MRS. MEERA PURI Vs. THE STATE OF NAGALAND
HIGH COURT OF GAUHATI
Mrs. Meera Puri
THE STATE OF NAGALAND
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P.K. Goswami, C.J. -
(1.) THIS appeal is against the judgment of conviction Under Section 302, Penal Code, and sentence of imprisonment for life. The accused (Mrs. Meera Puri) is the wife of a certain Major in 10 Assam Rifles described as Major Puri, stationed at Mokokchung in Nagaland.
(2.) THE prosecution case is briefly as follows: On 4th April, 1969, at about 5.00 P. M., the deceased Miss Alemnaro Ao, a young girl of about ten years of age, was going by the circular road at Mokokchung with her mother Mrs. Asangla Ao (P.W. a), her aunt Miss Amenla Ao (P.W. 4) and her two cousins, who were the daughters of Obangtemjen Ao (P.W. 1). P.W. 1 has married the sister of P.Ws. ii and 4. This small party walking by the road saw so me edible leaves below the road and the children went down to pick these up. At this time, two ladies were seen in the compound of Major Puri's house at a short distance from the hospital road which is at a higher level than the house situated on a slope of a hill. The area is hilly. The two ladies came down to the corner of their compound and shouted "Jao Jao". Alter that, two dogs came barking at them. Some earth was pelted at the dogs by the mother. The mother also called back the children to return. As the party was about to return, a 'Thak' Bound of a gunfire was heard and when they looked towards the side from which the sound was coming, they saw the accused lowering down a gun. The deceased was hit by a bullet and she immediately gave out that "Mother, out of the two ladies the younger one has shot me". The daughter was picked up by the mother and P.W. 4 was sent to report to P.W. 1. He came within about fifteen minutes and took the child to the military hospital, where however there was no doctor available and in an army vehicle she was brought to the civil hospital where the doctors treated her. The small child died two days after on 6th April, 1969 at 9 -00 A. M. On the above facts, the accused stands charged Under Section 302, Penal Code for committing murder by intentionally or knowingly causing the death of Alemnaro Ao by firing at her with a .22 bore rifle. Prosecution has examined sixteen witnesses, out of which P.Ws. 2, 4, 10 and 11 are the eye witnesses to the occurrence. Prosecution rests on their evidence as also on a statement of the deceased recorded by the doctor Longri Ao (P.W. 3) prior to her death. The statement is marked as Ext. P -3. Prosecution also examined Dr. L. M. Murry (P.W. 5), who found on postmortem examination one perforated wound on the left iliac fossa 1 1/2" medial to the left illi chest and another perforated wound at the back on the tip of the left 12th rib. There was no charring or blackening at or near the wound. On internal examination, he found small perforation in the small intestine at four places and one perforation in the large intestine. There was a tear in mesentery which had torn several mesentery vessels. There was also a perforating wound at the psoas muscle on the left side. Blood had collected in the peritoneal cavity. The first perforating wound was through and through and it corresponded to the second perforating wound at the back. No bullet was found inside the body. The size of the wound was quite small and he is not quite sure whether it could be caused by .22 bore bullet. He however opined that the injury was caused by some small bore fire arm. In bia opinion, death was caused due to intra peritoneal bleeding with generalised peritonitis causing circulatory failure and in the ordinary course it was sufficient to cause death, In cross -examination he states that he has not given the measurements of the wounds. The bask wound was about 4" higher in level than the front wound. He himself has fire arm and he knows its use.
(3.) MR . N. Jauhari (P.W. 9) is the Assistant Director of Central Forensic Laboratory cum -Assistant Chemical Examiner to the Government of India in Calcutta. He is the Ballistic Expert to whom the rifle 'which was produced by the husband of the accused and the ammunitions which were seized from the accused's house with the Samiz, underwear and frock which were in the wearing of the deceased were sent for examination by the police along with the report of the post mortem. He submitted his report Ext. P -7. He stated in court that after chemical examination he found that the rifle bore evidence of being fired before it was received by him. It was however not possible to give its duration. He examined the three garments. No blackening or charring was found around the bole in the garments. He could not give the distance of firing. The frock and the underwear were found to have one hole each corresponding to the wound on the left iliac fossa. No hole corresponding to the second wound on the tip of the left 12th rib could be found on any of the garments. P.W. 9 states that in the event of the frock hanging in the normal manner, this suggests the possibility that the holes in the garments are the holes through which the bullet entered before causing the wound on the left iliac fossa, According to him, it probably came out of the second wound of the left 12th rib but failed to penetrate the frock. The fact that the wound on the left 12th rib is located at a place where the body was not covered by the underwear could account for the absence of another hole in the underwear. He however stated that these observations needed confirmation in the light of observations made by the autopsy surgeon about the nature and appearance of the two wounds. Spectrogaphic examination revealed lead around the edges of the holes of the garments. The visual appearance of the holes was also similar to that produced by firing the ammunition seized from the accused's rifle (Ext. M. 4). He therefore concluded that the holes in the garments could be produced by .22 bore rifle shot. He stated in the course of cross -examination that due to loss of energy it is possible that the bullet may not have passed through the garments after passing through the body and hence might have fallen down at the place where the victim was hit. He fired Eleven rounds from the seized rifle for experiment and tested by firing one round on a piece of cloth taken from the frock. From the evidence of the doctor as well as the Ballistic Expert, it is established that the wounds found on the person of the deceased were caused by a bullet injury. We are also satisfied that that bullet was fired from the rifle seized from the accused's husband. The Ballistic Expert fired one round from this rifle with a bullet seized from the house of the accused through a piece of cloth taken from the frock and he has therefore sufficient materials on which he based his conclusion, and we are satisfied that it is safe to depend upon his opinion. We are also satisfied that the child died as a consequence of the bullet injury.;
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