STATE OF KARNATAKA Vs. A B NAGARAJ
SUPREME COURT OF INDIA (FROM: KARNATAKA)
STATE OF KARNATAKA
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Rajendra Babu, J. -
(1.)Thirteen-year old Neelammas corpse was found on 5-10-1985 at a bush on the side of a footpath leading towards Mavinahalla, near Bennerghatta National Park. The learned Sessions Judge, Bangalore Rural District found Neelammas father (A1) and step-mother (A2) guilty of killing her. They were convicted under Section 302 read with Section 34, Indian Penal Code and sentenced to life imprisonment. On appeal, the High Court of Karnataka acquitted them. The State has preferred this appeal by special leave.
(2.)The case of the prosecution is that on 5-10-1985 both the accused and the deceased went to Bennerghatta National Park. PW 5, Kunniga saw all of them walking towards Mavinahalla. After some time he heard a cry "ayyayyo". He looked around but saw nothing. A little later he saw A1 and A2 coming from that side. He approached them and asked them how come they were three when they went and only two returning. The accused replied that the girl was moving about eating groundnuts and doing other things. He was not convinced with the reply. He took them to the Range Forest Office and narrated the incident to PW 3, Forester Linge Gowda. PW 3 sent some of the Watchers including PW 4, PW 5 and both the accused to the spot for further inquiry. They found the deceased girl lying with tied hands behind the neck with a kerchief and neck with a towel. A green jacket was found thrust into her mouth. Thereafter, PW 1 B. Nagaraj, Range Officer was informed. PW 1 verified the fact and forwarded a Report (Exb. P-1) to Bennerghatta Police Out Post. Later, PW 10, Police Head Constable arrested the accused from the Forest Office. PW 10 took a personal search of A1 and found 9 tickets (MO 1). PW 2, Dr. Shivaprakash, who conducted the post-mortem, found that death was caused due to asphyxia on account of strangulation. A1 and A2 were charged under Section 302 read with Section 34, IPC. The accused pleaded not guilty.
(3.)Based on the manner in which the body was recovered and the medical evidence of PW 2, the trial Court found that the deceased met with homicidal death as a result of asphyxia due to strangulation. PW 5 deposed that he saw the deceased last with A1 and A2. He also saw them returning from the place where he heard the cry Ayyayyo. Moreover, the trial Court found that he is not an interested witness and relied upon his deposition. The trial Court also placed reliance upon the deposition of PW 3 wherein he stated that the accused made extra-judicial confession that they murdered Neelamma because of her bad character. PW 6, bus conductor identified the MO 1 tickets that he issued to the accused to travel up to National Park. Juxtaposing all this, the trial Court found the chain of circumstances complete. A1 and A2 were convicted, based on circumstantial evidence lead before the trial Court.
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