Tankadhar Gahir v. State of Orissa

Case Number: JCRLA No. 12 of 2019

Coram: Justice C.R. Dash, Justice M.S. Sahoo

Date of decision: 9th May, 2022

In this case, the Appellant had challenged his conviction under Section 302 of IPC whereby he was sentenced to undergo life imprisonment and pay fine of Rs.5,000/-. The Appellant was alleged to have assaulted his wife with a stone Chakki (a country grinder made of granite stone to grind pulses). The Appellant had taken the plea of complete denial and false implication. He had further stated that the deceased was not well and she lost her balance and fell on the Chakki.

The Court observed that there was no eye witness to the occurrence and that the case of the prosecution was based entirely on circumstantial evidence. The Trial Court had convicted the Appellant on the basis of the single circumstance of “last seen together” theory owing to the fact that the informant, his wife and the son of the deceased had left the Appellant and his wife together in the house, as they went out.

The Amicus Curiae submitted that Trial Court had not appreciated the evidence of the Medical Officer as well as other witnesses on record and on the basis of the circumstance of “last seen together”, the conviction of the Appellant under Section 302 of IPC should not have been based. The Medical Officer had testified that the cause of death was shock due to brain haemorrhage. All injuries were ante mortem in nature and it was a case of homicide. In crossexamination, he had clarified that if a person falls from very high altitude on a rocky surface such injuries can be possible.

The Court observed that when the post occurrence witnesses reached the place of incident, they found the Appellant grieving keeping the dead body of the deceased on his lap. Moreover, there were no marks of external injuries right below the right thigh of the deceased which was fractured as stated post-mortem report. Such a fracture might have been caused owing to the awkward fall by the deceased, as she was suffering from fever. The Court iterated that the prosecution had failed to discharge its burden of proving the case against the Appellant beyond reasonable doubt and allowed the appeal of the Appellant.

Satya Prakash Dixit and Anr. v. State of Orissa

Case Number: CRLA No.187 of 2021

Coram: Justice C.R. Dash, Justice M.S. Sahoo

Date of decision: 27th April, 2022

In this case, the Appellants have challenged their conviction under Section 304/34 of IPC and sentencing of rigorous imprisonment for life and fine of Rs.20,000/-. Appellant no.1, Satya Prakash Dixit is the son of Appellant No.2, Ganesh Chandra Dixit. The informant (father of the deceased) had alleged that his daughter (also wife of Appellant no.1) was killed by the Appellant no.1. He had further alleged that the Appellants were mentally torturing the deceased. Moreover, the Appellant no.1 had threatened to murder Rupali, if Rs.5,00,000/- was not provided to him. On 24th August, 2016, the informant received information that his daughter has committed suicide in her in-laws house. The informant along with his family members rushed to the house of the Appellants and saw the dead body of the deceased lying on the floor of her room and there was a saree knotted around her neck. It was alleged that owing to demand of dowry, the Appellants have killed the deceased and they have tried to showcase it as a case of suicide.

The Trial Court convicted the Appellants on the basis of the following observations: (i) Homicidal death of the deceased within the privacy of her matrimonial home. (ii) Discovery of a bamboo stick at the instance of Appellant no.1 on the basis of his statement before the police recorded under Section 27 of the Evidence Act. (iv) Silence of the Appellants regarding cause of the alleged suicide or alleged death of the deceased when there was no marital discord and she (deceased) was to take care of a 3 years old son. (v) Falsity of the defence plea of alibi.

The Medical Officer had come to the conclusion that the cause of death of the deceased was owing to asphyxia as a result of ligature strangulation. While relying on the decision of Mohd. Zahid vs. State of Tamil Nadu (AIR 1999 SC 2416), the Court observed that sufficient weightage should be given to the evidence of the doctor who has conducted the post-mortem. This Court observed that the circumstances established by the prosecution has not been proved except the fact that the deceased died a homicidal death in the privacy of her matrimonial home. Therefore, the appeal was allowed.