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Premeditated Murder Of Wife, Four Minor Daughters: Allahabad High Court Upholds Death Sentence

Aaratrika Bhaumik
12 July 2021 6:58 AM GMT
Premeditated Murder Of Wife, Four Minor Daughters: Allahabad High Court Upholds Death Sentence
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The Allahabad High Court on Friday upheld the conviction of a man for brutally murdering his wife and four minor daughters aged 7, 5, 3 years and the youngest one was merely one and a half months old. A Bench comprising Justices Ramesh Sinha and Rajeev Singh also affirmed the imposition of death penalty on the accused by opining that it was a 'rarest of rare' case.The accused had...

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The Allahabad High Court on Friday upheld the conviction of a man for brutally murdering his wife and four minor daughters aged 7, 5, 3 years and the youngest one was merely one and a half months old.

A Bench comprising Justices Ramesh Sinha and Rajeev Singh also affirmed the imposition of death penalty on the accused by opining that it was a 'rarest of rare' case.

The accused had been convicted of the offence of murder under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and awarded the death sentence by the Sessions Judge, Lakhimpur Kheri. Aggrieved by the conviction and the sentence imposed, the present appeal was filed.

The accused was found to have committed the murder of his wife and minor daughters by imposing severe incised wounds on their bodies. Subsequently, the accused had put the deceased persons on fire, resulting in deep burns all over their bodies.

The Trial court had concluded that the murders were committed in such a gruesome manner that it 'shocks not only the judicial conscience but even the conscience of the society'.

"The deceased included four innocent children, who could not have provided even an excuse, much less a provocation, for the crime and a helpless woman, who was none but his own wife. Its beyond imagination that the deceased girls aged 3, 5 and 7 years might have given any excuse or provocation. The youngest deceased was an infant aged just one and a half month. The accused just butchered five persons to death including four minor girls in most inhuman, cruel and merciless way", the Trial court had observed.

Observations:

The High Court noted that the instant case was a case of circumstantial evidence wherein the onus lies on the prosecution to prove the complete chain of events which shall undoubtedly point towards the guilt of the accused. Thus, the conditions that must be fulfilled before conviction can be placed on circumstantial evidence are- (1) the circumstances from which the conclusion of guilt is to be drawn should be fully established. The circumstances concerned 'must' or 'should' and not 'may be' established; (2) the facts so established should be consistent only with the hypothesis of the guilt of the accused, that is to say, they should not be explainable on any other hypothesis except that the accused is guilty; (3) the circumstances should be of a conclusive nature and tendency; (4) they should exclude every possible hypothesis except the one to be proved; and (5) there must be a chain of evidence so complete as not to leave any reasonable ground for the conclusion consistent with the innocence of the accused and must show that in all human probability the act must have been done by the accused.

Enumerating on the existence of motive, the Court observed that from the deposition of the brother of the deceased it can be concluded that there was sufficient motive for the accused to commit murder of his wife Sangeeta along with her children. The deceased had informed her brother about the illicit relationship the accused had with his lover Manju and how the accused wanted to marry Manju which was objected to by the deceased. The brother of the deceased had also deposed that ten days prior to the incident, the deceased had come to his house and in the presence of his neighbours had also disclosed about the illicit relationship of the accused.

"From the aforesaid analysis of the evidence on record, it is established that the prosecution has proved beyond doubt that the appellant has motive to commit the murder of his wife and his four minor children and, therefore, the contention of the learned Counsel for the appellant on this score is not sustainable and the same is rejected also", the Court opined.

Furthermore, rejecting the contention of the accused that he was not present at the scene of crime, the Court observed that the kerosene oil found on the body of the accused along with superficial burn injuries proved that the accused had committed the murder of his wife and children and subsequently burnt their bodies as post-mortem burns had been located on all deceased persons.

The Court also noted that one of the primary reasons behind the accused killing his four minor daughters was that he wanted to escape the responsibility of bringing them up.

"Another strong circumstance, which appears against the appellant, is that the reason for the appellant for killing his minor daughters and his wife Sangeeta appears to be that he wanted to escape his responsibility of his four minor daughters of their clothing, studies and further their marriage after they would have grown up, therefore, the appellant thought to eliminate them along with his wife. It is noteworthy to mention here that the appellant had an elder son, who was aged about ten years and whom he had left at Mau with a police constable for studies one week ago from the date of the incident and he did not kill him for oblique motive being a male child", the Court stated.

While adjudicating upon the death sentence awarded to the accused by the Trial court, the High Court observed that it is imperative that each case is decided on its own facts and merits before such capital punishment is awarded.

"From whatever point of view it is examined, one indisputable statement of law follows that it is neither possible nor prudent to state any universal form which would be applicable to all the cases of criminology where capital punishment has been prescribed. Thus, it is imperative for the Court to examine each case on its own facts, in the light of enunciated principles and before opting for the death penalty, the circumstances of the offender are also required to be taken into consideration along with the circumstances of crime for the reason that life imprisonment is the rule and death sentence is an exception", the Court stated.

Further the Court reiterated that death sentence must be imposed only in the 'rarest of rare' cases. A balance must also be struck between aggravating and mitigating circumstances while adjudicating upon the imposition of death sentence, the Court opined. Accordingly, the Court examined the mitigating factors which included the accused not having any antecedents and the present case being completely based on circumstances evidence in the absence of eye witnesses.

However, the Court held that the instant case was a fit case for awarding the death penalty considering the gravity of the crime committed.

"Having gone through the facts and circumstances of this case, we find that there was ample evidence on record to establish that the accused/convict committed pre-planned and premeditated murder of his wife and minor innocent children and such evidence has been led by the prosecution to establish this fact. More so, the appellant cut the body of the deceased and inflicted severe incised wounds. Thus, it is beyond doubt that the manner in which crime is committed by banka and thereafter buried the dead bodies by pouring kerosene oil, is brutal, cruel and gruesome", the Court opined.

The Court also concluded that there existed no possibility of reformation of the accused. The Court placed reliance on a report from the District Probation Office who had vehemently argued that there was no chance of reformation.

From the evidence and witness testimonies, the Court upheld the dictum of the Trial court in convicting the accused for murder of his wife and children. The Court also inferred that the instant case falls within the category of 'rarest of rare' warranting the imposition of capital punishment. .

Case Title: Ramanand @ Nand Lal Bharti v. State of UP

Click Here To Read/Download Order


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