Decided on September 06,2010



Wangdi, J. - (1.) BY this appeal, the appellant seeks to assail the judgment of the learned Sessions Judge, South & West Sikkim at Namchi, dated 30 -03 -2002 passed in Criminal Case no. 17 of 2000, by which the accused/appellant was convicted for offence under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code (in short "IPC") and sentenced to undergo imprisonment for life with fine of Rs.10,000/ - and in default of payment of fine to undergo further imprisonment for 6 months.
(2.) THE facts of the prosecution case stated in brief are as under: - In the morning of 06 -08 -2000 at 0615 hrs., the Officer -in - Charge, Temi Police Station, received a written complaint from one Pentok Lepcha, resident of Dong Busty under Niz Ramyang Gram Panchayat, South Sikkim, stating that in the afternoon of 05 -08 - 2000 at about 3/4 p.m., his brother Tshering Lepcha of the same place, killed his wife Phurmit Lepcha and youngest daughter Sonamit Lepcha with an iron knife. Based on this, Temi Police Station Case no.4(8)2000 dated 06 -08 -2000 under Section 302 IPC was registered against the accused for the murder of his wife Phurmit Lepcha and daughter Sonamit Lepcha and the case taken up for investigation. As per the prosecution, investigation revealed that in the afternoon of 05 -08 -2000 at about 3/4 p.m., the accused Tshering Lepcha was at home at Dong Busty along with his wife Phurmit Lepcha and three daughters, namely, (1) Markit Lepcha aged about 8 years, (2) Santimit Lepcha aged about 4 years and (3) Sonamit Lepcha aged about 1? years. In the house, the deceased persons Phurmit Lepcha and Sonamit Lepcha were lying on a bed, the accused person on another and the other two daughters playing outside in the verandah. Suddenly, without any provocation, the accused person pulled out his knife from underneath his pillow and struck his wife Phurmit Lepcha from behind upon which she shouted in pain and ran out of the room in panic lifting her child with the accused Tshering Lepcha hotly in her pursuit. As she ran out, Phurmit Lepcha slipped on the steps and fell by which time the accused had caught up with her and struck her repeatedly with the knife inflicting multiple fatal injuries on her head and body. After having finished with her, the accused then struck his youngest daughter with the same knife inflicting grievous wounds on the head and below the shoulder resulting in the death of the victims instantly. Seeing the gruesome scene that was being enacted, the eldest daughter Markit Lepcha took her younger sister Santimit Lepcha and ran to the house of their grandmother Gonam Lepcha situated about 100 fts. above the house of the accused person and narrated the entire story to her. On hearing of the incident, Gonam Lepcha, the grandmother, sent her daughter Sukmit Lepcha aged about 22 years, to inform her youngest son Pentok Lepcha, the complainant, who at that time was working in the ginger field nearby the house. On hearing of the incident, Pentok Lepcha rushed to the place of occurrence and saw the dead bodies of the victims that lay in front of the house of the accused in a pool of blood. He then raised an alarm crying out as to where the killer was. As he searched for the accused person, he found him about 50/60 fts. below the place of occurrence whereupon he called out the accused person, and ran towards him and caught hold of him. During this time, the complainant noticed the knife (weapon of offence) smeared with fresh blood on the ground near the accused person. The commotion alerted his uncle Mingma Lepcha living about 100 fts. away from the place of occurrence on its Southern side where he arrived and, with his help bound the accused person with a rope and held him in captivity in the house of one Passang Lepcha about 100 fts. below the house of the accused. By this time, rest of the villagers and the Panchayat President of the area had also arrived at the place.
(3.) LATER in the evening, the complainant, Pentok Lepcha reported of the incident to the In -Charge, Bermiok Police Out Post and returned to his village. The In -Charge Bermiok Out Post ASI, Sangey Bhutia, reported of the matter to the Officer -in -Charge Temi Police Station by wireless who directed him to proceed to Dong Busty immediately for verification and to take suitable measures. The police personnel reached Dong Busty late in the night, where they spent the night accompanied by other villagers guarding the place of occurrence, the accused person and the dead bodies of the victims. The complainant went to the Temi Police Station early in the morning of the following day and submitted a written complaint regarding the incident based on which case under Section 302 IPC was registered and investigation carried out. On completion of the investigation, the Investigating Officer having found that a prima facie case under Section 302 IPC had been made out against the accused Tshering Lepcha for committing the murder of his wife Phurmit Lepcha and daughter Sonamit Lepcha, submitted a charge sheet against him for trial. The learned Sessions Judge upon consideration of the materials on record framed charge against the accused person for having committed the offence and directed that he tried accordingly. The accused person pleaded not guilty to the charge and claimed to be tried.;

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