19 Nov 2022 5:24 AM GMT
The Gauhati High Court recently upheld the conviction of a man who 'brutally' killed his 2.5 years old baby girl with a sharp weapon due to a quarrel arising between himself and his wife out of suspicion of an illicit affair maintained by the wife with another person. The bench of Justice Suman Shyam and Justice Mitali Thakuria relied upon the testimony of the wife of the convict (and...
The Gauhati High Court recently upheld the conviction of a man who 'brutally' killed his 2.5 years old baby girl with a sharp weapon due to a quarrel arising between himself and his wife out of suspicion of an illicit affair maintained by the wife with another person.
The bench of Justice Suman Shyam and Justice Mitali Thakuria relied upon the testimony of the wife of the convict (and mother of the deceased) who, the Court noted, had not only seen the occurrence but had also truthfully deposed about the incident before the Court.
The case in brief
On July 24, 2016, Asma Khatun (wife of the accused/appellant and the mother of the victim) lodged an FIR stating that his husband/accused took her daughter Suhana Akhtar (aged 2.5 years) to the nearby shop telling that he would buy her some biscuit and killed the child on the way by stabbing her on the chest with a sharp weapon and that she had witnessed this incident.
A charge sheet was filed, the charges were framed and after the conclusion of the trial, on September 28, 2018, the accused was convicted under section 302 IPC by Additional Sessions Judge, Bajali, Pathsala, and was sentenced to undergo rigorous imprisonment for life. Being aggrieved by the impugned judgment, the appellant preferred the instant appeal.
The arguments put forth
It was the version of the accused (represented by an Amicus Curiae M. Dutta) that except for the testimony of PW-2/Asma Khatun (wife of the accused/appellant and the mother of the victim), there was no other evidence available on record which could implicate the appellant/accused in this case.
The Court's attention was also drawn towards the explanation furnished by the accused/appellant while recording his statement under Section 313 Cr.P.C. by stating that it was his wife i.e. the PW-2, who had killed the child and assaulted him with a "Chaku" and later on, got married with another boy with whom she was having an illicit relationship.
As such, the Amicus Curiae argued that it was a fit case where the appellant/accused deserved to be acquitted by giving him the benefit of doubt.
On the other hand, the APP appearing for the State argued that PW-2/Asma Khatun (wife of the accused/appellant and the mother of the victim) had herself seen the occurrence and therefore, she is an eyewitness to the occurrence. It was also contended that the testimony of the PW-2 was not only consistent with her statement recorded by the Police under Section 161 of the Cr.P.C. but the same was also free from contradiction and therefore, it was argued, she could be treated as a sterling witness in this case.
High Court's observations
At the outset, the Court analyzed the testimony of PW2 to note that in her testimony, she had narrated in detail, the manner in which the incident took place, and therefore, her evidence appeared not only to be consistent and free from contradiction but also in conformity with her statement recorded under Section 161 Cr.P.C.
"From the evidence of PW-2, it is firmly established that on the date of the occurrence, it was none other than the accused/appellant, who had taken away the victim girl from the lap of her mother i.e. the PW-2 and thereafter, killed the child by inflicting grievous injuries on her body with a sharp weapon just outside the house and on the road. The incident was seen by the PW-2.," the Court further remarks finding the testimony of PW2 to be of sterling quality.
Regarding the explanation adduced by the accused in his 313 CrPC statement, the Court noted that his attempt was to merely shift the allegation of the killing of the daughter to his wife which was not supported by any material available on record. The Court also noted that in his statement, the accused had admitted that soon before the occurrence, he had a quarrel with his wife over her alleged illicit relationship with a person.
"The accused has not given any particulars about the manner in which or the place in which, the wife (PW-2) had allegedly killed the child or attacked him. It is also not understandable as to why a mother would kill a child merely because her husband had suspected her of having an illicit relationship with another person. Rather, viewed from any angle, it is most likely that suspecting an illicit relationship of his wife with another person, it is the husband who would kill the child treating her to be the outcome of the illicit relationship maintained by his wife. Under such circumstances, the explanation furnished by the accused appears to be highly improbable and, therefore, had been rightly rejected by the learned Court below," the Court remarked.
Consequently, the Court came to the conclusion that it was none other than the appellant/accused who had brutally murdered his 2½ years old baby girl with a sharp weapon due to a quarrel arising between himself and his wife out of suspicion of an illicit affair maintained by the wife with another person.
As such, the Court agreed with the conclusion drawn by the trial Court that the charge brought against the accused/appellant u/s. 302 IPC stood established beyond a reasonable doubt. In view of this, the appeal was dismissed.
Case title - AYUB HUSSAIN @ AYUB ALI v. THE STATE OF ASSAM [Case No. : CRL.A(J)/1/2019]
Case Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (Gau) 70
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