269/10 Exh.PW20/B was registered at 0515 hours under Section
302/34 of the IPC. Its registration was logged on the 7th of August
2010 as DD No. 62A in the rozanamcha at 0515 hrs.
20. The Duty Officer also handed over a copy of the FIR to
Constable Kuldeep Singh (PW-24) who delivered the same to the
ilaqa magistrate at his residence at Karkardooma as well as to the
senior officers of the police.
21. At the spot, on 7th August, 2010 itself, Inspector Rajeev Kumar
(PW32) lifted the exhibits from the spot in the presence of Head
Constable Kishore Kumar (PW-30) who had joined investigation and
witnessed the seizure memos.
22. From the first room where the deceased Sharvan Devi was
stated to have been assaulted, seizures of articles was effected vide
memo (Exh.PW1/A). These parcels were sealed with the seal of RK
and taken into possession. We extract hereunder the details of the
seizures made vide Exh.PW1/A.
NO. EXHIBITS of PW1/A
1. Blood stained bedsheet of yellow color seized from 6X4
2. Blood stained Shaneel cover of cococola colour lying on
mattron on Diwan.
3. Blood stained blue mattress seized.
4. Blood stained Mattress cover of green, pink and yellow
Crl.App.711/2012 Page 10 of 89
5. One more Blood stained mattress with above mentioned
mattress of white colour.
6. Blood stained bedsheet of yellow colour lying on Poonam
who was sleeping on Diwan.
7. Blood stained mattress on Diwan.
8. Blood stained Pillow with 3 covers.
1st cover of yellow colour and
Another of white, light yellow colour.
9. Blood stained pillow cover of yellow, white colour lying on
mattress, which is lying on floor.
10. Blood stained mattress on floor and glass bangles.
11. Blood stains from wall taken on white paper.
23. Inspector Rajeev Kumar (PW32) then lifted exhibits from the
interconnected second room which included the bloodstained bed
sheet on the double bed, a child’s underwear, a brown colour piece of
cloth and a bed sheet on the dressing table which were duly sealed in
plastic containers with the seal of ‘RK’ and seized vide Exh.PW3/A
more specifically detailed hereunder :
NO. EXHIBITS of PW3/A FROM LIVING ROOM 2ND
1. Blood stained bedsheet lying on double bed of white, blue
colour and with lines on it.
2. Blood stained underwear of child of light yellow and green
3. Piece of cloth of brown colour lying on leg side of bed.
4. Blood stained bedsheet of black, yellow colour with designs
on it lying on dressing table.
Crl.App.711/2012 Page 11 of 89
24. Thereafter, the police team moved to the lobby which was
adjacent to the second room. In the washing machine which was
lying near the wash basin on the right side portion of the lobby, the
police found dirty clothes including a blue coloured bloodstained
chunri; a sky blue coloured ladies suit stained with blood. Two parcels
were prepared of the chunri and the ladies suit in transparent plastic
containers and sealed with the sale of RK and seized vide
Exh.PW1/B. The articles were described specifically in Exh.PW1/B
NO. EXHIBITS of PW1/B
1. One blue colour chunri having light designs about which
Kuldeep told that his mother Smt. Sharvan Devi and wife used
to wear it. Upon checking, the chunri was found having
blood stains. The same was sealed in a plastic box with the
seal of RK..
2. One yellow colour salwar and a sky blue colour kurta having
blue and reddish colour designs. Both the clothes were
having bloodstains about which Kuldeep told that both these
clothes belonged to his wife Poonam. The clothes were
sealed in a plastic container and sealed with the seal of RK. .
25. Additionally, Inspector Rajeev Kumar (PW32) called upon the
appellant to change the pink coloured suit having white, yellow and
blue design which she was wearing at that time and hand over the
same to him. This suit was also put in a plastic container and sealed
with the seal of RK and seized vide Exh.PW1/C.
Crl.App.711/2012 Page 12 of 89
26. Inspector Rajeev Kumar (PW32) has submitted that thereafter
the third room, which was interconnected with the other rooms, was
inspected and an iron “musal” (pestle/grinder) of a “hamamdasta”
(mortar) which was “bloodstained” was found lying on a slab on the
southern side of the room. This musal was also kept in a separate
plastic container and sealed with the seal of RK and seized vide
seizure memo Exh.PW1/D.
27. H.C. Lallu Ram (PW-26) was working as the MHC(M) on the
7th of August 2010 received the sealed parcels on 7th and 8th August,
2010 from Insp. Rajiv Kumar and on 17th August, 2010 from S.I.
Narender Kumar Ojha along with sample seal which he deposited in
the malkhana against entries at Sl.Nos.1917, 1918 and 1932 in
register No.19in this regard (Ex.PW26/A).
II. Inspection of the Crime team
28. In the morning of 7th August, 2010 between 3:00 am to 5:00 am
itself on being informed of the incident by the police control room, an
inspection of the spot was also conducted by SI Jitender Kumar
(PW25) who was posted with the Mobile Crime Team of the South
District, New Delhi. The crime team which inspected the spot
consisted of S.I.Jitender Kumar (PW25), a photographer Ct. Dinesh
(PW-29) and the Finger Print proficient.
Crl.App.711/2012 Page 13 of 89
29. The report of the Mobile Crime Team dated 7th August, 2005
(Exh.PW25/A) suggested to the investigating officer to make efforts
to arrest the culprit and for recovery of the weapon; examine the close
relatives of the deceased and lift exhibits from the scene of the crime
which should be sent to the Forensic Science Laboratory.
30. The prosecution has examined the photographer Ct. Dinesh
(PW29) who stated that he had visited the scene of the crime along
with Crime Team, South District at around 3:00 am on 7th August,
2010 and had taken 34 photographs of the room where the blood was
lying. This witness proved photographs Exh.PW29/A-1 to
Exh.PW29/A-34 and their negatives as Exh.PW29/B-1 to
31. The spot was also inspected by a team from the Forensic
Science Laboratory as well as the Finger Print Bureau who had also
been called by Inspector Atul Kumar, the then SHO of the police
station to do so. Upon receipt of the message at about 9:00 am on the
7th of August 2010, the Director of the Forensic Science Laboratory
Rohini, Delhi deputed Dr. Rajender Kumar, Assistant Director,
Biology (PW9) and Sh. Parshuram Singh (PW16), Sr. Scientific
Officer (Physics) to visit the spot.
32. In his report dated 30th August, 2010 (Exh.PW9/A), Dr.
Rajender Kumar (PW9) reported detection of blood on the walls (front
Crl.App.711/2012 Page 14 of 89
and right side), on the bed (front and left side) and bedding on the
floor of the drawing room. Bloodstained clothes were found on the
bed of the central room while in the last room, one metallic musal was
found on the slab.
33. Sh. Parshuram, the Sr. Scientific Officer (PW16) submitted a
report dated 18th October, 2010 (Exh.PW16/10) similarly reporting
blood like material on the floor as well as the bed of the room and
stains appearing to be bloodstains on the walls of the room. Sh.
Parshuram Singh (PW16) also reported that there was no breakage or
damage of the doors of the room which would have been indicative of
forcible entry and no sign of ransacking of the almirah kept in the
inner most room were observed.
34. The exhibits in sealed parcels were handed over by H.C. Lallu
Ram (PW-26) to Ct. Mukesh Kumar (PW-23) and taken under cover
of a letter dated 27th October, 2010 by him vide RC(PW26/B) and
deposited with the Forensic Science Laboratory, Rohini, Delhi-
110085 against acknowledgement (Ex.PW26/C).
35. Inspector Rajeev Kumar (PW32) also prepared an unscaled site
plan (Exh.PW32/A) of the place of occurrence based on his
inspection. Enquiries were made from occupants of the property
No.39 Shahpur Jat, New Delhi including other relatives, tenants
Wasim, Gokul etc.
Crl.App.711/2012 Page 15 of 89
III. Alleged disclosure statement by the appellant dated 8th
August, 2010 (Ex.PW1/G) and her arrest
36. The investigation was continued by Insp. Rajeev Kumar (PW-
32) on 8th August, 2010 when he was accompanied by H.C. Kishore
Kumar (PW-30) and lady Ct. Mukesh. It is claimed by Inspector
Rajeev Kumar that during interrogation on 8th August, 2010, Smt.
Poonam Rani, the appellant herein broke down and confessed to
having committed the crime on account of the dominant nature of her
mother-in-law Smt. Sharvan Devi over her laziness towards
household activities and her education and her hot talks on the same
issue. It was alleged that upon seeing an advertisement of the Sharda
University on television, Smt. Sharda Devi suggested her to go
through the B.Ed. examination which she ignored whereupon the
mother-in-law taunted the appellant with the words “isse achha hota
mein apne ladke ka byah lagihui ladki te kar deti. As a result, the
appellant lost her senses, went inside the third room, picked up an iron
musal and struck the head of the deceased Sharvan Devi. After the
first blow, Smt. Sharvan Devi threatened Poonam Rani that she would
call the other family members whereupon, the appellant became
scared that if her mother-in-law tells the family members, they will
render her destitute, and so she hammered the musal 10-12 times on
the forehead area of her mother-in-law. After that she is claimed to
have sat near the body of her mother-in-law for one more hour and
Crl.App.711/2012 Page 16 of 89
then created the story of strange persons entering the house and called
her father – Sh. Ram Kumar who made the PCR call from his mobile.
37. In view of this statement, Inspector Rajeev Kumar (PW32)
arrested the appellant vide memo Exh.PW3/E at 3 p.m. in the presence
of her husband Kuldeep Pawar Singh (PW-1), HC Kishore Kumar
(PW-30), L/Ct. Mukesh (PW-19) and SI Narender Kumar Ojha (PW-
31). Her personal search was conducted through L/Ct. Mukesh vide
38. The Investigating Officer Rajeev Kumar (PW32) claims that
thereafter the appellant gave a detailed disclosure statement
(Ex.PW1/G) further stating that the glass bangle, plastic bangles,
kalwa and kara, allegedly worn by the appellant at the time of the
offence had been kept in a plastic bag and hung outside the room in a
balcony. The Investigating Officer has alleged that the appellant
further disclosed that she had washed her bloodstained hands in a
plastic tub which was lying in a bathroom. Pursuant to the disclosure
statement, the bangles, kalwa and kara of Poonam Rani were
allegedly recovered and kept in the plastic container, duly sealed with
the seal of ‘RK’ and taken into possession vide Exh.PW1/H.
Thereafter, on the pointing out of the appellant, according to Inspector
Rajeev Kumar (PW32), hand wash water seen lying in the tub in the
bathroom, was collected in a plastic container, sealed with the seal of
‘RK’ and seized vide memo Exh.PW1/J. The seizures and the memos
were witnessed by H.C. Kishore Kumar.
Crl.App.711/2012 Page 17 of 89
39. It is in evidence that as directed by Inspector Atul Kumar,
S.I.Narender Kumar Ojha (PW31) took the steps to get the autopsy
performed on the body of the deceased. He prepared the death report
dated 7th August, 2010 (Exh.PW31/B) wherein he has mentioned
“suspected homicide” as the apparent cause of death. SI Narender
Kumar (PW31) had made the request on 7th August, 2010 itself to the
autopsy surgeon, AIIMS for conducting a post mortem on the dead
body of Smt. Sharvan (ExhPW31/C).
40. So far as the short summary of the case was concerned, the
witness has referred to the receipt of the call (DD 58A) therein and to
the fact that when he had reached the spot, he had found the deceased
with injuries on her head in the maruti van. There is reference to the
registration of FIR No. 269/10 under Section 302 of the IPC.
41. The post mortem was conducted on 7th August, 2010 by a board
of doctors in the Department of Forensic Medicine, AIIMS which
consisted of Dr. Adarsh Kumar, Associate Professor; Dr. Ashish Jain,
Sr. Resident and Dr. Shashank Pooniya, Jr. Resident on the dead body
of Smt. Sharwan Devi. Its report No.815/10 was recorded in the
handwriting of Dr. Ashish Jain (PW-7) which was proved during trial
by Dr. Adarsh Kumar (PW6) as Exh.PW6/A and was handed over to
SI Narender Kumar Ojha (PW31). In the post-mortem report, the
Crl.App.711/2012 Page 18 of 89
doctors opined the time since death on the report as having been
“About half a day”. The board of doctors had conducted a spot visit
42. The prosecution had also examined Dr. Shashank, Jr. Resident
(PW8) who was member of the board which had conducted the post
43. As per the post-mortem report (Exh.PW6/A), the following
ante-mortem injuries were found on the dead body :
“1. Lacerated wound of size 4 cmx0.5 cmx bone
deep was present or left side of forehead 3 cm above to
the left eyebrow. It was obliquely placed with upper
end of wound closer to the midline, margins of the
wound were irregular and associated haematoma were
present over base and margins of the wound.
2. Lacerated wound of size 5 cm x 0.5 cm x bone deep
was present or left side of forehead 4 cm above to the
left eyebrow. It was obliquely placed with upper end
of wound closer to the midline, margins of the wound
were irregular and associated haematoma were
present over base and margins of the wound.
3. Lacerated wound stellated shape was present over
left temporal region 5 cm above the tip of left mastoid.
Horizontal limb of the wound was measuring 10 x 0.5
cm x bone deep and inferior (lower vertical) limb
measuring 0.5 x 0.2 cm x bone deep margins of the
wound were irregular and associated haematoma were
present over base and margins of the wound.
Crl.App.711/2012 Page 19 of 89
4. Lacerated wound of size 4 x 0.5 cm x bone deep was
present over left temporal region. It was placed
obliquely and situated 8 cm above the tip of left
mastoid margins of the wound were irregular and
associated with haematoma.
5. Lacerated wound of size 3 x 0.5 cm x bone deep,
vertically placed was present over left temporal
region. Lower end of the wound was placed 6.5 cm
above the tip of left mastoid, margins of the wound
were irregular and associated haematoma were
present over base and margins of the wound.
6. Lacerated wound of size 2 x 0.2 cm x cartilage deep
was present horizontally over left ear pinna associated
with bluish colour contusion involving whole of the left
ear pinna and post auricular region. Blood clots were
adherent over base and margins of the wound.
7. Lacerated wound of size 1 x 0.2 cm x bone deep was
present over left post auricular region. It was placed
horizontally and blood clots were adherent over base
and margins of the wound.
8. Lacerated wound of size 1 x 0.2 cm x bone deep was
present over left post auricular region. It was placed
horizontally and situated 1 cm below injury no.7.
Blood clots were adherent over base and margins of
9. Lacerated wound of size 2 x 0.2 cm x skin deep was
present 1.5 cm lateral to left eye. It was placed
obliquely with upper end of the wound closer to
midline. Margins were irregular and blood clots were
adherent over base and margins of the wound.
10. Lacerated wound of size 1.5 x 0.2 cm x bone deep
was present over right occipital region. Margins were
Crl.App.711/2012 Page 20 of 89
irregular and blood clots were adherent over base and
margins of the wound.
11(12). Lacerated wound of size 0.5 x 0.2 cm x bone
deep was present over right temporal region. Margins
were irregular and blood clots were adherent over
base and margins of the wound.
12(13). Multiple contusions, reddish blue in colour
were present diffusely in an area of 33 x 22 cm over
13(14) Contusion reddish blue in colour of size 2 x 2
cm was present over right shoulder region.
14(15) A linear scratch abrasion of size 2 cm was
present over back of the right forearm situated 6 cm
above right wrist joint, red in colour.”
44. Dr. Adarsh Kumar (PW6) testified that the board of doctors
also conducted an internal examination on the dead body and in
Ex.PW6/A, it was further noted as follows :
“Presence of diffused haematoma involving bilateral
fronto-temporo-occipita region of scalp. Depressed
communited fracture of left frontal and temporal bones
of skull. Multiple fissured fractures were radiating
from area of communition, extending over left side of
middle cranial fossa, anterior cranial fossa and
posterior cranial fossa extending upto right side of
anterior cranial fossa. Fractures were associated with
haematoma. Diffuse subdural and subarachnoid
haemorrhage involving both cerebral hemispheres and
base of brain. Communited fracture of left maxilla and
Crl.App.711/2012 Page 21 of 89
fracture dislocation of left mandibular joint with
45. The doctors opined on the cause of death on the post mortem
report Exh.PW6/A, as cranio-cerebral ante-mortem injury caused by
blunt force impact which was sufficient to cause death in the ordinary
course of nature.
46. The doctors who conducted the post-mortem of the deceased,
preserved her clothes, a sample of the hair of the deceased as well as
the blood sample of the deceased in a gauze in packet sealed with the
seal of Department of Forensic Medicine, AIIMS and two sample
seals of the Department of Forensic Medicine, AIIMS. These
preserved samples as well as the sample seals were handed over to the
47. So far as the identification of the dead body is concerned, the
same was effected by her son Rajesh vide Exh.PW31/A and Sh.
Choudhary Bhim Singh, husband of the deceased vide Exh.PW5/A.
The dead body was handed over to her husband Sh. Chaudhary Bhim
Singh vide Exh.PW5/B.
V. Subsequent opinion by the doctors on post-mortem report and
48. It appears that on 25th February, 2011, Inspector Rajeev Kumar
(PW32) moved an application before the board of doctors seeking a
subsequent opinion on the post-mortem report (Ex.PW6/A) and the
Crl.App.711/2012 Page 22 of 89
article recovered by the police as to whether the recovered ‘musal’
(pestle/grinding stone) could be the weapon of offence. The
investigating officer had put the following queries to the doctors for
rendering a subsequent opinion on the post mortem report No.815/10
(Ex.PW6/A) conducted on deceased Shravan Devi:
“1. Was there any sign of forcible entry seen at
the place of occurrence?
2. It is possible that the first blow given to the
deceased while she was sleeping on the Southern side
of the bed in the living room?
3. Is it possible that the pattern of blood found on the
Western wall of the living room are caused by heavy
weapon like moosal of hamamdasta?
4. As per the antemortem injuries on the PM report it
may be opined whether the injuries are caused by
blows of the moosal of hamamdasta?”
49. The board of doctors examined the seized ‘musal’ and perused
the copy of the post mortem report as well as the inquest papers and
noted the absence of photographs of the scene of crime pointing as
“1. Answer to query no.1 – the opinion may be
taken from concerned forensic science team who
visited scene of crime (not a medical opinion) in
consultation with the concerned IO.
2. Answer to query no. 4-the injuries mentioned in the
PM Report from no.1 to 12 could be produced by the
multiple blows with the examined weapon. Injury no.
Crl.App.711/2012 Page 23 of 89
13 is likely to be produced on sudden fall over abroad
surface. Injury no. 13 may be produced by blunt force
impact by object or surface and injury no.14 is
suggestive of sign of struggle.
3. Answer to query no. 2 – after perusal of the page n.
14 of the submitted document containing rough sketch
of scene of crime we are of the opinion that the
possibility of first blow given to deceased while she
was sleeping on the bed in the living room on southern
4. Answer to query no. 3 – although the IO has not
submitted the photographs yet after perusal of the
sketch of crime scene and as well as based on our visit
to crime scene the possibility of blood pattern found on
the western wall produced by repeated blows by blunt
heavy weapon like moosal cannot be ruled out.”
This report was also proved on record as Exh.PW6/B by Dr.
Adarsh Jain (PW6) as well as Dr. Shashank (PW-8).
50. It is noteworthy that the board of doctors had also drawn up a
rough sketch of the musal Exh.PW6/C noting that the musal had a
length of 33 cms; was 4.5 cms wide at the top and weighed 2.7 kgms.
51. It may be noted that the recovered musal was produced in a
plastic jar duly sealed in the court and shown to the witness. Dr.
Adarsh Jain (PW6) had identified the same as being the very musal
Exh.P22 on which the opinion Exh.PW6/B noted above had been
Crl.App.711/2012 Page 24 of 89
52. The recovery of this musal was put to the appellant as question
no.63 with regard to which the appellant said that she had no
knowledge about it.
VI. Forensic examination
53. The Forensic Science Laboratory conducted an examination on
the seized articles which were also subjected to an analysis in the
Biology Division of the Forensic Science Laboratory. By the report
dated 21st February, 2011 (Exh.PW32/G), the Forensic Science
Laboratory reported detection of blood on some of the exhibits. For
expediency and to enable understanding of the discussion in this
judgment, we extract the description of the articles contained in these
30 parcels as found in Exh.PW32/G :
PARCEL : One sealed plastic container sealed with the seal of “RK”
'1' containing exhibit '1'. EXHIBIT One bedsheet having brown stains described as "blood '1' : stained bedsheet". PARCEL : One sealed plastic container sealed with the seal of "RK" '2' containing exhibit '2'. EXHIBIT One cloth having brown stains described as "blood '2' : stained piece of shaneel cover". PARCEL : One sealed plastic container sealed with the seal of "RK" '2A' containing exhibit '2A'. EXHIBIT One cloth described as 'Earth control sample of the piece '2A' : of shaneel colour cover'. PARCEL : One sealed plastic container sealed with the seal of "RK" Crl.App.711/2012 Page 25 of 89 '3' containing exhibit '3'. EXHIBIT : Foul smelling pieces of mattress described as 'blood '3' stained pieces of mattresses'. PARCEL : One sealed plastic container sealed with the seal of "RK" '3A' containing exhibit '3A'. EXHIBIT Pieces of mattress described as 'Earth control sample of '3A' : blood stained mattress'. PARCEL : One sealed plastic container sealed with the seal of "RK" '4' containing exhibit 4. EXHIBIT One gadda described as 'Blood stained pieces of '4' : mattresses'. PARCEL : One sealed plastic container sealed with the seal of "RK" '4A' containing exhibit 4A. EXHIBIT Pieces of gadda described as 'Earth control sample of '4A' : blood stained mattress. PARCEL : One sealed plastic container sealed with the seal of "RK" '5' containing exhibit 5. EXHIBIT One gudra having brown stains described as 'Blood '5' : stained gudra'. PARCEL : One sealed plastic container sealed with the seal of "RK" '5A' containing exhibit 5A. EXHIBIT Piece of gudra (control) described as 'Earth control '5A' : sample of blood stained gudra'. PARCEL : One sealed plastic container sealed with seal of "RK" '6' containing exhibit 6. : EXHIBIT One bedsheet having darker stains described as 'Blood '6' stained bedsheet'. PARCEL : One sealed plastic container sealed with the seal of "RK" '7' containing exhibit 7. Crl.App.711/2012 Page 26 of 89 EXHIBIT : One cloth piece having brown stains described as 'Piece '7' of blood stained mattress'. PARCEL : One sealed plastic container sealed with the seal of "RK" '7A' containing exhibit '7A'. EXHIBIT One cloth piece described as 'Earth control sample of '7A' : blood stained mattress'. PARCEL : One sealed plastic container sealed with the seal of "RK" '8' containing exhibit '8'. EXHIBIT One pillow cover having brown stains described as '8' : 'Blood stained pillow cover'. PARCEL : One sealed cloth parcel sealed with the seal of "RK" '8A' containing exhibit '8A'. EXHIBIT One pillow with cover having brown stains described as '8A' : 'Blood stained pillow with cover'. PARCEL : One sealed cloth parcel sealed with the seal of 'RK' '9' containing exhibit '9'. EXHIBIT One pillow with cover having brown stains described as '9' : 'Pillow with cover'. PARCEL : One sealed plastic container sealed with the seal of "RK" '10' containing exhibit '10'. EXHIBIT Pieces of bangles described as 'Picas of broken bangles'. '10' : PARCEL : One sealed plastic container sealed with the seal of "RK" '11' containing exhibits '11a' and '11b'. EXHIBIT Scraping of wall described as 'scrubbed blood stains'. '11a' : EXHIBIT '11b' Scraping of wall described as 'Earth control'. : PARCEL : One sealed plastic container sealed with the seal of "RK" '12' containing exhibit '12'. Crl.App.711/2012 Page 27 of 89 EXHIBIT : One bedsheet having brown stains described as 'Blood '12' stained bedsheet'. PARCEL : One sealed plastic container sealed with the seal of "RK" '13' containing exhibit '13'. EXHIBIT One underwear having very small brown stains at few '13' : places described as 'Blood stained underwear'. PARCEL : One sealed plastic container sealed with the seal of "RK" '14' containing exhibit '14'. EXHIBIT : One cloth piece. '14' PARCEL : One sealed plastic container sealed with the seal of "RK" '15' containing exhibit '15'. EXHIBIT One bedsheet having brown stains. '15' : PARCEL : One sealed plastic container sealed with the seal of "RK" '16' containing exhibit '16'. EXHIBIT One metallic piece described as 'Moosal'. Hair could not '16' : be detected on exhibit '16' i.e metallic piece. PARCEL : One sealed plastic container sealed with the seal of "RK" '17' containing exhibit '17'. EXHIBIT One chunni having brown stains. '17' : PARCEL : One sealed plastic container sealed with the seal of "RK" '18' containing exhibits '18a' and '18b' described as 'Blood stained pillow cover'. : One lady's shirt having brown satins. EXHIBIT '18a' : EXHIBIT One salwar having brown stains. '18b' Crl.App.711/2012 Page 28 of 89 PARCEL : One sealed plastic container sealed with the seal of "RK" '19' containing exhibits '19a' and '19b'. EXHIBIT : One lady's shirt. '19a' EXHIBIT : One salwar having brown stains. '19b' PARCEL : One sealed plastic container sealed with the seal of "RK" '20' containing exhibit '20a', '20b', '20c' and '20d'. EXHIBIT One metallic bangle. '20a' : EXHIBIT '20b' One plastic bangle. : EXHIBIT '20c' One glass bangle. : EXHIBIT One kalava. '20d' : PARCEL : One sealed plastic container sealed with the seal of "RK" '21' containing exhibits '21. EXHIBIT Dirty liquid described as 'hand washed water'. '21' : PARCEL : One sealed plastic container sealed with the seal of "MSL '22' DEPARTMENT OF FORENSIC MEDICINE AIIMS NEW
DELHI” containing exhibits ’22a’ and ’22b’.
One lady’s shirt having brown stains.
EXHIBIT '22a' : EXHIBIT One salwar having brown stains. '22b' : PARCEL : One sealed cloth parcel sealed with the seal of "MSL DEPARTMENT OF FORENSIC MEDICINE AIIMS NEW Crl.App.711/2012 Page 29 of 89 '23' DELHI" containing exhibit '23' kept in a plastic container.
Bunch of hairs described as ‘Hairs’. Since no hair could
EXHIBIT : be detected on exhibit ’16’ i.e ‘Metallic piece’, hence no
’23’ microscopical examination for hair comparison.
PARCEL : One sealed envelope sealed with the seal of “MSL
’24’ DEPARTMENT OF FORENSIC MEDICINE AIIMS NEW
DELHI” containing exhibit ’24’.
EXHIBIT : Brown guaze cloth piece described as ‘Blood in Gauze’.
54. In Exh.PW32/G, the Laboratory reported detection of blood on
Exhibit Nos. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 8A, 9, 10, 11a, 12, 13, 15, 16, 17,
18a, 18b, 19b, 22a, 22b, 23 and 24.
55. It is noteworthy that during the autopsy at AIIMS, a blood
sample of the deceased was preserved in a brown gauze cloth piece
which was also sealed with the seal of MS and handed over to the
police which was subjected to a serological examination and the
report was submitted by the Biology Division (Exh.PW32/H).
56. So far as the blood grouping of the deceased is concerned, as
per Ex.PW32/H, the same was identified to be of ‘A’ group on the
bloodstained gauze cloth piece. The same blood group was identified
on the several articles including the clothing which the deceased
(Exhs.22(a) and 22(b)), the clothes of the appellant (Exhs.18(a) and
Crl.App.711/2012 Page 30 of 89
18(b)) as well as Ex.Nos.1, 2, 2A, 3, 3A, 4, 4A, 5, 5A, 6, 7, 7A, 8, 8A,
9, 10, 11a, 11b, 12, 13, 15, 16, 17, 18a, 18b, 19b, 22a, 22b, 23 and 24.
VII. Further investigation
57. The Investigating Officer had also collected the PCR form
(Exh.PW18/A); on 8th August, 2010 received the seal of RK from HC
Kishore vide Exh.PW32/B; collected the crime team report
(Exh.PW25/A); the finger print bureau report and the FSL report
(Exh.PW9/A); the report of the Physics Division (Ex.PW16/A).
VIII. Additional evidence on behalf of the appellant
58. It may be noted that while hearing in the appeal was underway,
we were informed by Ms. Anu Narula, learned counsel for the
appellant that the appellant’s husband Sh. Kuldeep Panwar Singh had
filed a petition being HMA No. 182/2011 under Section 13(1)(ia) of
the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 seeking dissolution of their marriage by
a decree of divorce on account of cruelty. It was further submitted
that the primary ground on which the divorce was being sought, was
the appellant’s conviction by the judgment which has been challenged
in the present appeal.
59. The appellant filed Crl.M.A.No.18396/2016 praying for taking
additional evidence by way of certified copies of certain proceedings
in HMA No. 182/2011 on record. Pursuant to our orders, the record
Crl.App.711/2012 Page 31 of 89
of HMA No. 182/2011 was called for and placed before us on 29 th
November, 2016. We had heard learned counsel for the parties on this
application for taking additional evidence on record on behalf of the
appellant. It was pointed out that the appellant’s husband Kuldeep
Panwar Singh, who had testified as PW1 in the criminal trial, had filed
the petition under Section 13(1)(ia) of the Hindu Marriage Act on or
about 10th February, 2011 (originally registered as HMA No.208/11
was presently pending as HMA 182/011); in which proceedings
Kuldeep Panwar Singh had tendered his affidavit by way of evidence
dated 26th September, 2012 and had been subjected to a detailed cross
examination on several dates including 12th March, 2013; 8th
November, 2013; 15th November, 2014; 20th July 2016; 4th August,
2016; 11th August, 2016 and 16th August, 2016. The certified copies
of the petition as well as the evidence of Kuldeep Panwar Singh
(PW1) were placed before us. It was contended that in his evidence in
the divorce petition, PW1 had made important disclosures which
would impact the adjudication in the criminal case.
60. On a consideration of the prayer made in the application, noting
our jurisdiction as an appellate court to take additional evidence by
virtue of Section 391 of the CrPC, by our order dated 29th November,
2016, the prayer of the appellant to lead additional evidence was
allowed. We had consequently called for the record of the divorce
Crl.App.711/2012 Page 32 of 89
proceedings and summons were also issued to Kuldeep Panwar Singh
(PW1) to appear for his further examination.
61. Certified copies of the divorce petition under Section 13(1)(ia)
of the Hindu Marriage Act and other pleadings were permitted to be
filed on court record. The further statement of Sh. Kuldeep Panwar
Singh (PW1) was recorded on the 14th of December 2016, who
compared the above certified copies with the record of the original
record of HMA No.182/2011 and proved the divorce petition as
Exh.CW1/B; his evidence by affidavit as Exh.CW1/A; his statement
dated 26th September, 2012 as Exh.CW1/C; his statement and cross
examination on 9th October, 2012; 15th January, 2013; 12th March,
2013; 8th November, 2013; 15th November, 2014; 21st September,
2015; 20th July, 2016; 4th August, 2016; 11th August, 2016; 16th
August, 2016 and 1st September, 2016 as Exh.CW1/D.
IX. First information of the incident to the police
62. In the rukka Exh.PW32/C, Poonam Rani has stated that she
tried to call out to her relatives and when they did not respond, she
made repeated phone calls to her sister-in-law (jethani).
63. The appellant has disclosed that she had tried to rouse the other
relatives for help and had repeatedly unsuccessfully telephoned her
jethani who lived in the same premises, trying to awaken her to help.
Crl.App.711/2012 Page 33 of 89
As these efforts failed, she had telephoned her father Sh. Ram Kumar
who was residing at 58, Adhchini, New Delhi for assistance. Though,
the police has verified this fact, however, it opted not to summon Shri
Ram Kumar as a prosecution witness. In this background, the
appellant examined Sh. Ram Kumar as the sole witness in her
64. It is in the evidence of Kuldeep Panwar Singh (PW1) that the
Vodafone mobile phone connection No.9711822167, though
registered in his name, was used by his wife – the appellant herein.
65. The prosecution examined Sh. Israr Babu (PW-17), the
alternate nodal officer of M/s Vodafone Essar Services Ltd. who
brought the original prepaid mobile application form for the phone
No.9711822167 which stood allotted to Kuldeep Panwar Singh (PW-
1), son of Bhim Singh, resident of 39A, Shahpur Jat, Delhi and proved
its photocopy on judicial record as Exh.PW17/A. PW17 also proved
the call detail records of this phone number for the period from 6th
August to 7th August, 2010 as Exh.PW17/B and the requisite
certificate under Section 65B of the Indian Evidence Act as
66. The questions with regard to this evidence were put to the
appellant under Section 313 of the CrPC to which she gave the
following responses :
Crl.App.711/2012 Page 34 of 89
“Q.3. It is in evidence against you and has come in
the testimony of PW1 Kuldeep that you used to have
the mobile phone of your husband PW-1 Kuldeep
and that the mobile was of Vodafone Service
Provider and you were using this phone. What have
you to say?
Ans. It is correct.
xxx xxx xxxx
Q.9 It is in evidence against you and has come in
the testimony of PW-2 Smt. Santosh that at about
1.30 a.m. on the same night you knocked the door of
the room of Smt. Santosh and uttered “Santosh, Maa
to mar diya, jo ab mujhe marenge” What have you
Ans. First of all, I tried to contact my sister in law
through mobile phone thrice for disclosing the
above said fact but since no response had come, I
myself anyhow, went to the room of my elder sister
in law in the midnight and uttered the words like
this Maa ko mar diya, jo ab mujhe marenge”. At
that time I was very much perturbed.
(Emphasis by us)
67. The statement of the appellant regarding unsuccessfully
phoning her jethani also stands corroborated by the testimony of
Inspector Rajeev Kumar (PW32) who has stated that as per the police
record, in the night of 7th August, 2010, “the accused had made three
calls to her sister-in-law (jethani)”.
68. We find that it is also in the un-rebutted testimony of Sh. Ram
Kumar (DW1) that he was using phone no. 9868910445 at the
relevant time and in the early hours of the night intervening 6th/7th
Crl.App.711/2012 Page 35 of 89
August, 2010 at 2/2.30 a.m., he received a call from his daughter-the
appellant before us, that two persons had fled after causing injury to
her mother-in-law. His daughter requested him to call the police as
well as the ambulance. It was Sh. Ram Kumar who called the police
control room at no. 100 using his phone. We have extracted above
CRDD No. 224 wherein this call was logged by Ct. Sonika (PW18)
which confirms this testimony.
69. The prosecution has led evidence of Sh. Sunil Kumar (PW27)
who was working as a nodal officer cum Assistant General Manager,
MTNL who produced the customer application from (Exh.PW27/A)
and documents relating to the phone no. 9868910445 confirming that
this phone no. stood allotted to Sh. Ram Kumar. The call detail
records for the period 6th August, 2010 and 7th August, 2010 in respect
of the phone were collected by Insp. Rajeev Kumar (PW-32) and
proved on record (Exh.PW27/B). As per these CDR, Shri Ram
Kumar had called the PCR twice from this phone, corroborating his
oral testimony as well.
70. This evidence was put to the appellant as question no. 74, 75
and 76 while recording her statement under Section 313 of the CrPC
when she had stated thus :
“Q.74. It is in evidence against you and has come in
the testimony of PW32 that your mobile phone
Crl.App.711/2012 Page 36 of 89
connection was issued on the ID of your husband
Kuldeep. What have you to say?
Ans. It is correct that the cell phone used by me is
on the ID of my husband.
Q.75. It is in evidence against you that as per the
CDRs of your father Ram Kumar Exh.Pw27/B
collected during investigation, he called up PCR twice
from his mobile phone no. 9868910445. What have
you to say?
Ans. It is correct.
Q.76. It is in evidence against you that as per your
call details Exh.PW17/B, there are phone calls on the
mobile phone of your father i.e. 9868910445. What
have you to say?
Ans. It is correct." (Emphasis supplied)
71. The call detail records (Ex.PW17/B) corroborates the statement
of the appellant as given to the police as well as her explanation under
Section 313 of the CrPC. Two independent witnesses from the phone
companies have verified this documentary evidence. It stands
established from the evidence of the investigating officer as PW32
and the evidence of Shri Ram Kumar (DW1) as well.
72. It has to be borne in mind that the deceased was sleeping with
the appellant in that flat to assist her in caring for a minor son of 7
years and a baby girl of 1½ years while her husband Kuldeep Panwar
Singh (PW-1) was away. Given the violence, the appellant had
witnessed, the injuries to her mother-in-law, and not knowing the
whereabouts of the assailants, the appellant could not be expected to
Crl.App.711/2012 Page 37 of 89
simply abandon the two children and the injured mother-in-law in
search of help. Her actions in first trying to raise help from her
relatives using the phone was a reasonable and responsible act.
73. It is further in the evidence of Shri Ram Kumar (DW-1) that as
he was getting ready to go to Shahpur Jat, he received a call from the
police seeking information with regard to the Shahpur Jat address.
The defence witness did not know the address details. Consequently
after disconnecting the police call, DW1 immediately called his
daughter seeking her correct address. His daughter (the appellant)
gave the telephone to her father-in-law – Sh. Bhim Singh (PW5) from
whom DW1 obtained the address and informed Sh. Bhim Singh that
he would send the police and ambulance to their house.
74. Sh. Ram Kumar, (DW1) thereafter came out of his house and
walked till he found a PCR stationed on the road. He requested the
PCR van to take him to Village Shahpur Jat where they saw people
gathered. Two police personnel were also there and his daughter’s
mother-in-law Smt. Sharvan Devi was lying in one side of a private
75. S.I. Ram Kumar disclosed that amongst the other ladies present
there, his daughter (the present appellant) was standing with her
daughter in her lap. His daughter’s wearing clothes were bloodstained
and consequently he asked the appellant to change her blood stained
Crl.App.711/2012 Page 38 of 89
clothes after giving her daughter to somebody else, also telling her
that he would accompany Smt. Sharvan Devi to the hospital.
76. Amongst the persons who had gone to the hospital was one
Rajesh Kumar. Shri Ram Kumar (DW-1) testified that he had brought
the stretcher and helped Rajesh Kumar and the other persons to put
Sharvan Devi on the stretcher. In this process, the clothes of Rajesh
Kumar as well as his own (Ram Kumar’s) had also got bloodstained.
They had returned to Shahpur Jat from the hospital only at about 5/6
77. The witness has testified about the receipt of the dead body, its
cremation and his return to his own residence later that night.
78. DW1 then testifies about the arrest of the appellant thereafter
and about being told by a person referred to as “Masterji” that had he
not informed the police control room, the matter would have been
sorted out and that they would have told that the deceased had died
due to a fall. The witness has told that the Additional SHO told him
that were it not for the fact that DW-1 had called the police control
room, otherwise he, Ram Kumar, would have also been implicated in
Crl.App.711/2012 Page 39 of 89
X. Motive for the offence
79. It is well settled that in a case of circumstantial evidence, as the
present case, motive is an important circumstance to be established by
the prosecution, though it may by itself not be determinative of guilt
of an accused person. So what is the prosecution case of motive for
the crime in the present case?
80. The prosecution has examined three sons of Shri Bhim Singh
and Smt. Sharwan Devi – Sh. Kuldeep Panwar Singh (PW-1) ; Sh.
Rajesh Kumar (PW-11) and Sh. Mahavir (PW-13) as witnesses. The
prosecution also examined two of their daughters-in-law, namely,
Smt. Santosh (PW-2) and Smt. Bala (PW-14) . The appellant’s father-
in-law Sh. Bhim Singh (PW5) was also examined as a witness.
81. Our attention has been drawn to the testimony of these relatives
of Kuldeep Panwar Singh (PW-1) who have tried to suggest acrimony
in the relations between the appellant and her deceased mother-in-law.
In this regard, Smt. Santosh, wife of Sh. Mahabir Singh appearing as
PW2 claims that on 6th August, 2010, at about 10:30/11 pm, they
heard some hot conversation between her mother-in-law and Poonam
Rani at which they had gone to them, got them to understand and
thereafter, returned to their room. In her cross examination, this
witness further volunteered that Poonam Rani used to quarrel with her
mother-in-law “off and on”. She also however, confirms that there
was no complaint of any quarrel against Poonam Rani in any police
Crl.App.711/2012 Page 40 of 89
station. Her husband Sh. Mahabir Singh appearing as PW13 refers to
some “altercation” between his mother and the appellant “on
domestic issues”, without anything more.
82. Rajesh Kumar (PW11) has stated that the relations between his
mother Smt. Sharvan Devi and the appellant were not cordial; that
there used to be altercations between them on issues like taking proper
care of children and that the appellant should concentrate on her
studies so that she may not have any problem in future as and when
need arises. PW11 also suggests that there used to be altercations on
the issue of keeping the house and kitchen clean and tidy etc.
83. On the other hand, Shri Som Prakash (PW3) (related by
marriage to the family of the deceased as his sister was married to
another son of the deceased, Sh. Dharamvir Singh) has stated that he
had not heard any complaint regarding the mis-behaviour of the
appellant with the deceased Smt. Shravan Devi. The evidence of
PW-3 on this aspect would be more reliable.
84. It is in the evidence of these witnesses that the five sons of Sh.
Bhim Singh and Sharvan Devi, deceased were all residing as nuclear
households in separate portions of the House No. 39, Shahpur Jat.
Bhim Singh and his wife Sharvan Devi stood relegated to the barsati
of the building which, as per the evidence of Smt. Santosh (PW2),
consisted of only a single room on the 6th floor without a kitchen.
Crl.App.711/2012 Page 41 of 89
85. It has come in the testimony of all the sons and daughters-in-
law (PWs-2, 3, 11 13) that though the parents Sh. Bhim Singh and
Late Smt. Sharvan Devi were so residing on the barsati floor,
however, they were having meals only with the family of Kuldeep
Panwar Singh (PW-1) and Poonam Rani, the appellant herein. It is
also in their evidence that whenever Kuldeep Panwar Singh went out
of station, Smt. Sharvan Devi would sleep in the flat of Kuldeep
86. There are thus two sets of witnesses of the prosecution. One set
affirms that the behaviour of the appellant with her mother-in-law was
very good ; that their relations were cordial and also that the nature of
her mother-in-law Smt. Sharvan Devi, the deceased was very good.
These include the appellant’s husband Kuldeep Panwar Singh (PW1),
and a relative through marriage, Shri Som Prakash (PW3).
87. The other set of witnesses who have tried to suggest that there
was discord in the appellant’s relations with her mother-in-law
includes Smt. Santosh (PW2) i.e. the wife of Sh. Mahabir Singh (the
appellant’s jeth) (PW13); Mahabir (PW13) refers to “off and on”
quarrels and to “some altercation” over “domestic issues that night”.
Rajesh Kumar (PW11) another son of Bhim Singh stated that relations
between his mother and the appellant were not cordial and that there
were altercations on trivial issues. These prosecution witnesses have
attempted to establish that, for the reason that the appellant’s mother-
Crl.App.711/2012 Page 42 of 89
in-law forced her to study while she did not want to, there was
acrimony in their relations.
The question then arises as to why, if the relations were good,
would the two sons and daughter-in-laws of the appellant testify
88. Ms. Anu Narula, learned amicus curiae for the appellant has
contended that Poonam Rani (the appellant before us) and her mother-
in-law the deceased Shravan Devi shared a very healthy relationship.
It is submitted that in fact, Smt. Sharvan Devi had provided the
encouragement for the appellant to further educate herself after her
marriage and strongly supported her in this effort. Learned counsel
has submitted that love and affection was bestowed on the appellant
by her deceased mother-in-law and vice versa as well as their healthy
relationship is manifested from the fact that the parents-in-law of the
appellant, though residing separately in the barsati, however, shared
their meals only with the appellant and her family and not with any of
their other sons and daughters-in-law who were living in the same
89. The submission is that as a result, the other sons and daughters-
in-law of Sh. Bhim Singh (PW5) and deceased Smt. Sharvan Devi
were envious of the healthy relationship which the appellant had with
her in-laws as well as of her academic success. It is submitted that,
Crl.App.711/2012 Page 43 of 89
just as in any other family, because of this envy, these relatives have
tried to create a façade of a strained relationship of the appellant with
the deceased. We find suggestions to this effect have been given to
the prosecution witnesses.
90. It is also in the evidence of the investigating officer Inspector
Rajeev Kumar (PW32) that at the time of her marriage, the appellant
was not a graduate. He denied the suggestion that the information that
she had passed the written examination and physical test in the
employment of Delhi Police and was not allowed to do the job by her
in-laws at the time of solemnization of marriage was disclosed to him.
Inspector Rajeev Kumar denied the suggestion that the fact that the
appellant’s mother-in-law had inspired her to take further studies was
disclosed to him. Inspector Rajeev Kumar (PW32) denied the
suggestion that the mother-in-law (Sharvan Devi) of the accused was
not of a dominating nature.
91. Additional evidence was led on behalf of the appellant by way
of the statement of her husband examined before this court on 14th
December, 2016. It was brought in evidence that in the proceedings
HMA No.182/2011, Sh. Kuldeep Panwar Singh had stated that he was
only a matriculate and that at the time of their marriage, the appellant
had taken admission in the first year of college. After their marriage,
the appellant continued her studies. When they were blessed with the
first child (a son, Shubham, on 26th April, 2003), at that time the
Crl.App.711/2012 Page 44 of 89
appellant was a student of the second year of her course. Even after
the birth of their son, the appellant continued with her studies while
the child was taken care of by Smt. Shrawan Devi, her deceased
mother-in-law, who used to live with them.
92. It is in the evidence of Shri Kuldeep Panwar Singh that the
appellant completed her graduation in the year 2005. However, this
was not the end of her academic career. In his evidence on 15th
November, 2014 in the family court, Shri Kuldeep Panwar Singh
(PW-1) has stated that after 2/3 years of graduation, she did her
teacher’s training course as well. He has categorically stated that the
appellant had the absolute liberty whether to study or not to study.
93. It is thus in evidence that the appellant’s husband Sh. Kuldeep
Panwar Singh was only a matriculate and his other brothers were also
similarly qualified. While the elder brothers Sh. Dharambir; Rajvir
Panwar and Rajesh Panwar had all passed the tenth class, Mahavir
Panwar had cleared only the ninth class. It is in evidence that the
eldest bhabhi (sister-in-law) Smt. Santosh Panwar (PW2) was only
10th pass and another bhabhi, Smt. Darshana was 12th pass. PW1
could not state about the qualifications of his bhabhis including Smt.
94. The control of finance for his family’s requirements was with
Kuldeep Panwar Singh though, his mother, the deceased Smt.
Crl.App.711/2012 Page 45 of 89
Shrawan Devi, used to supervise whether the finances were being
managed and the household being run in a proper manner.
95. In his cross examination, Sh. Kuldeep Panwar Singh (PW1)
before the Sessions Court has stated that there had been no quarrels
between his mother and the appellant. He also confirmed that no
complaint had ever been lodged in any police station against his wife
regarding any quarrel prior to the incident.
96. In Ex.CW1/D also, Kuldeep Panwar Singh has clearly admitted
that the present appellant has attained the highest qualification in his
family which she could do with his and his mother’s (Smt. Shrawan
97. We find that in his cross examination on 4th August, 2016 in
HMA 182/2011, Sh. Kuldeep Panwar Singh has even admitted that
the appellant had taken an examination for employment with the Delhi
Police before marriage.
98. As per Ex.CW1/D, before the Family Court, Kuldeep Panwar
Singh had stated that the present appellant, along with her studies,
performed domestic chores and his mother also contributed to the
same. The appellant’s husband has specifically stated that he had
asked his mother Smt. Shrawan Devi to stay with the appellant and
their children for their safety while he had gone to take kanwad from
Haridwar with the consensus of both of them and that safety issues
Crl.App.711/2012 Page 46 of 89
were always there with small children. If there was acrimony, where
is the question of the appellant agreeing to the close company of her
99. The evidence led thus manifests that the appellant had a good
relationship with her mother-in-law who fully encouraged the
appellant in her academic pursuits and in fact positively supported her
efforts, looking after her children and also helping her in the
100. So far as Smt. Sharvan Devi’s temperament was concerned, Sh.
Som Prakash (PW3) whose sister was married to the elder brother of
Kuldeep Panwar Singh (i.e. the appellant’s jethani), has stated that the
nature of the mother-in-law of his sister (Smt. Sharvan Devi, the
deceased) was very good.
101. In reply to question Nos.21 and 22, under Section 313 of the
Cr.P.C., the appellant has unequivocally denied that there were
altercations between her mother-in-law on the issue of keeping the
house and kitchen clean and tidy. She has categorically declared that
the relations with her mother-in-law were cordial.
102. Therefore, though some relatives of the deceased who have
appeared as witnesses have suggested altercations between the
deceased Shravan Devi and the appellant, her daughter in law,
however, even if these allegations could be believed, they are non-
Crl.App.711/2012 Page 47 of 89
specific allegations of general nature relateable to the normal wear
and tear and minor issues in every household. There is nothing in the
evidence which is not common place in every household.
103. On the contrary, it is clearly established that out of five sons
living in the same building, the deceased and her husband Sh. Bhim
Singh opted to eat only with the appellant and family. Smt. Shravan
Devi was sufficiently concerned for the appellant and her family, so as
to sleep with them and help in caring for the children if the man of the
house, Kuldeep Singh Panwar, was away. She was so doing on the
unfortunate night with the consent of the appellant.
104. In fact, while admitting that he and the appellant had a good
marital and physical relationship, Shri Kuldeep Panwar Singh (PW-1)
(in Ex.CW1/D) has specifically corroborated the appellant’s claim
that her mother-in-law was her guide, philosopher and source of
105. The person best placed to testify about the relations of his wife
(the present appellant) and his deceased mother Smt. Shravan Devi
was Shri Kuldeep Singh Panwar (PW-1). He establishes a close
positive relationship between them.
106. Shri Bhim Singh (PW5), the other person ideally placed so far
as the relations of his deceased wife Smt. Shravan Devi with the
appellant is concerned, has also made no grievance at all that the
Crl.App.711/2012 Page 48 of 89
appellant shared a bad relationship with his wife Smt. Sharvan Devi.
On the contrary, he has stated that as Poonam Rani was having small
kids, so his wife Sharvan Devi used to sleep with her, which is not a
possibility if they shared an acrimonious relationship.
107. The prosecution has therefore, not been able to establish that
the appellant had an acrimonious relationship with the deceased.
108. The prosecution also explored theft as a motive for the crime.
It is in evidence that a sum of `1,80,000/- was kept in the house of
Kuldeep Panwar Singh. Sh. Bhim Singh (PW5) has testified to this
effect. He has further confirmed that this amount which was kept in
the house was lying intact and nothing was stolen from the house on
109. Kuldeep Panwar Singh (PW1) has explained in his cross
examination in HMA 182/2011 that the amount of `1,80,000/-
belonged to a friend Praveen Panwar, an engineer friend who was
employed in Noida.
110. In this regard, while being questioned under Section 313 CrPC,
the appellant had explained as follows:
“Q.19. It is in evidence against you and has come in
the testimony of PW-5 Bhim Singh that he checked the
house and found that Rs.1,80,000/- kept in the house
were intact and nothing was stolen or removed from
the house. What you have to say?
Crl.App.711/2012 Page 49 of 89
Ans. It is correct. The money was kept in the room
in our possession and the amount was kept by my
husband Kuldeep was Rs.1,80,000/- and the same was
Q.20. It is in evidence against you and has come in
the testimony of PW-11 Rajesh Kumar that his brother
Kuldeep had gone to carry Kawad and therefore, you
alongwith your mother in law, who were staying
together in the flat at 5th Floor. What have you to
Ans. It is correct.”
111. In view of the above discussion, clearly the prosecution is
unable to establish any motive for the crime.
XI. Prosecution reliance on the alleged disclosure statement dated
8th of August 2010
112. The most important piece of evidence relied upon by the
prosecution to support the culpability of the appellant is the inevitable
disclosure statement claimed by the police as having been given on
the 8th of August 2010 by the appellant. We have noted the same
above to lend credibility to it. In the present case, conscious of the
prohibition against the admissibility of such statement to the police
under Sections 24 to 27 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872, the
investigating officer Inspector Rajeev Kumar (PW32) has claimed that
pursuant to the disclosure statement, the accused person led the police
to the recovery of her own kalava, churi and kara which she was
wearing at the time of commission of the offence thereafter! The
Crl.App.711/2012 Page 50 of 89
investigating officer has also claimed that pursuant thereto, the
appellant led the police to the recovery of some water in a tub as
evidence of the appellant having washed her bloodstained hands and
this water consequently being a sample of the bloodstained handwash.
113. We find that these seized exhibits have been subjected to a
forensic examination by the laboratory. As per the report dated 21st
February, 2011 (Exh.PW32/G), no blood was found on Exhibits 20(a),
(b), (c) and (d) being the metallic bangle, plastic bangle, glass bangle
and kalava got recovered by the appellant pursuant to the disclosure
statement (Ex.PW32/G). Furthermore, so far as the dirty liquid
described as handwash water (Exh.21) is concerned, again the
Biology Division of the Forensic Science Laboratory vide
Ex.PW32/G has reported that blood could not be detected therein.
Nothing turns on these alleged seizures which, so far as commission
of the offence is concerned, are inconsequential.
114. We may also note that the site plan of the premises occupied by
the family of Kuldeep Panwar Singh and Poonam Rani shows that
there is a single bath room. No tub is shown in the rough site plan
Exh.PW32/A which was prepared by Inspector Rajeev Kumar
115. Even if such tub existed in the bath room, it has to be
remembered that the bath room would have been used by the
Crl.App.711/2012 Page 51 of 89
members of the household on 8th August, 2010 and consequently,
there is remote possibility of the water allegedly used for hand
washing in the very early hours of 7th August, 2010 would be still
available for collection as a sample later in the day of the 8th of
August, 2010 during investigation. Clearly, the prosecution case of
recovery of “hand wash” water at the instance of the appellant was
116. The prosecution is therefore, unable to connect any of the
claimed recoveries made pursuant to the alleged disclosure to the
commission of the offence rendering the alleged disclosure
inadmissible in evidence.
117. We find that suggestions have been made to Smt. Bala (PW14),
wife of Rajbir and sister-in-law of the appellant to the effect that the
appellant was tortured for two days so that she confesses guilt. The
same suggestion was made to Sh. Mahabir (PW13) that the entire
family tortured the appellant for two days after the incident to make a
confession that she was responsible for the murder.
XII. Seizure of the iron musal (pestle)
118. It is to be noted that according to Inspector Rajeev Kumar
(PW32), he had seized the musal on 7th August, 2010 from a slab in
the third room with regard to which seizure a specific memo
Exh.PW1/D was drawn up which was duly witnessed by Kuldeep
Crl.App.711/2012 Page 52 of 89
Panwar Singh (PW1) and Som Prakash (PW-3). The seizure memo
was also witnessed by HC Kishore Kumar (PW-30) and Ram Prakash.
It is in evidence that the ‘musal’ was then kept in a plastic container
which was duly sealed with the seal of RK which parcel and the
sample seal were handed over to HC Kishore.
119. The prosecution examined Ct. Dinesh (PW-29) as part of the
Crime team who claims that he took thirty-four photographs of the
room on the 7th of August 2010 and proved the photographs on record
as the photographs taken on 7th August, 2010 as Ex.PW29/A-1 to
Ex.PW29/A-34 and their negatives as Ex.PW29/B-1 to Ex.PW29/B-
120. However, according to Inspector Rajeev Kumar (PW32), the
negatives of the photographs taken on 7th August, 2010 had got
exposed to moisture and that those negatives could not be developed.
As per PW-32, therefore, on the 29th of October 2010, he had again
visited the house of the deceased and himself clicked the scene of the
crime in the presence of Sh. Kuldeep Panwar (PW1). These
photographs were produced by him as Exh.PW32/E-1 to E-17 before
the court while their negatives were proved as Exh.PW32/F-1 to F-17.
121. A very distressing fact is brought out by Ms. Anu Narula, ld.
counsel for the appellant. While, under cross examination, the
photographs were shown to Inspector Rajeev Kumar (PW32). During
Crl.App.711/2012 Page 53 of 89
his testimony, the investigating officer identified a bloodstained musal
lying at the tand (slab). He also testified that behind the musal, some
wooden jars were lying at that time. He unequivocally denied the
suggestion that in the photograph, the musal was not lying on the
tand. He denied the further suggestion that the musal was lying on the
floor and that it was he who put the musal on the tand.
122. Ct. Dinesh (PW29) claimed that on the 7th of August 2010, he
had taken photographs of the premises in question from different
angles at the directions of the investigating officer. Ct. Dinesh
(PW29) has also pointed out the ‘musal’ in the photographs
(Exh.PW29/A-14 and A-31). Ct. Dinesh (PW29) has categorically
testified that the iron musal shown in photograph Exh. PW 29/A-14
A-31, was kept on the extreme last portion of the floor. He further
stated that he could not remember as to exactly where the iron musal
was lying on the last portion of the floor. This witness has testified
about the presence of the appellant along with her two kids and
another lady at that time. So how did the musal reach the tand?
123. This testimony of PW29 shows that even if a ‘musal’ had been
recovered and seized on the 7th of August, 2010, it stands established
from the evidence that the investigating agency has tampered with the
same and it has been shifted from the floor to the “tand”. This
testimony completely shatters the credibility of the prosecution case
Crl.App.711/2012 Page 54 of 89
with regard to the recovery of any musal as the weapon of offence on
7th August, 2010.
124. When questioned, the investigating officer was unable to state
as to whether the evidence had not been tampered with. The
testimonies of Inspector Rajeev Kumar (PW32) and Ct. Dinesh
(PW29) establish beyond any doubt that the evidence was tampered.
125. It is also in the prosecution evidence that the recovered musal
was an item, which is commonly available. Mahender Singh (PW12)
has specifically stated that such type of musal was easily available in
the open market though he denied the suggestion that it had been
planted on the appellant.
126. All these circumstances point at the concerted effort to plant
evidence and create circumstances to establish a false case against the
XIII. Whether the seized metallic piece called ‘musal’ could be the
weapon of offence?
127. We find that the evidence led before the trial court also does not
support the prosecution case regarding the seized “musal” being the
weapon of offence. We find that it is in evidence that during its
inspection of the site of the crime, the Crime Team had conducted its
examination from the perspective of lifting chance finger prints. Sh.
Ram Prakash (PW4) who was brother-in-law of the deceased has
Crl.App.711/2012 Page 55 of 89
categorically stated that the Crime Team had lifted finger prints from
128. SI Jitender Kumar (PW25), who was posted with the mobile
crime team and prepared the report Exh.PW25/A, has also testified
that the investigating officer called the Crime Team, the Finger Print
Bureau and the FSL team and that he had visited the spot with the
crime team which included the photographer and the finger print
129. HC Kishore Kumar (PW30) also confirms that the crime team,
finger print expert and FSL officials had arrived at the spot. The
prosecution has also not led any evidence of detection of any finger
prints on the seized metallic piece i.e. the ‘musal’, so as to connect it
to the appellant.
130. We also find that for identification, the Forensic Science
Laboratory had assigned ‘Exhibit 16’ to the metallic piece described
as a ‘musal’. The post-mortem report (Ex.PW6/A) has reported
multiple head injuries on the deceased and extensive cranial bleeding.
It is reported on the Forensic Science Laboratory report
(Exh.PW32/G) that no hair could be detected on Exhibit 16 i.e. the
metallic piece. With the repeated infliction of head injuries and the
extensive bleeding, hair of the deceased would have been found on the
Crl.App.711/2012 Page 56 of 89
131. Ex.PW32/G also reports that the stains on the musal were not
bloodstains. It is thus clearly established that this ‘musal’ or metallic
piece was not the weapon of offence.
132. Furthermore, the prosecution has not placed any evidence
regarding the weight of the musal, ordinarily a heavy object, or
whether the same could have been at all wielded by a person of the
size of the appellant as a weapon to inflict the multiple injuries.
133. This finding throws up a very important issue so far as
involvement of the appellant in the commission of the offence is
concerned. It is the prosecution case that no person left the property
in question on the night of 6th/7th August, 2010. In this regard, the
prosecution has examined Mohd. Wasim (PW28). If the appellant was
the perpetrator of the offence, then the actual weapon of offence
should have been recovered from somewhere in the premises.
However, nothing else has been recovered.
134. This fact supports the statement (Ex.PW1/A) given by the
appellant to the police that the two assailants took away the weapon of
offence with them.
XIV. Whether entry of intruder plausible?
135. As per Inspector Rajeev Kumar (PW32), the investigations on
7th August, 2010 showed no forcible entry into the flat where the
Crl.App.711/2012 Page 57 of 89
incident had taken place. The bolts of the net door and wooden door
were found intact and no damage was noticed on them. According to
Inspector Rajeev Kumar, the witnesses suspected some foul play.
However, keeping in view the distress of the witnesses who were in a
traumatic situation on 7th August, 2010, further interrogation was
XV. Occupation in the property No.39, Shahpur Jat, New Delhi
136. It is essential to also understand the layout of the property No.
39, Shahpur Jat, New Delhi and its occupancy. It is in the evidence
that the property No.39, Shahpur Jat, New Delhi was inhabited by the
deceased and her husband as well as their five sons and their families.
In addition, there were 10 to 20 tenants on the ground floor and first
floor. While two of the sons, namely, Rajbir and Dharambir occupied
the third floor; two other sons Kuldeep Panwar Singh and Mahavir
were residing on the fourth floor, while the fifth son as well as a
nephew of the deceased, namely, Mahender Singh (PW-12) and his
family occupied the second floor.
137. The testimony of the witnesses also manifests commercial
utilization of part of the property. As per Mohd. Wasim (PW-28), he
was running his kabadi business on the ground floor.
138. In this regard, in Ex.CW1/D, Kuldeep Panwar Singh has made
the following statement :
Crl.App.711/2012 Page 58 of 89
“It is correct that the third floor of the house was rented
out. It is also correct second and first was also rented out.
It is also correct the ground floor was rented out for
commercial purpose of Boutique. It is correct that the
back side of boutique was rented out to junk
dealer/Kabadi namely Mustafa.”
(Emphasis by us)
139. It is in the testimony of Smt. Santosh (PW2), a daughter-in-law
of the deceased, that on the 6th floor, there was only a one room
barsati in which Sh. Bhim Singh used to reside with his deceased wife
Smt. Sharvan Devi. The parents had no separate kitchen and that, out
of all their sons, they were having their meals with the appellant and
her family only.
XVI. Entrances to the property
140. The prosecution has also examined Mohd. Wasim (PW28), an
alleged tenant, who was running a kabadi shop on the ground floor of
the property being H.No. 39, Shahpur Jat who stated that on the night
of 6/7th August, 2010, he was sleeping near the staircase and had
woken at around 1.30 a.m. when he saw the landlord coming down
with deceased Smt. Sharvan Devi. This witness has stated that the
staircase near which he used to sleep was the only entrance and that
he had not seen or heard any person entering the house before 1 a.m.
or 1.30 a.m. The witness claimed that he was awake till 1 or 1.30 a.m.
as he was watching the television. In his cross examination, the
witness clarified that he was not aware as to who were the persons
Crl.App.711/2012 Page 59 of 89
who had entered the building H.No. 39, Shahpur Jat from 5-6 p.m. to
1/1.30 a.m. on the date of the incident i.e. prior to 1:00 am. He also
could not tell as to how many persons came out of the building on the
day of the incident between this period.
141. Unfortunately, the investigating officer has prepared a site plan
only of the flat where the deceased was murdered. There is no
evidence at all of the entrances to the house or even to the floor on
which the flat where the appellant and family were residing.
142. The evidence of Mohd. Wasim (PW28) to the effect that there
was only one entry was not correct. In fact, Kuldeep Panwar Singh
(PW1) had stated in his evidence on 11th August, 2016 in HMA
182/2011 (Ex.CW1/C) as follows :
“It is correct that there are two entrances of my
house one on the front side and another on the
back side. Again said the two entrances are on all
the floors and not the house. On ground floor; there
is only one entrance of the house. From first to
sixth floor there are two entrances. It is wrong to
say that there was no gate at the entrance of the
ground floor adjoining the staircase.”
(Emphasis by us)
143. PW-1 even denied that Mohd. Wasim (PW-28) was a tenant
when the following question was put to him :
“Q. Whether the name of the tenant who was
Kabadi was Md. Waseem?
Crl.App.711/2012 Page 60 of 89
Ans. The name of our tenant who was Kabadi is
Mustafa Volunteered Md Waseem may also be living
I do not know whether there was any tenant
by the name Md. Waseem or not.
Mustafa was tenant of ground floor back
portion in two rooms.”
144. The evidence of Md. Wasim (PW-28) was put to the appellant
under Section 313 of the Cr.P.C. as Question No.39:
“Q.39. It is in evidence against you and has come in the
testimony of PW-28 Mohd. Wasim that he used to run a kabari
shop at H.No.39, Sahapur Jat. What have you to say?
Ans. It is correct that Mohd.Wasim used to run kabari shop at
145. There is no evidence that the assailants could not have entered
the property before 1:00 am or did not so enter the premises to make
the fatal attack. The investigating officer also made no effort to
investigate the possibility of any other occupant of the building, other
than the appellant, as involved in the commission of the offence.
XVII. Possibility of the assailants being a person or persons friendly
to or known to deceased
146. The first revelation of the events of that fateful night is found in
the appellant’s statement recorded in the early hours of the 7th of
August 2010 by Inspector Rajeev Kumar (PW-32) which forms the
Crl.App.711/2012 Page 61 of 89
rukka (Exh.PW32/C). This statement was the basis on which FIR No.
269/10 (Exh.PW20/B) is premised. The appellant had disclosed that
when her sleep broke at about 1.30 a.m., she found that two persons
were standing near her mother-in-law and addressing her as mausi
(maternal aunt) when they were speaking to her because of which she
presumed that they were known to her mother-in-law.
147. Prosecution witness after witness has disclosed that when the
appellant had woken them after the incident, she had disclosed the
brutal attack on Smt. Sharvan Devi in these very terms. There is no
variation in these disclosures as testified by the prosecution witness.
148. The appellant’s father-in-law Sh. Bhim Singh (PW-5) refers to
these persons talking to the deceased for about 15-20 minutes. The
same statement is to be found in the evidence of Sh. Mahavir Singh
(PW-13) who disclosed that as per the appellant, the two persons who
had entered the house were calling his mother “mausi” and that they
were carrying iron rods in their hands.
149. We find that it is in evidence that Sh. Mahender Singh (PW-12)
was a nephew of deceased Smt. Sharvan Devi who was residing in the
same property. It is in his testimony that Smt. Shravan Devi was his
“mausi”. He so refers to her as “my mausi” repeatedly in his
testimony. Mahender Singh (PW12) has also disclosed that there was
Crl.App.711/2012 Page 62 of 89
no distance between the flat which he was occupying and that
occupied by Kuldeep Panwar Singh (PW-1) and the appellant.
150. Even Kuldeep Panwar Singh (PW-1) in his evidence in the
divorce case on 11th August, 2016 had stated that Mahender Singh
(PW-12) used to address his mother, the deceased Shrawan Devi as
“mausi”. His evidence in this regard is as follows :
“It is wrong to suggest that my Mausi’s son
Mahender also used to reside on my floor on the
same house. It is correct that Mahender used to
address my mother as Mausi. I cannot say whether
anything happening on the 5th floor can be heard by
the occupants on the 4th floor volunteered as I was
not present. It will be correct to claim that anything
happening on the 5th floor can otherwise be heard
on the 4th floor.”
(Emphasis by us)
151. The record contained evidence that there was a “shivir” (camp)
of the kawariyas and that a large number of people who had
assembled were passing through this camp which was barely 15 yards
from the house. It has been so testified by Inspector Rajeev Kumar
(PW32), the investigating officer. It is common knowledge that these
shivirs are teeming with kawariyas headed to and fro Haridwar all
hours of the day.
No enquiries were made by the police from this “shivir” with
regard to the happenings of that fateful night. Much light may have
Crl.App.711/2012 Page 63 of 89
been thrown on persons who entered and exited from the premises
152. Unfortunately, the investigating officer has proceeded in a
completely biased manner. Having decided that the appellant, a
daughter-in-law, was culpable, none of the other occupants of the
property including the nephew (who called the deceased “mausi”) or
sons and family have been investigated.
153. The investigating officer has not moved a step to investigate
and verify the correctness and truth of the rukka (Ex.PW32/C) which
was the first disclosure of the unfortunate events of that fateful night.
XVIII. Difficulty in identification of the assailants
154. The appellant has disclosed in the rukka Exh.PW32/C that mild
light was reaching from the pooja room to the room where the
incident took place in which light she had viewed the scene. The
pooja room was the third room, and furthest away from the situs of
155. Insp. Rajeev Kumar (PW-32) has confirmed that it would not
be possible to see anything when all the doors, windows and other
openings of the flat which was the place of the incident are closed and
the lights switched off in the night time. The witness also confirmed
that the appellant had informed the police that at the time of the
Crl.App.711/2012 Page 64 of 89
incident, the lights of the flat were switched off and only mild light
was coming from the puja room.
There is no evidence to the contrary.
XIX. Nothing unnatural or suspicious about the appellant’s clothes
getting blood stained or her changing them in the
156. It is the prosecution case that on the 7th of August 2010, from
the washing machine, Inspector Rajeev Kumar (PW-32) recovered a
bloodstained ladies suit (salwar and kameez). It belonged to the
appellant and used to be worn by her. Additionally, a bloodstained
chunri (scarf) was recovered from the washing machine which,
according to Kuldeep Panwar Singh, both his mother Smt. Sharvan
Devi and his wife Poonam Rani (the appellant herein) used to wear.
We find that the presence of these blood stained clothes in the
washing machine has been propounded by the prosecution as the most
critical evidence to support the appellant’s conviction. It has been so
treated by the ld. trial judge. In fact, these clothes form the sole basis
of the appellant’s conviction.
Let us examine the import of the presence of blood stains on the
clothes of the appellant as well as the impact of their presence in the
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(a) Condition of the deceased when the appellant raised alarm
157. It is in evidence that on the fateful night, the appellant’s
husband was away to Haridwar with his brothers and nephews and her
deceased mother-in-law was assisting her in taking care of her 7 year
old son and an infant daughter of one year and few months.
158. We find that in answer to question No.12 under Section 313 of
the Cr.P.C., the appellant has clearly stated that when the appellant
went to Smt. Shravan Devi – her mother-in-law after her being
injured, she was still breathing and that she had put a pillow under her
head. We extract question No.12 put to the appellant and her response
thereto hereunder :
“Q.12. It is in evidence against you and has come in
the testimony of PW-2 Smt. Santosh that when she
alongwith her husband went inside the room, she saw
her mother in law on the ground with her face towards
ground and blood was lying there in huge quantity.
What you have to say?
Ans. It is incorrect. When I had left the room, the
face of my mother in law was towards the roof and
the pillow was put by me under the head of my
mother in law and I tried to stop the blood in order to
save her life since my mother in law was live at that
time (sanns chal rahi thi).”
(Emphasis by us)
Crl.App.711/2012 Page 66 of 89
159. In this regard, the testimony of Rajesh Kumar (PW11), one of
the sons of the deceased is material. PW-11 has stated that he used to
ply children from school in his Maruti van. He has stated that on the
fateful night, at about 1.30 a.m., his brother Mahender and his nephew
Banti, rang the bell of his flat and asked him to come downstairs
stating that somebody has hit his mother (“kisine ma ko maar diya
hai”) and that she is to be taken to the hospital. Rajesh Kumar (PW-
11) has testified that he came downstairs and took his mother to the
hospital in his Maruti van. With regard to this mother’s state, he has
specifically stated that his mother “was in an injured condition and
she was bleeding”. He has further stated that his brothers Mahender,
Mahavir Singh (PW-13) sisters-in-law (“bhabhis”) Smt. Santosh (PW-
2) and Smt. Bala (PW-14) accompanied his mother and him to the
hospital. The fact that Smt. Shravan Devi was bleeding establishes
that she was still alive when the appellant had raised alarm and called
all the relatives.
160. The fact that Smt. Shravan Devi, deceased was taken to the
hospital because she was only injured and had not expired is also
supported by the testimony of Mahavir Singh (PW 13) when he says
that the hospital (Trauma Centre, AIIMS) to which his mother was
taken had declared her as brought dead. She was taken away from
that hospital “on the pretext of taking her to some other doctor
because the doctors at that hospital were saying for a post-mortem”.
Crl.App.711/2012 Page 67 of 89
When the Maruti van returned home, the PCR van was already
161. It is clear from the above evidence that her sons and relatives
would have put Smt. Shravan Devi into the Maruti van and rushed her
to the hospital only for treatment, certainly not if she had already
expired. It stands proved by the prosecution that Shravan Devi was
not dead when she was put into the Maruti Van and that she expired
162. The above statement of the appellant as answer to question
No.12 is corroborated by the testimony of Inspector Rajeev Kumar
(PW32) who stated that he had not taken the photographs of the
deceased because he was “not sure whether the deceased was alive or
not at that time” when she was being taken to the hospital by her
family members. It is, therefore, amply clear that even at the time
when the police reached the spot, the deceased may have been alive.
There is no evidence at all of the time at which Smt. Shravan Devi
163. It is truly unfortunate that the trial court has completely ignored
this vital evidence which shows that at the time when the appellant
raised the alarm and called the family members seeking assistance, the
deceased was still alive. This circumstance points towards conduct of
a person interested in saving the life of the injured person rather than
Crl.App.711/2012 Page 68 of 89
extinguishing it. By raising the alarm, thus the appellant contributed
in efforts to save her mother-in-law’s life after the attack.
(b) How did appellant’s clothes get blood stained
164. Given the prosecution case, it becomes necessary to examine as
to how the appellant’s clothes got blood stained? We may usefully
first examine what was the appellant’s explanation of the prosecution
case. We extract hereunder the appellant’s response under Section
313 of the Cr.P.C. to the evidence put to her :
“Q.5 It is in evidence against you and has come in
the testimony of PW-2 Smt. Santosh that her brother in
law i.e. your husband was away to Haridwar for the
purpose of taking kawad at the time when heated
conversation ensued between you and your mother in
law. What have you to say?
Ans. It is correct that my husband had gone for
taking kawad to Haridwar but no heated conversation
took place between myself and my mother in law on
xxx xxx xxx
Q.7. It is in evidence against you and has come in
the testimony of PW-2 Smt. Santosh that on that day
you and your mother in law were sleeping in the same
room on that night. What have you to say?
Ans. It is incorrect. I was sleeping in the separate
room from my mother-in-law in the very same house
on the same floor.
xxx xxx xxx Q.13 It is in evidence against you and has come in
the testimony of PW-2 Smt. Santosh that on being
Crl.App.711/2012 Page 69 of 89
asked by her, you told her that you alongwith your kids
were asleep in the room with AC on and that at about
1.30 am she heard some noise and saw two persons
came in the room and that they were calling Sharwan
Devi as Mausi and they asked Sharwan Devi to give
them whatever she was having and one of them went
inside and other remained standing there and Sharwan
Devi told them to call the family member and by that
time the person standing near Sharwan Devi gave iron
rod blow on the head of Sharwan Devi 2-3 times and
went away and took the iron rod with them and there
after you woke Smt. Santosh. What you have to say?
Ans. It is incorrect. I had told to PW-2 that after
hearing the cry of my mother in law, I came out of
my room and saw two persons going out from the
room of my mother in law. Light of the room of
mother in law was off. I found my mother in law
lying on the ground and I immediately rushed
towards her. I have saw blood oozing out from her
head. I was afraid after seeing the blood. Anyhow, I
came out from the room and tried to contact my sister
in law through phone and thereafter went to her room.
Q.14. It is in evidence against you and has come in
the testimony of PW-2 Smt. Santosh that police seized
your pink colour suit. What you have to say?
Ans. It is correct that the police had taken my
pink colour suit which was worn by me at that time.
Earlier when I tried to lift the mother in law, blood
was stuck to my blue colour upper wear and yellow
xxx xxx xxxx
Q.16. It is in evidence against you and has come in
the testimony of PW-5 Bhim Singh that you were
having small kids and therefore, deceased Sharwan
Crl.App.711/2012 Page 70 of 89
Devi used to sleep with you in absence of your
husband. What you have to say?
Ans. It is correct that my mother in law used to
sleep with me in the absence of my husband. She
used to live with us. Even in the presence of my
husband she used to live with us.
xxx xxx xxxx" (Emphasis supplied)
165. It is noteworthy that this statement is corroborated by the
evidence of the prosecution witness Smt. Bala (PW-14).
166. Clearly, the evidence led by the prosecution establishes that the
deceased was also handling the infant daughter at the time of the
incident and even thereafter. This would also be the only explanation
for the police finding a child’s underwear (Ex.13) on which blood was
detected by the Forensic Science Laboratory in the second room. The
blood grouping of the deceased was detected thereon by the laboratory
as per the report (Ex.PW32/H). The trial court has completely
overlooked this important piece of evidence led by the prosecution.
This evidence corroborates the explanation given by the appellant.
167. As per the seizure memo (Ex.PW1/A), the police has recovered
a blood stained pillow and cover lying on the floor as well as a
mattress on the floor. In the description of the articles, which were
subjected to the forensic examination, vide Ex.PW32/G, the
laboratory marked this pillow and cover as Ex.8A and Ex.9. As per
Crl.App.711/2012 Page 71 of 89
the reports of the FSL (Ex.PW32/G and Ex.PW32/H), blood of the
‘A’ group of the deceased was detected on Ex.8A and Ex.9.
168. It was not the case of the prosecution that the deceased was
sleeping on the floor. The presence of this blood stained pillow on the
ground would show that effort had been made by somebody to make
the deceased comfortable after she had received the injuries. The
appellant was the person who first reached the injured after the attack.
This is an important piece of evidence which corroborates the
explanation given by the appellant as to the turn of events and as to
how the blue suit which she was wearing at that time had got blood
169. We find that the evidence with regard to the bloodstained
clothes recovered from the washing machine was put to the appellant
as question no.10, 14, 31, 54 and 55 and she has rendered the
following explanation under Section 313 of the Cr.P.C. :
“Q.10. It is in evidence against you and has
come in the testimony of PW-2 Smt. Santosh that you
were wearing pink colour suit at that time. What
have you to say?
Ans. It is incorrect. I was wearing blue colour
upper wear and yellow salwar.
Crl.App.711/2012 Page 72 of 89
Q.14. It is in evidence against you and has come in
the testimony of PW-2 Smt. Santosh that police
seized your pink colour suit. What have you to say?
Ans. It is correct that the police had taken my pink
colour suit which was worn by me at that time.
Earlier when I tried to lift the mother in law, blood
was stick to my blue colour upper wear and yellow
Q.31. It is in evidence against you and has come in
the testimony of PW-13 Mahavir Singh that after the
door was opened by Smt. Santosh, you uttred “Maa
ko maar diya, mujhe bhi maar denge” that you were
wearing pink colour salwar suit, however, you were
not nervous (ghabrai hui nai thi). What have you to
Ans. It is correct but I was not wearing the pink
colour suit. It is further incorrect that I was not
nervous at that time.
Q.54. It is in evidence against you that during the
lifting of the exhibits, Insp. Rajeev Kumar found the
bloodstained chunri lying in the washing machine
with clothes and this chunri was identified by your
husband Kuldeep that you and your mother in law
used to wear it. What have you to say?
Ans. It is correct that I had put the chunri in
washing machine. I had put also other clothes
worn by me and were bloodstained during the
course of lifting of my mother in law when I had
Crl.App.711/2012 Page 73 of 89
seen her in a pool of blood. I had told the
abovesaid fact to the IO.
Q.55. It is in evidence against you that during the
process of lifting the exhibits from the spot, Insp.
Rajeev Kumar found a lady’s suit stained with blood
lying in washing machine and the lady’s suit was
identified by your husband as belonging to you and
also that you used to wear it. What have you to say?
Ans. It is correct.”
(Emphasis by us)
170. During investigation, it has been reported by Inspector Rajeev
Kumar (PW32) that there was a lot of blood in the middle room. A
bed sheet on the double bed was bloodstained. PW32 also recovered
a child’s underwear having bloodstains which was lying on the double
171. It is the case of the prosecution that the appellant had a seven
year old son and a one and half year old infant daughter. She was the
only caregiver for them as her husband was away. We have noted
above the testimony of the appellant’s father Sh. Ram Kumar as DW1
that he had told the appellant to hand over the child to some one else
and change her blood stained clothes. This testimony remains
unshaken and unrebutted by the prosecution. The prosecution has not
cross examined Sh. Ram Kumar (DW1) on this count at all.
172. The testimony of Shri Ram Kumar (DW-1) that on seeing the
bloodstains on his daughter’s clothing and keeping in view the fact
Crl.App.711/2012 Page 74 of 89
that she was holding the child, he had told her to change her clothes
after giving the child to somebody else, is certainly a natural
173. Constable Sunder (PW33) has stated that when S.I. Narender
Kumar Ojha and he returned from the hospital, no police man was
present at the spot and that only the appellant Poonam Rani was
present there along with her child.
174. None of the prosecution witnesses, relatives of the appellant,
have said a word about there being anything suspicious in the change
of blood stained clothes by the appellant, who was holding a one and a
half year old daughter all the time.
175. The appellant has been found guilty on the solitary piece of
evidence that the clothes (salwar and kameez) that she was wearing at
the time of the incident were bloodstained.
176. It is established that the appellant was carrying a one and half
year old infant daughter who was present with her while the
investigation was going. Ct. Dinesh (PW-29) confirms this when he
177. A blood stained child’s underwear was seized by the police
vide Ex.PW3/A. The fact that blood of the deceased was identified on
this clothing (underwear) of the child as well (as per the Forensic
Science Reports – Ex.PW32/G and Ex.PW32/H), certainly mitigates
Crl.App.711/2012 Page 75 of 89
against the culpability on the sole basis that the appellants clothes
178. In his testimony, Inspector Rajeev Kumar (PW32) disclosed
that the appellant had lifted her mother-in-law in order to save her life
but states that she had not disclosed the fact that blood had struck to
her clothes when she was doing so! From the nature of injuries of the
deceased as verified in the post mortem report and the amount of
blood in the room and on the clothes of the deceased, it does not need
too much of an imagination that anybody assisting or handling a
person so injured and bleeding would definitely get bloodstained.
There is therefore, nothing abnormal if the clothes which the appellant
was wearing at the time she assisted her mother-in-law after the attack
179. This conclusion is supported by the fact that no effort was made
to wash the suit – a simple matter of merely switching on the washing
machine. This would have naturally followed if the appellant had
changed blood stained clothing to conceal her culpability. The
evidence on record supports DW-1’s testimony and the circumstance
that the appellant was looking after two children (including a one and
half year old daughter who had to be carried) necessitating change of
her blood stained apparels.
Crl.App.711/2012 Page 76 of 89
180. In the pronouncement reported at (1994) SCC (Cri) 1390 :
(1994) 5 SCC 188, Meharaj Singh (L/NK) v. State of U.P., the failure
to offer assistance to her injured husband was considered most
unnatural and the most important factors for rejecting the eye-witness
account of the wife, doubting her very presence at the spot at the time
of the occurrence and the prosecution case. In that case, the deceased
and his wife were attacked at about 11.00 am on 3rd of November,
1977. On the question of the eye witness account of the wife of the
deceased, the Supreme Court noted thus:
“13. It appears that it was a blind murder and none of
the eyewitnesses were actually present at the scene.
The ante-timing of the FIR was obviously made to
introduce eyewitnesses to support the prosecution
case. We may demonstrate this by noticing that
though PW 3 Smt Kamlesh the widow of the deceased
claimed that she was present with her husband at the
time of the occurrence, her conduct was so unnatural
that not only she did not try to save her husband by
trying to provide a cover but even after her husband
fell down and was inflicted repeated injuries with the
knife by the appellant Meharaj Singh, she did not
even try to go anywhere near her husband and even
later on hold his head in her lap and try to provide
some comfort to him. This becomes obvious from the
absence of any bloodstains on her clothes. She
admitted that she had not even received a scratch
during the occurrence. In a situation like this, the
normal conduct of any wife would be firstly to make an
effort to save her husband even by taking the blow on
herself and if that is not possible then at least to go so
Crl.App.711/2012 Page 77 of 89
close to his person, at least after the assailants had left
that there would be no escape from the blood oozing
out of the injuries of the deceased to come on to her
clothes. Similar criticism is also available against
Balbir PW 2, Shiv Charan PW 4 and Satkari PW 5. It
is not the case of the prosecution that the clothes of
any of them had got bloodstained. The very fact that
none of these witnesses went to lodge a report and
instead left it to the father of the deceased to lodge the
FIR would also go to show that the witnesses in all
probability were not present at the spot. The absence
of any blood in the field of Kirpal Singh as also the
absence of blood trail from the field of Kirpal Singh to
the place where the dead body was found, as admitted
by PW 8, also suggests that the occurrence did not
take place in the manner suggested by the
prosecution and that the genesis of the fight has been
suppressed from the court. xxxx”
(Emphasis by us)
181. This court disbelieved the testimony of a witness who claimed
to have assisted the bleeding injured present in Crl.A.No.52/1993,
Parmesh Kumar v. State decided on 6th March, 2009 on account of
lack of bloodstains observing thus :
“18. Then, as per the testimony of PW10 Anil Kumar,
he returned to the place of occurrence with the three-
wheeler scooter. There was nobody else at that point of
time. With his bare hands he lifted the injured Aditya,
who was still unconscious and placed him in the
rear seat of the three-wheeler scooter. It is also
important to note that the prosecution has not
produced the scooter driver or even given the
registration number of the three-wheeler scooter. One
Crl.App.711/2012 Page 78 of 89
can easily visualize how difficult it is for a single
person to lift an unconscious person in his arms. It is
even more difficult to visualize as to how a person
can lift an injured person, who is bleeding, in his
arms and not have any blood stains on his own
clothes. But, this is what has happened according to
PW10 Anil Kumar.”
(Emphasis by us)
182. It is the prosecution case that the appellant was the only adult in
the flat when her mother-in-law was murdered, a mother-in-law who
was assisting the appellant in acquiring further education; supporting
her in her education by looking after the children. A daughter-in-law
is expected to assist a mother-in-law who has been brutally attacked
and is bleeding from her injuries. Her explanation regarding
assistance to her injured mother-in-law is corroborated by the
evidence of the investigating officer and recovery of the yellow pillow
(Ex.PW1/A) on the floor of the first room where Smt. Shravan Devi
was attacked. As per Ex.PW32/G and Ex.PW32/H, the blood of the
deceased stands identified thereon. In fact, it would be the first
reaction of a family member to assist the injured and the evidence of
the victim’s blood on her clothes cannot be considered an
incriminating circumstance but has to be considered to be the obvious
result of the appellant’s natural and expected conduct in helping her
Crl.App.711/2012 Page 79 of 89
XX. Material evidence not examined – biased investigation
183. It has been reported in the opinion of the post mortem doctors
in Exh.PW6/C that injury no.14 suffered by the deceased shows that
she had struggled. There is evidence that she had cried out as well
during the attack. The crime scene as depicted in the presence of the
police witnesses shows extensive bleeding and marks on the wall as
well as the roof of the room.
184. It is in evidence that the appellant had a 7 year old son and a 1½
year old daughter and that the deceased Shravan Devi was sleeping
with the appellant and the two children for the reason that their father
Kuldeep Panwar Singh had gone to Haridwar. The witnesses have
referred to the presence of the children with the appellant that day. It
is extremely remote that the two children who were in the flat would
have slept through such a horrific incident.
These two children therefore, could possibly have been eye-
witnesses to the occurrence.
185. We do not have evidence of the capabilities of this 1½ year old
daughter. While a one and half child year old child may not be
expected to recount the violence which she may have seen, however,
the seven year old son may have been old enough to recount the
violence which he would have witnessed. Unfortunately, we do not
Crl.App.711/2012 Page 80 of 89
even find any evaluation of the competencies of the child by the
186. It is our experience that children of this age often make
competent witnesses. Unfortunately, guided by sheer bias, the
investigating officer has proceeded in a completely close minded
manner against the appellant and no effort was made to ascertain the
truth from the children.
187. The prosecution has thus deliberately kept back material
evidence from the court which, in our view, was critical, given the
fact that the children were present in the very premises where the
murder took place.
188. Apart from the appellant’s own children, Smt. Santosh (PW2)
in the adjacent flat, had two adult children, the elder daughter Jyoti
aged about 22 years and a younger son Sunil aged about 20 years. No
enquiries were made from these young adults, even though they may
have provided valuable evidence.
189. Interestingly, in his cross examination, SI Narender Kumar
Ojha (PW31) has disclosed that he had seen that the clothes of Rajesh
as well as two other persons had bloodstains over their clothes while
the clothes of the deceased were also smeared with blood.
190. We find that even Shri Ram Kumar (DW1) has stated that his
clothes as well as that of Rajesh were blood stained.
Crl.App.711/2012 Page 81 of 89
191. Sh. Mahavir Singh (PW13) has also stated that in the process of
touching the dead body of his mother, some bloodstains had come on
his clothes. However, the police had not asked him for these clothes.
192. It is in the testimony of Insp. Rajeev Sharma (PW-32) that he
did not check whether any blood stains had stuck to any other person.
Insp. Sharma has stated that he did not ascertain the fact as to where
the appellant had changed clothes or at what time.
193. The appellant had disclosed that the persons who attacked Smt.
Shravan Devi were addressing her as “mausi”, clearly suggesting they
were persons who were known to her. Therefore, this would rule out
the possibility of a forced entry. The police has not investigated any
person(s) who addressed the deceased as “mausi”.
194. It is noteworthy that at 02.23 a.m., the PCR form records as
CRDD No. 224 (Exh.PW18/A), the entry of thieves who have hit the
informant’s mother. We find that the request to conduct post mortem
made by SI Narender Kumar Ojha (PW31) on 7th August, 2010
Exh.PW31/C reports the same incident and contains a request the
autopsy doctors “to visit the scene of crime after conducting the PM”.
195. Given the hypothesis on which the investigation has proceeded,
these were crucial and relevant aspects of the matter and were easily
ascertainable. It is evident that having drawn up a theory, the
investigation agency, completely shut down any other possibility and
Crl.App.711/2012 Page 82 of 89
applied itself only to somehow or the other establishing its theory
before the court.
196. The negligence of the Inspector Rajeev Kumar (PW32) is writ
large on the record in his cross examination when he testifies that he
had not tried to ascertain during the course of investigation whether
bloodstains had stuck to any other person who took the deceased to
197. No effort was made by Inspector Rajeev Kumar (PW32) to seal
the spot or preserve it. He has testified that he had no idea as to how
many people visited the spot before his arrival. He could not deny
whether 10-15 people had visited the room in question before his
arrival or that whether before his arrival, the evidence had been
tampered with. Even SI Narender Kumar Ojha (PW31) was unable to
state as to how many persons had gathered at the spot.
198. This case thus is a copy book example of the injustice that
would result from bias and prejudice. In our view, merely on finding
the bloodstained clothes of the appellant in the washing machine, the
investigating agency has drawn its conclusions and proceeded in a
completely biased manner, ignoring glaring and obvious alternative
clues in the matter, so as to build a case against the appellant. It is an
admitted position on record that other than the rooms occupied by the
appellant’s family, the police has made no efforts to conduct any
Crl.App.711/2012 Page 83 of 89
investigation in any part of the house; nor visited any other floor or
flats of the property even and has not investigated at all any of the
persons who were present.
199. The appellant had disclosed that the deceased was attacked with
rods. No effort was made to trace out any rod by the investigating
200. Despite the positive evidences of a healthy positive relationship
between the deceased and the appellant in that the deceased and her
husband chose to eat with only the appellant and their son Kuldeep
Panwar Singh; despite the strong evidence of the contribution of the
deceased mother-in-law to the life and self growth of her daughter-in-
law – the present appellant; despite evidence of the concern of the
deceased mother-in-law for the appellant and her children, so much so
that in the absence of her son Kuldeep Panwar Singh, she was
sleeping with the appellant to assist in carrying for the children, the
investigating agency chose to investigate only this daughter-in-law
and arraign her as an accused, ignoring her critical information about
possible relationship of the actual assailants to the deceased. The
investigating officer has not investigated any other occupant of the
house to verify their location at the critical time, nor gone into any
other portion or washing machines to verify whether there were any
other blood stained clothes. Or the circumstances in which they got
Crl.App.711/2012 Page 84 of 89
XXI. An observation
201. Before parting with this case, we are constrained to note an
extremely sad and unfortunate feature so far as women prisoners are
concerned. In several cases involving women prisoners, we are
coming across the fact that, apart from the punishment awarded by
law, they are suffering a fate worse than just their incarceration. One
in which their pain would be endless and knows no reprieve, one for
which there can be no legal intervention or legal remedy. This is the
punishment inflicted not only on the woman prisoner but may even
extend to her spouse and children by their relatives, friends and
202. In the present case, the appellant stands incarcerated, accused
and convicted of having murdered her mother-in-law. As a result of
the imprisonment, the first thing that resulted, was her complete
abandonment by in-laws and husband. Despite the husband’s own
evidence that he and the appellant shared a healthy emotional and
physical relationship on 11th February, 2012, he has even filed a
petition seeking dissolution of their marriage dated 8th July, 2007 by a
decree of divorce.
203. Left alone to defend the terrible accusations, the husband has
separated the appellant even from her children – a son (born on 26th
April, 2003) who, at the time of the incident in August, 2010, was
Crl.App.711/2012 Page 85 of 89
aged only about 7 years and a daughter (born on 10 th February, 2009)
then a mere year and a half. Our inquiries from the appellant disclose
that none from her family by marriage have ever visited her in the jail.
Instead of ensuring a complete investigation, they have joined hands
to create a façade of acrimony between the appellant and the deceased
to build a case against the appellant.
204. We however, find that in cases where the man of the family has
been accused, or even stands convicted, of extremely gruesome and
heinous offences, the entire family rallies around him. Be it the wife
and children or parents and siblings, they all not only defend the case
vigorously but also do their utmost to secure bail for the alleged
offender or suspension of sentence for the male convict. There is no
dearth of persons visiting such male prisoners in jail for mulaqat as
well. This is an unfortunate but hard reality faced by women
205. Thus, society hardly gives a second chance to women prisoners
and therefore, the responsibility to be shouldered by the authorities
qua these prisoners is enhanced manifold to ensure that they are
adequately equipped with the strength to face their emotional and
physical isolation with fortitude, their self-confidence and self-esteem
built up coupled with impartation of such livelihood skills as would
enable them to create financially independent lives for themselves
Crl.App.711/2012 Page 86 of 89
once they leave the prison precincts and are compelled to fend for
206. It is high time that robust programs involving women,
prisoners, especially those not educated and from economically
weaker sections must be developed in the jail, that is those stretch,
beyond the traditional and stereotyped activities of agarbati – jam –
pickle – papad making skills for which consumption is scanty or hair
dressing, tailoring, beauty care. While suggestions towards
encouraging development of linguistic skills and stenography (which
require hardly any financial or infrastructure investment) have been
taken up, however, these need to be taken up more vigorously. Given
the pressures of today’s lifestyles and longevity of life, there is
pressing need for geriatric caregivers and para-nursing assistance
(again not a capital or infrastructure intensive activity). Even the
illiterate prisoners (women and men) can be imparted skills in such
areas which could provide crucial economic opportunity. Training for
toddler care may enable the prisoner to develop or assist in crèches
and anganwadis, nursery schools etc. These are financially viable
options requiring no infrastructure and deserve to be considered. Of
course, experts would have the knowledge and expertise to provide
other really meaningful interventions to adequately equip the
prisoners with profitable and sustainable options using modern
technology and latest information.
Crl.App.711/2012 Page 87 of 89
207. Simultaneously, community sensitization programs qua the way
society views prisoners must be developed. To err is human and to
forgive divine. However, some mistakes are so serious that law
recognizes them as offences for which the law prescribes punishment.
But having undergone the punishment, the prisoners deserve a second
chance from society – and not the secondary life long sentence of
social ostracization. The jail, social scientists, NGOs, legal aid
authorities and the governments must educate society on these aspects
and ensure that this disproportionate impact of incarceration of
women is minimized and even eradicated. It must be ensured that,
having undergone (or while undergoing) their sentences, this group of
completely marginalized women do not suffer at the hands of society.
208. In view of the above discussion, it has to be held that the
prosecution has failed to prove circumstances which cumulatively
form a chain so complete that there was no escape from the
conclusion that, within all human probability, the crime was
committed by the appellant. On the contrary, the established facts are
consistent with the innocence of the appellant.
209. We place on record the very able and meticulous assistance
rendered to us by Ms. Anu Narula, ld. counsel for the appellant and
Ms. Aashaa Tiwari, ld. APP for the State in the present appeal.
Crl.App.711/2012 Page 88 of 89
210. Ex-consequenti we allow the present appeal and quash the
impugned judgment of conviction dated 9th April, 2012 as well as the
order on sentence dated 21st April, 2012. The sentence of the appellant
has already been suspended vide our order dated 31 st January, 2017.
The bail bond and surety bond submitted by and on her behalf shall
stand discharged accordingly.
211. Let a copy of this judgment be sent by the Registry to the
Secretary, Ministry of Skill Development Entrepreneurship,
Government of India; Secretary, Ministry of Social Justice
Empowerment, Government of India; Chief Secretary, Government of
NCT of Delhi; Commissioner of Police, New Delhi; Director General
(Prisons), Central Jail, Tihar; Member Secretary, Delhi Legal Services
Authority to examine our observations in paras 201 to 207 and
explore appropriate programs and intervention so that mainstreaming
and rehabilitation of women prisoners is not compromised in any
GITA MITTAL, J
ANU MALHOTRA, J
FEBRUARY 20, 2017
Crl.App.711/2012 Page 89 of 89