The Gujarat High Court recently affirmed the conviction of a man under Section 302 IPC for Murder, while observing that the chain of circumstantial evidence was completed by the prosecution with cogent evidence, to bring home his guilt.
The Bench comprising Justices Vipul Pancholi and Rajendra Sareen heavily relied on the statement made by a prosecution witness who saw the accused near the cot of the deceased with a weapon as also the recovery of a blood stained Dharia from the accused.
"PW 3 who is neighbor and who was sleeping near the cot of the deceased had found the appellant near the cot with weapon Dharia...We are of the view that the prosecution has proved the said discovery of the weapon. Blood stains were also found on the weapon. From the Serology Report produced at Exh.26 it is revealed that blood group of the deceased was found from the weapon which was discovered at the instance of the appellant."
The bench was further of the view that the accused, who quarreled with the deceased the previous day and administered threats, had "motive" for commission of the alleged offence. It observed, "This Court is of the view the prosecution has proved the case against appellant beyond reasonable doubt. Motive of the appellant accused is also established by leading cogent evidence and the chain of circumstantial evidence is also complete."
The High Court was hearing an appeal against judgment of conviction and sentence to undergo life imprisonment. It relied on Digamber Vaishnav vs. State of Chhattisgarh to reiterate the principles basis which conviction on grounds of circumstantial evidence can be sustained. The High Court emphasised the three conditions thusly:
1. The circumstances from which an inference of guilt is sought to be drawn, must be cogently and firmly established.
2. The circumstances should unerringly point towards the guilt of the accused.
3. The circumstances, taken cumulatively, should form a chain so complete that there is no escape from that the conclusion that the accused is guilty.
The allegation against the Appellant-accused was that he attacked the deceased person with whom he had a past rivalry with a dharia and the injuries caused because of the attack led to the victim's death.
In appeal, he argued that PW 1 and 2 were the son and the wife of the deceased and they were not eyewitnesses. It was further alleged that PW 3 and PW4 gave contradictory and false deposition, respectively and therefore, should not be trusted. The Accused pointed out that only one police officer had carried out the investigation and yet, the Prosecution had not examined the police officer. The Prosecution also failed to establish the motive of the Accused since merely giving threats did not amount to a motive to kill the deceased. Finally, he contended that the murder weapon was recovered from an open place, accessible to the public. Therefore, there was no cogent evidence linking it to him.
Per contra, the APP submitted that the Appellant had used abusive language and used threats against the family members of the deceased. The Appellant was also seen near the cot of the deceased with the weapon. Further, the weapon was not found in the open place and was only within the knowledge of the Appellant-accused.
The Court noted that in his threat, the Appellant specifically stated that one of the brothers of the family will be killed. PW 3 also saw the Accused with the weapon near the cot of the deceased while using abusive language while PW 6 stated that he had heard the voice of the Accused. The Doctor had also confirmed that the injuries could be possibly by a weapon akin to the Dharia.
Keeping in view these facts, the Bench upheld his conviction.
Case No.: R/CR.A/3056/2008
Case Title: NARUBHAI AMARSINH MAKWANA(KOLI PATEL) v/s STATE OF GUJARAT
Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (Guj) 253