4 April 2022 12:35 PM GMT
The Allahabad High Court today upheld the life sentence awarded to a wife who killed her husband in concert with two others (the life sentence awarded to them has also been confirmed) 18 years back by relying upon her 'voluntary' and 'trustworthy' extra-judicial confession.The Bench of Justice Manoj Kumar Gupta and Justice Om Prakash Tripathi observed that since the extra-judicial confession...
The Allahabad High Court today upheld the life sentence awarded to a wife who killed her husband in concert with two others (the life sentence awarded to them has also been confirmed) 18 years back by relying upon her 'voluntary' and 'trustworthy' extra-judicial confession.
The Bench of Justice Manoj Kumar Gupta and Justice Om Prakash Tripathi observed that since the extra-judicial confession made by the accused wife was corroborated by the other circumstantial evidence, and therefore, it concluded thus:
"The only hypothesis was that all three accused persons committed the gruesome murder of the deceased with planning and cool mind."
The case in brief
Complainant-Om Prakash (cousin of the deceased) lodged the first information report on April 18, 2004, stating that the convict/wife of the deceased told him that in the intervening night of 17/18 April 2004, four persons came from Delhi; all were very well known to her husband; they administered him intoxicating material.
Sunita further told him that they all assaulted Charanjeet on his head by the leg of the table, due to which he has sustained injuries on his head as a result of which he died.
It may be noted that the complainant-Om Prakash did not mention the name of the assailants, he only reported the incident on the basis of what was told by Sunita/Convict (wife of the deceased). After the completion of the investigation, Investigating Officer submitted a charge sheet under Section 302.
The Court of Special/Additional Sessions Judge, Saharanpur framed charges against the appellants [Sunita, Amit Chopra, and Raju] under Section 302/34 IPC. Later on, there were convicted and awarded life sentences, challenging the same, they moved to the High Court.
Court's observations and analysis
Analyzing the evidence/testimonies and deposition put before the Trial Court, the Court noted that during the trial, P.W.2 (Raj Rani), who is the maternal aunt of the deceased had deposed that Convict-Sunita had made an extra-judicial confession before her stating that she had an illicit relationship with Amit Chopra (Convict) and when Charanjeet (deceased-husband) began to suspect her and used to be angry and forbade her to meet Amit Chopra, they made a plan in Delhi to kill him.
Sunita/Wife-convict further told the PW-2 that she mixed intoxicating pills in juice (shikanji) and served it to the deceased and thereafter, with the help of Amit, Raju, and Dinesh, they committed the murder of Charanjeet.
Apart from the deposition of the PW-2, the High Court also took into account the statement made by PW.8 Mukesh Rawal (adopted brother of the accused Sunita) who deposed that there was an illicit relationship between Amit Chopra (Convict) and Sunita and when he met Sunita in court, she repented that she had committed a mistake and she with the help of Amit Chopra, Raju and Dinesh killed Charanjeet, kindly help her.
Apart from this, PW-1/Complainant also deposed that Sunita had told him that all the four children, who were born from her wedlock with Charanjeet, were handicapped and therefore, she had developed illicit relations with the three accused, so that, the coming generation would be hale and hearty
In view of these depositions made by the prosecution witnesses, the Court came to the conclusion that the protection was successful in proving the motive of the crime and further remarked thus:
"Prior to the incident, the deceased came to know that Sunita had illicit relationship with Amit Chopra and Raju due to this, they came from Delhi to Saharanpur, where, the deceased was brutally murdered. The motive for causing murder was the begetting of healthy offspring. That's why, the accused Sunita, Amit Chopra and Raju planned to get rid of from deceased Charanjeet."
Regarding the extra-judicial confession made by her, the Court observed that it was evident that the confession made by the accused Sunita before near relations was without undue influence, coercion or pressure.
"It was voluntary, no suggestion was made in the cross-examination that such extra-judicial confessions are tempted or non-voluntary. Thus, the said extra-judicial confession is reliable and admissible evidence being trustworthy and accepted as a whole," the court further held
Apart from her extra-judicial confession, the Court also took into account her acts during the time of the incident as it noted that while she was present in the room when the incident took place, she did not interfere or made struggle with the other accused to save the life of her husband.
"She had not made any noise or even hue and cry/scream; she was not only a silent spectator of the incident but also offered assistance in commission of the crime. Thus, the inaction shown by the accused Sunita indicates that she has mala fides and knew everything about the murder of her husband," the court further remarked.
Consequently, the Court came we are of the view that the chain of evidence was complete in this case, the extra-judicial confession made by the accused Sunita is corroborated by the other circumstantial evidence.
Therefore, the Court held that the guilt of appellants had been established by the prosecution beyond reasonable doubt and their acquittal would result in a grave miscarriage of justice. Therefore, the life sentences awarded to them were upheld.
Case title - Sunita And Others v. State of U.P.
Case citation: 2022 LiveLaw (All) 158
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