The Supreme Court has acquitted a woman accused of killing her new born baby girl by strangulation.
The Trial Court had upheld the prosecution case that Manju killed her new born baby as she was a girl. The High Court confirmed the conviction under Section 302 IPC and sentence.
In her appeal, the bench comprising Justice Mohan M. Shanthanagoudar and Justice R. Subhash Reddy noted that there is no evidence on record to attribute motive that she strangulated the baby because the new born is a baby girl. The husband, a prosecution witness who later turned hostile, had deposed that they already had a male child, they wanted a female child to complete the family. The bench observed:
It is true that in the post-mortem, doctor has opined that death is due to asphyxia and there were marks of strangulation, but at the same time if totality of evidence on record is considered, motive is not established and it is totally unnatural for the mother to kill her own baby by strangulation.
Granting her the benefit of doubt, the bench acquitted the accused. It said:
The Trial court as well as the High Court has based conviction on presumptions without any basis. It is fairly well settled that to base conviction solely on the circumstantial evidence, unless chain of circumstances is established conviction cannot be recorded. From the totality of evidence on record it is clear that the baby girl was put in incubator with an oxygen mask and she has also not opened her eyes and she did not cry after birth. There was a possibility of natural death. Though the doctor has opined in the post-mortem report, the cause of death is asphyxia but in absence of any clear evidence on record it is not safe to convict the appellant for the offence under Section 302 IPC. As the evidence on record is not sufficient to bring home the guilt of the accused, beyond reasonable doubt. We are of the considered view that the appellant is entitled to benefit of doubt, for acquittal from the charge framed against her
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