of Kerala & Ors Vs. V.Baby  Insc 249 (13 April 2005)
appeal has been preferred by the State of Kerala against the order of acquittal dated 18th February, 1999 recorded by the High Court of Kerala at Ernakulam in
Criminal Appeal No.407 of 1998. The sole accused was the respondent herein who
was charged of the offence of murder for having caused the death of Lakshmi Amma
in order to commit theft of a pair of ear-studs and a gold chain on the evening
of September 3, 1992. The case of the prosecution is
that he beat her with a spade and thereafter buried her dead body in his land.
The case rests purely on circumstantial evidence. There is no direct evidence
to prove that the respondent had either assaulted the deceased or had buried
her dead body. In order to prove its case, the prosecution relied upon three
main circumstances. The first circumstance is that PW-3 was shown two ear tops
by the accused at the bus stop.
-2- Secondly, the respondent had mentioned about the ear tops and chain to PW-2
though he had not shown them to him. In his statement to the police he had
mentioned only about the chain and not about the ear- studs. Lastly, it was the
case of the prosecution that the respondent had buried the dead body of the
deceased in his own field and the said body was recovered on the basis of the
disclosure statement made by the respondent himself.
High Court found the circumstances either not established or insufficient to
prove the case against the respondent. So far as PW-3 is concerned, the High
Court found it wholly unnatural for the respondent to go to him at the bus stop
and show him two ear tops without any reason. This witness was examined by the
police in the course of investigation one year after the occurrence. The High
Court did not find this part of the prosecution case to be reliable. The second
circumstance namely that the accused had talked about the ear tops and chain to
PW-2 was also not found believable particularly when PW-2 was not even shown
those ear tops and chain. In fact the ear tops and the chain were never
recovered and therefore, not produced at the trial.
-3- As to the most important circumstance namely the recovery of the dead body
at the instance of the respondent, the High Court found the evidence relating
to the same to be unacceptable. The evidence on record disclosed that a part of
the dead body was exposed and had come out from the grave and was visible. The
second reason for disbelieving the disclosure statement was that even before
the body was exhumed, a large number of persons had already collected there,
which itself established that the fact was known to everyone in the village,
and the body was really not discovered at the instance of the respondent.
have gone through the material placed before us but we find no reason to
disturb the findings recorded by the High Court, particularly in an appeal
appeal is, therefore, dismissed.