JAYANTILAL VERMA Vs. STATE OF M.P. (NOW CHHATTISGARH)
LAWS(SC)-2020-11-28
SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
Decided on November 19,2020

Jayantilal Verma Appellant
VERSUS
STATE OF M.P. (NOW CHHATTISGARH) Respondents





Cited Judgements :-

SANDU S/O KISAN SHELKE VS. STATE OF MAHARASHTRA [LAWS(BOM)-2021-9-228] [REFERRED TO]


JUDGEMENT

SANJAY KISHAN KAUL, J. - (1.)On the fateful day of 24.8.1999, one Sahodara Bai was found dead on a cot in her matrimonial home located in village Uslapur, District Rajanandgaon, M.P. (now Chhattisgarh). A marg intimation was lodged with the police at the behest of her brother, one Kishore Kumar, who alleged that he had returned to village Uslapur to see his sister, where he was informed by her in-laws that she had died. He related a priorincident from a few days ago alleging that on 19.8.1999, the deceased had returned to her maternal home to village Baiharsari stating that she had been harassed at the hands of her in-laws for the last 6-7 months. The cause for harassment was stated to be that the appellant herein (her husband) had a brother who lived separately and the in-laws would beat and harass her if she attempted to speak to the wife of the brother of the appellant herein. The endeavour of reconciliation took place when Kishore Kumar along with another brother, Lochan, had brought the deceased back to her matrimonial home. Even at that stage, on being asked whether they wanted her to live with them, the in-laws responded that they will see for a few days and then decide. The deceased thereafter stayed back at her matrimonial home.
(2.)A postmortem was conducted on the body and FIR No.72/99 came to be registered at P.S. Bodla, District Kawargha on 29.8.1999 arraying the appellant herein, his father, one Lalchand and mother, one Ahiman Bai as accused for offences punishable under Sections 302 read with Section 34 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 (hereinafter referred to as the 'IPC'). The FIR is stated to have been registered at the behest of one K.P.S. Paikara, the SHO of P.S. Bodla, who relayed the abovementioned information from the marg intimation and also elaborated on the relationship of the deceased and the appellant herein along with the findings of the postmortem report. The marriage between the appellant herein and the deceased had taken place about 8 years prior to the incident and there was a son born, who was only a few months old. The appellant herein, along with the deceased was staying with his parents. The post mortem report stated that the cause of death was asphyxia due to strangulation, and the nature of death was possibly homicidal. On completion of investigation, Chargesheet No. 64/99 was filed and charges were framed by the Sessions Court in Sessions Trial No. 165/1999, arraying the appellant herein and his parents as accused. The version given by the accused in their statements under Section 313 Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (hereinafter referred to as the 'Cr.P.C.') was that on the morning of the incident all the three accused had gone to the fields, while only the deceased remained at home. Lalchand stated that after taking a bath in the pond, when he returned, he discovered the deceased lying dead in her cot. Thereafter he called the appellant herein and his wife, Ahiman Bai, who were still in the fields. No evidence was led in this regard.
(3.)The prosecution led evidence of 9 witnesses to establish their case. Five of these witnesses turned hostile - PW-2 (Lochan), brother of the deceased, PW-3 (Mukund), PW-4 (Jagdev), PW-5 (Pitambar Verma) and PW-6 (Ghasiya). The case of the prosecution was, thus, based on the testimonies of the remaining witnesses, i.e., PW-1, Kishore Kumar, the brother of the deceased and PW-7, Rajendra Chauhan, who prepared the site plan, PW-8, K.P.S. Paikara, Investigating Officer and PW-9, Dr. M.S. Bachkar, who conducted the postmortem. Thus, effectively the case was based on the testimony of PW-1, apart from the testimony of the doctor who conducted the postmortem.
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