(1.) THE appellant was arraigned before Sessions Judge, Bhadarwah, to stand his trial for offences Under Sections 302, 201, 468 and 471 R. P. C. Acquitting him of the offences under Sections 468 and 471 R. P. C. he has convicted the appellant under Section 302 R. P. C. and sentenced him to imprisonment for life and a fine of Rupees 500/ -. He has also convicted him Under Section 201 R. P. C. and sentenced him to rigorous imprisonment for a further period of one year and a fine of Rs. 100/-; both the sentences to run concurrently. Whereas the appellant has appealed against his conviction and sentence, the Sessions Judge has made a reference for confirmation of the sentence of imprisonment for life imposed on the appellant. While deciding the case, he has also issued notices to three witnesses for the prosecution and one witness for the defence to show cause as to why they should not be proceeded against for offences under Sections 191, 192 and 193 R. P. C. Out of them, only one, namely, P. W. Dr. Mohammad Sharif Khan has filed a petition Under Section 561-A Cr. P. C. for expunging the remarks made by the Sessions Judge against him in the judgment as also for quashing the aforesaid proceeding against him. This judgment will dispose of the appeal, the reference, as well as the petition Under Section 561-A.
(2.) PUT briefly, the prosecution story goes like this: The appellant, a constable in the Central Reserve Police Force was married to one Amar Dei, alias Amrawati, nearly six years prior to the occurrence. A daughter was also born out of this wedlock. For more or less two years, his relations with his wife remained cordial and she lived with him in his parental house. Thereafter, their relations became strained and Amar Dei along with her daughter started living in her mother's house for most of the time. As the appellant had deserted her, so much so that he had not even availed leave for more than two years, Amar Dei called a meeting of the village Baradari, re-, questing it to make suitable arrangements for her maintenance as well as for the maintenance of her minor daughter, some time in the month of September 1977. No decision, could, however, be taken by the members of the Baradari and the meeting had to be adjourned sine die, as they were informed by P. W. Krishan, while the meeting was still going on that the appellant had been seen by him at Doda bridge on that very day. The appellant came to his village in September 1977 and shortly after his arrival there, he also brought his wife to live with him. They lived together for a month or so. Thereafter, he expressed his desire to take her along with him to his place of posting. She, however, insisted that her daughter be also taken along, but the appellant persuaded her not to take the daughter for the time being on the pretext that as soon as suitable arrangements for the lodging and boarding of the entire family would be made, he would come back and bring the daughter as well. Consequently, the daughter was kept with the appellant's mother-in-law, P. W. Sebti, and the appellant along with his wife proceeded to his place of posting, some time in the last week of October 1977. After some time, he started writing letters to his mother-in-law, telling her that he and his wife were hale and hearty and that she had also become pregnant, informing her further that she was busy with knitting garments. Nearly nine months thereafter, he returned home but all alone. He was asked by P. W. Sebti and others as to why he had not brought his wife Amar Dei along with him. He told them that she had been operated upon at Dibru Garh, as a consequence whereof, she had expired. He also told them that he had cremated her at Delhi on his way back home. This explanation did not satisfy P. W. Sebti, who told him to bring back her daughter's belongings. The appellant went back after a brief stay of four or five days in the village, undertaking to bring back soon all the belongings of his deceased wife. He returned after a week or so but did not bring the belongings. Immedaitely after his arrival in his village this time, he started performing the obsequial ceremonies relating to her death. The suspicion that was already lurking in the mind of p. W. Sebti that he might have either done away with her daughter or might have sold her to some one else, however, deepened as a result whereof she wrote two letters to the Commandant of the appellant, besides sending a couple of telegrams to him, seeking information as to what had happened to the appellant's wife. She was informed by him in writing that as disclosed to him by the appellant, his wife had expired at Udhampur on 29-10-1977, for which the appellant had produced before him her death certificate as well. On receiving this information, P. W. Sebti on 6-11-1977 lodged the FIR with Police Station, Doda. The police registered a case of murder against the appellant and also seized from P. W. Sebti on the very same day, some letters produced by her, which the appellant had, according to her, been writing to her from time to time. During the investigation, leave record of the appellant from his battalion was also seized. The appellant was taken into custody on 8-12-1977 and on his personal search two certificates, i, e. one issued by P. W. Dr. Hafiz Ullah, Medical Sperintendent, District Hospital, Doda and the other issued by P. W. Dr. Mohammad Sharif Khan, Medical Superintendent, District Hospital, Udhampur, along with their certified copies and a few other articles were recovered and duly seized by the police. The appellant was also interrogated on the recovery of the dead body of the deceased. He disclosed that he had concealed it in Nallah Ambhar near Udham-pur. His disclosure statement was duly recorded. The appellant lead the police to that place, but the dead body could not be found there. The police also seized some record pertaining to District Hospital Udhampur and on completion of the investigation, put up a challan against the appellant in the court of Chief Judicial Magistrate, Doda, who committed him to stand his trial for the aforesaid offences before Sessions Judge, Bhadarwah.
(3.) DURING the course of the trial, the prosecution examined a number of witnesses, including Sebti, Prem Nath, Mangat Ram Chowkidar, Dr. Hafiz Ullah, Dr. Mohammad Sharif Khan, Commandant R. N. Sexana and Ghulam Qadir Bhat, the Investigating Officer. Statement of the appellant Under Section 342 Cr. P. C. was also recorded. The defence set up by him was one of total denial. He denied having at all taken his wife along with him to his place of posting, or having written any letter from there to his mother-in-law. He also denied having told her, or for that matter others, that his wife had died at Dibru Garh. He also denied having made any extra judicial confession before P. W. Mangtoo Chowkidar. Two witnesses, namely, Hakam Singh and Mansukh were examined by him in defence. The learned Sessions Judge on consideration of the evidence disbelieved P. Ws. Dr. Hafiz Ullah, Dr. Mohammad Sharif Khan, Ram Krishen, Senior Male Nurse as well as D. W. Hakam Singh that Amar Dei was a patient of epilepsy who had died due to the said disease at Uudham-pur in October 1977 and eventually found the appellant guilty of murdering her on his way to his place of posting. He also found him guilty of having destroyed the evidence of the crime by concealing her dead body in Nallah Ambhar and acquitting him of the other offences, convicted and sentenced the appellant for offences under Sections 302 and 201 R. P. C. as already pointed out.;