18 May 2023 3:20 AM GMT
The Gauhati High Court recently set aside the murder conviction of a man accused of murdering his own newborn child, on the ground that the prosecution did not prove the place of occurrence, manner of occurrence and participation of the accused in the said crime beyond reasonable doubt.The division bench of Justice Lanusungkum Jamir and Justice Malasri Nandi observed that the dead body of...
The Gauhati High Court recently set aside the murder conviction of a man accused of murdering his own newborn child, on the ground that the prosecution did not prove the place of occurrence, manner of occurrence and participation of the accused in the said crime beyond reasonable doubt.
The division bench of Justice Lanusungkum Jamir and Justice Malasri Nandi observed that the dead body of the child was not recovered during investigation and that the informant during her examination did not disclose where the dead body was kept by the accused-appellant.
“After eight months of death of her child, the informant had shown a place where the dead body of her child was alleged to be buried. But after unearthing the place, the dead body of her child was not discovered but the investigating officer of the case also stated that the informant did not disclose anything before him who had buried the dead body of the child on the place,” the court said.
The informant and accused got married in 2010 and one male child was born to them. An FIR was lodged on September 4, 2012 against the accused-appellant by his wife alleging that since after three months of their marriage, he started to torture her both mentally as well as physically. It was further alleged that after the birth of the child, the accused/appellant tried to sell the child to some person but the nurses and other medical staff prevented him from selling the child.
It was alleged that after the discharge from the hospital, the informant came back home along with her child but the accused-appellant assaulted the informant and her child. The accused-appellant killed her child by strangulating him on June 30, 2012 and threatened her that if she disclosed the fact to anybody, she would be killed, according to the prosecution.
After the completion of investigation, a charge-sheet was submitted against the accused-appellant under Section 498(A), Section 302 and Section 506 of IPC before the Court Additional CJM, Dhemaji. The Sessions Court vide judgment and order dated July 17, 2017 convicted the accused and sentenced him to undergo rigorous imprisonment for life and to pay a fine of Rs. 5,000/- under Section 302 of IPC and further sentenced him to undergo rigorous imprisonment for three years and to pay a fine of Rs.1,000/- under Section 201 of IPC.
The counsel appearing for the accused-appellant submitted that the buried dead body of the deceased child was not found and there was no proof that the child of the informant and the appellant had actually died. It was further submitted that though the deceased child was born out of the wedlock between the informant and the accused but the prosecution failed to prove that the cause of death of the child was strangulation. It was submitted that the dead body of the child was not recovered during investigation and there was no post mortem examination report regarding the death of the child.
It was further submitted that there was a delay of three months in lodging the FIR but there was no explanation from the side of the prosecution regarding delay.
Additional Public Prosecutor argued that except the informant (PW1), there was no other eye witness to the incident. It was further submitted that there was delay in lodging the FIR which was not properly explained and other witnesses also did not support the case of the prosecution regarding the death of the child of the informant due to strangulation caused by the accused-appellant.
The division bench said the trial court had proceeded more on the basis that the appellant may have murdered the child of the informant and in doing so, it overlooked the fact that there is a long distance between “may have” and “must have” which must be traversed by the prosecution by producing cogent and reliable evidence.
“No such evidence is unfortunately forthcoming in the instant case,” the court said.
Thus, the court set aside the impugned judgment of conviction and order of sentence on the ground that the prosecution failed to prove the guilt of the accused-appellant beyond reasonable doubt.
Case Title: Sri Bhadreswar Padi v. The State of Assam & Anr.
Citation: 2023 LiveLaw (Gau) 61
Coram: Justice Lanusungkum Jamir and Justice Malasri Nandi
Click Here to Read/Download Judgment