Mondri Sreenu Vs.
State of Andhra Pradesh  INSC 1732 (15 October 2008)
REPORTABLE IN THE
SUPREME COURT OF INDIA CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 1263
OF 2005 MONDRI SREENU ... APPELLANT(S) :VERSUS:
ORDER Appellant is
before us aggrieved by and dissatisfied with the judgment and order dated
12.10.2004 passed by the High Court of Andhra Pradesh at Hyderabad, whereby and
whereunder the appeal preferred by him from a judgment and order dated
21.12.2001 passed by the learned Sessions Judge, Khammam in S.C. No.143/2001
convicting the appellant herein for commission of an offence punishable under
Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code and sentencing him to undergo imprisonment
for life and also to pay a fine of Rs. 100, in default to suffer R.I. for one
month, was dismissed.
The basic fact of the
matter is not in dispute.
2 The deceased Batta
Chandramma is the mother-in-law of the appellant.
Appellant married her
third daughter Bhadrakali sometime in 1990. A daughter and a son were born to
them. As appellant is said to have started harassing his wife by beating and
abusing her, she deserted him and went to her parents' house at Chinthalagudem
Village and started living with them. Appellant, thereafter, married another
woman. However, he came to Village Chinthalagudem where his parents-in-law were
residing, to live with them. But after 10 days he started harassing his wife
again. Batta Chandramma (the deceased) - mother-in-law of the appellant
allegedly used to quarrel with him and had asked him to leave the house.
On 19.10.1999, the
deceased went to the agricultural field belonging to the family and she did not
return till evening. On enquiry, one B.P. Veraiah informed the informant that
he had seen the appellant in the fields and also heard some cries.
Pitchaiah, Chinna Veeraiah, Barla Ram Babu and Degala Veeraiah went to the
fields in search of Chandramma. They found her dead body lying in a pool of
blood. Her sari was also tied around her neck. Accusing the appellant as the
person responsible for her death, a first information report was lodged.
Appellant was arrested at about 8.30 P.M. on 22.10.1999. He admitted his guilt
and confessed about the commission of the offence. He also made a disclosure
statement pursuant whereto a stick and a stone, which were said to have been
used in the commission of the offence, were recovered. The said articles were
produced before Shri R. Verra Reddy, Mandal Magistrate, Dummugudem on 4.11.1999
and his confessional statement was recorded.
3 Before the learned
Sessions Judge, the prosecution examined 18 witnesses.
We, however, need not
deal with the depositions of all the prosecution witnesses.
Suffice it to point
out that PW-1 (Batta Pitchaiah) - father-in-law of the appellant in his
deposition categorically supported the statements made in the first information
report before the S.H.O. of Bhadrachalam Police Station. PW-2 Bhadrakali, who
is the wife of the appellant, also supported the prosecution case. PW-3 Batta
Pedda Veeraiah and PW-4 Batta China Veeraiah, who were brothers of PW-1 and had
been working in the adjoining fields, deposed that they had seen appellant and
the deceased together. PW-3 categorically stated that whereas the deceased
Chandramma was sitting on 'Mancha' in her paddy field, the appellant (accused)
was standing near it and Chandramma was shouting at appellant. Thinking that
the same was a common affair between them, he went to his work. The evidence of
PW- 4 is also to the same effect.
PW-5 Degala Veeraiah
is a resident of Chinthalagudem Village. He in his deposition categorically
stated that on the date of incident, while he was grazing his bulls at the
pastures at about 1.00 P.M., he found the appellant going towards the field of
PW-1. He furthermore found the appellant coming back in a hurry at about 4.00
P.M.. He called him (appellant) but he did not give any reply to his call and
went away. On the same night he learnt that Chandramma was found dead in the fields.
PW-6 Barla Raghavulu
who is also a resident of Chinthalagudem Village, a 4 mason by occupation, in
his evidence stated that 3 days after the death of Chandramma, he saw the
accused while he was talking to his brother at Bhupathiraopeta Colony. When the
accused was questioned, he confessed before him that he killed his
mother-in-law as she had not been allowing him to live with his wife (PW-2).
Appellant was caught by the said witness and then handed over to the S.H.O.,
Bhadrachalam Police Station.
PW-7 K. Rajamma is
said to be the second wife of the appellant. She came to learn about the first
marriage of the appellant one year after her marriage with him. Thereafter, she
left his company. According to her also, appellant used to beat her after consuming
One D. Motiya, who
examined himself as PW-8, was residing in the house adjacent to the house of
the deceased. He also testified that the appellant used to harass his wife PW-2
whereupon a Panchayat meeting was convened and the appellant was chastised. He
also deposed that after the meeting of the Panchayat, appellant came to his
in-laws' place and started living there. He also proved that Chandramma used to
harass and warn him to go out of the said house but he continued to live there.
Almost to the same effect is the evidence of PW-9. Both PW- 8 & PW-9
supported the prosecution case.
The learned Sessions
Judge having regard to the aforementioned materials brought on record by the
prosecution found the appellant guilty of commission of 5 offence and recorded
a judgment of conviction and sentence in the manner as noticed hereinbefore.
The High Court on
appeal preferred by appellant has affirmed the said judgment of conviction and
Mr. Ansar Ahmad
Chaudhary, learned counsel appearing on behalf of appellant would raise the
following contentions in support of this appeal:
(1) That the recovery
of stone having been made from an open place, no reliance could have been
placed thereupon by the Courts below.
(2) The evidence of
PW Nos.3, 4, 5 & 6 could not have been relied upon by the Courts below as
it was wholly unbelievable that although they had been working in the adjoining
fields, but did not come to the rescue of the deceased despite her cries.
(3) PW-1 - the
informant in the first information report did not make any statement as to how
the death of the deceased took place and as such prosecution must be held to
have failed to prove its case.
(4) No reliance can
be placed on the statement of the appellant purported to have been made under
Section 164 of the Code of Criminal Procedure as no requisite warning, before
making the statement, that the same can be used against him in the criminal
case was given.
6 Learned counsel
appearing on behalf of the respondent, on the other hand, supported the
The background fact
in which the offence was alleged to have been committed is not in dispute. The
relationship between the parties is also not in dispute. The fact that
appellant had married PW-2 and they had been living separately for a few years
before he came to his parents-in-laws' house to live with his wife has also not
Out of those
witnesses who had deposed in support of the prosecution case for proving the
guilt of appellant, not only PW-5, but also the second wife of the appellant
who are independent witnesses, to a large extent, supported the prosecution
case. The strained relationship between appellant and the deceased must be held
to have been proved. PW-2 who is the wife of the appellant, had completely
supported the prosecution case in that regard.
The prosecution case
must also be considered from another angle. PW-6, although is a resident of
Chinthalagudem Village, who had been earning his livelihood by working as a
mason, used to visit Bhadrachalam. He found the appellant talking with his
brother at Bhupathiraopeta Colony at about 7.30 P.M. on 22.10.1999. Appellant
made an extra judicial confession before him. The reason that the deceased did
not allow him to live with his wife (PW-2) was said to be the reason for
commission of the offence. It was at that point of time he caught hold of
appellant and handed him over to the S.H.O. of the Bhadrachalam Police Station.
7 Yet again in the
Police Station, the appellant made a confession. Apart from the Investigating
Officer (PW-18), a confession was also made before PW-14 Yalam Kondal Rao, a
resident of Bhadrachalam.
Appellant did not
raise any contention that he did not make any extra judicial confession or a
confession before the Judicial Officer as also before the PW- 14. Indisputably,
he was produced before the Mandal Officer. The investigation of the case was taken
up by PW-18 Devadas. He produced the appellant before the Mandal Magistrate R.
Veera Reddy on 4.11.1999. His statement was recorded under Section 164 of the
Code of Criminal Procedure.
Submission of the
learned counsel for the appellant Mr. Ansar Ahmad Chowdhary that PW-15 Veera
Reddy did not comply with the provisions contained in Section 164 Cr.P.C. may
not be of much significance. Bhadrachalam falls within a scheduled area in the
State of A.P. The State of A.P., this Court can take judicial notice, had not
extended the provisions of the new Cr.P.C. to the scheduled areas of the State
of A.P. This fact would be evident from the fact that appellant was examined in
terms of Section 342 of old Cr.P.C. As there is no separation of the Judicial
and Executive Officers, appellant was produced before the Executive Officer for
recording his statement under Section 164 of Cr.P.C. As the provisions of the
old Code were applicable, the precautions which were required to be taken in
terms of Section 164 of the 1973 Code were not complied with.
8 Be that as it may,
appellant never retracted the said confession. A statement made by the accused
under Section 164 of Cr.P.C. is admissible in evidence. Apart from the judicial
confession, as noticed hereinbefore, the appellant has also made extra judicial
confession before PW-6.
PW-17 Dr. Jhansi
Lakshmi, Civil Assistant Surgeon, Area Hospital, Bhadrachalam, who conducted
the post-mortem over the dead body of Chandramma, found the following
1. Lacerated wound 3
x 2 x 2 cms. over the forehead.
2. Loss of right
3. Lacerated would 3
x 4 x 1 cms. over dorsal aspect of left foot.
4. Lacerated would 3
x 1 x 1 cms. over left side of abdomen.
5. Abrasion 3 x 2
cms. over right elbow region.
6. Contusion 5 x 6
cms. on right temporal region.
7. Contusion 3 x 3
cms. over right cheek.
The said Dr. Jhansi
Lakshmi was examined as PW-17. In her deposition before the learned Sessions
Judge, she categorically stated that those ante-mortem injuries were possible
to have been caused by a blunt object like stone or stick. She found a fracture
of ribs on the right side of the deceased, as a result of which a laceration of
the right lung was found to be present. She also found 300 CC fluids blood in
the right plural cavity, ligature mark on the neck of the deceased, congestion
and haemorrhage by the side of the ligature mark and sub-dural haemotoma on
right temporal region. In the aforementioned background, PW-1 9 had not been
able to specifically state the cause of death and he must be held to be a
truthful witness. The exact cause of the death of the deceased, thus, in the
aforementioned situation could not have been certain to a layman, like PW-1 and
It may be true that
the stone was found in an open place. But unless and until the site thereof was
pointed out, as the Investigating Officer (PW-18) categorically stated, he
could not have identified the weapon which was used for commission of the
offence. It was found to be blood stained. Apart from the stone, a stick was
also pointed out by the appellant which led to its discovery.
It is, therefore, not
a case where the Courts below could have totally ignored recovery of the said
articles. Furthermore, although not strictly admissible, even a confession was
made by appellant in the Police Station before PW-14 and one Seetha Ramulu.
Their statements before the Court are also now not in dispute.
Submission of the
learned counsel for appellant that the 'last seen' theory propounded by the
prosecution cannot be relied upon, is, in our opinion, not of much substance.
It has not been denied or disputed that the brothers of PW-1, namely, Batta
Pedda Veeraiah (PW-3) and Batta China Veeraiah (PW-4) had lands by the side of
the land of the deceased and PW-1. PW-3 in his statement, categorically stated
that although appellant and the deceased were found to be quarrelling with each
other, he ignored the same as that had become almost a routine affair. He came
to know about non-return of the deceased from the field 10 only in the
Furthermore, not only
PW-3 and PW-4 but other prosecution witnesses whose independence is not in
question, also proved the presence of appellant near the place of occurrence on
the date of occurrence between 1.00 P.M. and 3.00 P.M.
According to the
post-mortem report, that was the probable period during which the offence is
said to have been committed.
For the reasons
aforementioned, we are of the opinion that there is no merit in this appeal
which is dismissed accordingly.