BALDEV RAJ Vs. STATE OF HARYANA
SUPREME COURT OF INDIA (FROM: PUNJAB & HARYANA)
STATE OF HARYANA
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Fathima Beevi, J. -
(1.)Raj Kumari (20), the daughter of Ishar Dass, was married to the appellant Baldev Raj a year before her tragic death in February, 1975. It appears that all was not well with the couple. Raj Kumari left for her parents house in village Raison 75 Kms. away from her matrimonial home in village Urlana Khurd. She stayed with her parents for some days complaining ill-treatment by the husband. On the assurance of the father-in-law, she was sent back with her husband hardly a couple of months before the incident on 14-2-1975. On that fateful day, it is said that Raj Kumari took meals to the appellant who was working in that wheat field near his tubewell. Raj Kumari did not return home. Her dead-body was discovered in the drain on 16-2-1975. Multiple injuries were seen on her person. Complaint was lodged at the police station on February 16, 1975 at ,about 5.30 p. m. against the appellant who was finally chargesheeted for the offence under Sections 302 and 201, I.P.C. The learned Sessions Judge convicted the appellant under Section 302, I.P.C., and sentenced him to undergo imprisonment for life. The High Court dismissed the appeal against the conviction and sentence. This appeal by special leave is directed against the judgment of the High Court.
(2.)The conviction of the appellant is based on circumstantial evidence only. The main item of the evidence consists of the extra judicial confession stated to have been made by the appellant in the presence of Ishar Dass (P.W. 3), Ramji Dass (P.W. 4) and Satnam Dass (P.W. 5) at the panchayat on 16-2-1975, besides the recovery of incriminating articles at the instance of the appellant and the motive as spoken to by Ishar Dass. According to the prosecution, on 15-2-1975 the appellant's father Hakam Chand contacted Ishar Dass when Raj Kumari was found missing from 14-2-1975. Ishar Dass arrived at village Urlana Khurd accompanied by Satnam Dass, Sarpanch of his village, and others. At the panchayat held in the presence of Ramji Dass, Nand Lal, Satnam Dass and OTHERS the appellant stated that he killed his wife in the wheat field and threw the dead-body in the drain at night after removing her ornaments. P.Ws. 3, 4 and 5 testified the fact but Nand Lal (D.W. 1) did not support the prosecution version. It is also the prosecution case that the appellant was handed over to and arrested by the police at the time the complaint was lodged after the discovery of the dead-body and that the appellant had produced the kassi and the gold ornaments concealed in the hut near the tubewell. P.W. 10, the Sub-Inspector of Police, deposed to having interrogated the appellant and effected the recovery on the basis of the statements made by the appellant. Ishar Dass (P.W. 3) narrated the events that preceded the occurrence and also proved the letter he had received from the appellant's father when Raj Kumari was staying with him. He also stated the circumstances under which he happened to be at the panchayat on 16-2-1975 along with the others after being informed bv Hakam Chand. P.Ws. 4 and 5 fully corroborated the evidence of P.W. 3 in that the appellant had confessed his guilt in their presence. The evidence was accepted by the trial Court and the High Court to sustain the conviction against the appellant.
(3.)The argument on behalf of the appellant that the medical evidence is conflicting with the prosecution case was rejected by the High Court finding that the ante mortem injuries found on the body of Raj Kumari could have been caused with the weapon recovered even on the statement made by the Doctor (P.W. 1). The recovery of the bloodstained earth from the wheat field near the tube well, recovery of bloodstained kassi and the ornaments worn by Raj Kumari by P. W. 10 in the opinion of the High Court lent assurance to the statement made by the appellant before the panchayat. The High Court was of the view that the various circumstances conclusively proved the guilt of the appellant beyond reasonable doubt.
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