Narendra Vs. State of
Karnataka  INSC 898 (5 May 2009)
SUPREME COURT OF INDIA RECORD OF PROCEEDINGS CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 1502 2007
NARENDRA Appellant (s) VERSUS STATE OF KARNATAKA Respondent (s) Date
:05/05/2009 This Petition was called on for judgment today.
For Appellant (s) Mr.
For Respondent(s) Ms.
Anitha Shenoy, adv.
Hon'ble Dr. Justice
Arijit Pasayat pronounced Judgment of the Bench comprising His Lordship and
Hon'ble Dr. Justice Mukundakam Sharma.
The appeal is
dismissed in terms of the signed judgment.
(Shashi Bala Vij) Court Master Court Master Signed Reportable judgment is
placed on the file.
REPORTABLE IN THE
SUPREME COURT OF INDIA CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 1502
OF 2007 Narendra ....Appellant Versus State of Karnataka ....Respondent
Dr. ARIJIT PASAYAT,
in this appeal is to the judgment of a Division Bench of the Karnataka High
Court setting aside the judgment of acquittal recorded by learned Third
Additional Sessions Judge, Bangalore. Learned Sessions Judge have found the
accused appellant guilty of offence punishable under Section 498(A) and 302 of
the Indian Penal Code, 1860 (In short the `IPC').
facts leading to the prosecution of the appellant are as follows:
On 13/14.2.1994 Smt.
Mythradevi (hereinafter referred to as the `deceased') was done to death in the
bedroom of the matrimonial home of the deceased. According to 'the
investigation reports by about 6 a.m. on 14.2.1994 the inmates of the
matrimonial home of the deceased learnt about the suspicious death of the
deceased. By 9.30 a.m. on the very same day parents of the deceased came to the
matrimonial home of the deceased after hearing the news of death of their
daughter Mythradevi. Father of the deceased (P.W.6) informed the same to the
Jurisdictional Police i.e., Srirampura Police Station as per complaint Ex. P.6.
Thereafter, first part of investigation under Section 176 of the Code of
Criminal Procedure, 1973 (in short the `Code') proceedings took place at about
2 p.m. on the same date after arrival of Taluk Executive Magistrate Mr. Y.M. Ramachandra
Murthy (P.W.1). His inquest report is at Ex. P.1. The investigating agency kept
watch over the dead body till the inquest proceedings were conducted, then the
dead body was shifted for post mortem to Victoria hospital. As it was late in
the night, autopsy was done on the dead body on 15.2.1994 by Dr. S.B. Patil
(P.W.2). He gave postmortem report as per Ex. P2 and his opinion is at Ex. P 3.
According to him, death was due to asphyxia as a result of compression of neck
by human hands.
The parents, sisters
and other relatives of the deceased were examined. Their statements revealed
after marriage between the parties, deceased started living in the matrimonial
home,. Parents visited the deceased on 4 to 5 occasions. The last time the
parents saw her alive was on 12.2.1994 i.e. about two days prior to her death.
During this 12 months period of her stay at matrimonial home, according to kith
and kin, deceased was very depressed, unhappy and was even scared to talk to
any of kith and kin including the parents, whenever they visited her at
During her visits to
the parents house, on enquiry they found the cause of her depression and
unhappiness. It was due to improper treatment at the hands of her husband. Her
husband was not talking to her. He was not looking after her well and he did
not even like her. This was made known to her by coming home at very late hours
and not talking to her in the normal way. Last visit of her parents on 12.2.94
to invite the deceased and the respondent for their first wedding anniversary
at the parenta1 house of the deceased was rejected by the husband of the
After that, they got
the news about her death on 14.2.1994 at about 9 am The accused was not found
at home. Therefore a search to apprehend him commenced.
According to P.W. 3
on 15.2.1994 he was apprehended and produced before the Police Inspector (P.W.
11) as per the report at Ex.P 4. Prior to that the PSI (PW5) on the basis of
the complaint of father of the deceased, registered Crime No. 71/94 for the
offence punishable under Section 302 IPC. A spot mahazar was conducted under
Ex.P-7, under which M.Os. 6 to 8, blood stained bed sheets, pillow cover and
saree of the deceased were seized. During the inquest proceedings personal
ornaments of the deceased found on the dead body i.e., M.Os. 1 to 13 including
gold bangles and chain came to be seized. Ex. P.8 is the wedding card. Exs. P.9
and 10 are the photographs, which were taken at the time of inquest proceedings
to show the exact position of the dead body in the bedroom of the matrimonial
home of the deceased. P.W. 7 is the mother of the deceased. P.W. 8 is the elder
sister of the deceased, whose statements were also recorded by the Taluk
Executive Magistrate. P.W. 9 is the panch witness for the inquest proceedings.
P.W. 10 is the witness for spot mahazar (Ex. P.7), but he resiled from the
statement given during investigation. P.W.11 is the investigating officer, who
took up further investigation from P.W.5 and filed the charge sheet against the
After completion of
investigation charge sheet was filed. Trial court found the evidence not to be
cogent and directed acquittal. It is to be noted that eleven witnesses were examined
by the prosecution and two witnesses by the defence. Accused took the plea that
he had gone to another place for purchase of milk on 13.2.1994 in the morning
and returned only on 14.2.1994 at about 10.45 am and therefore he was not in
any way involved with the crime.
The High Court by the
impugned order set aside the acquittal and found the appellant guilty of
offence punishable under Sections 302 and 498(A) IPC.
The High Court found
that the analysis made by the trial court was erroneous. The trial court should
not have placed reliance on the evidence of DWs 1 & 2 to accept the plea of
Therefore the trial
court should not have directed acquittal.
support of the appeal learned counsel for the appellant submitted that two
views are possible. On the evidence on record the trial court had taken a view
which is a possible one.
Taking into account
the limited scope for interference with the judgment of acquittal, the High
Court should not have interfered in the matter. Further the alibi should have
been accepted. There was no motive, no torture or no demand of dowry. There is
no evidence for establishing the accusations either for Section 498A or Section
counsel for the respondent-State on the other hand supported the judgment.
the present case there are certain material aspects which were lost sight of by
the trial court but have been noted by the High Court. The dead body was
detected in the morning of 14.2.1994. Parents of the deceased informed the
police and not the inmates. The parents were informed by neighbours and not by
the inmates. DW2 has been disbelieved as he was nearly 70 years of age. It was
highly improbable that he was in employment as a watchman. The trial court had
held that the evidence of PWs.6 to 8 regarding pressing mark on the neck and
injuries on the fore arms of the deceased are not corroborated by the medical
opinion. This is factually incorrect.
The doctor (PW2) had
categorically stated that he was of the opinion that death was due to result of
compression of the neck, and the post mortem report was accordingly issued. PW6
has stated that second opinion was sought for and then the report was given.
The falsity of alibi is an additional link.
Trimukh Maroti Kirkan v. State of Maharashtra [2006 (10) SCC 681] it has been
noted as follows:
"The demand for
dowry or money from the parents of the bride has shown a phenomenal increase in
the last few years. Cases are frequently coming before the courts, where the
husband or in-laws have gone to the extent of killing the bride if the demand
is not met. These crimes are generally committed in complete secrecy inside the
house and it becomes very difficult for the prosecution to lead evidence. No
member of the family, even if he is a witness of the crime, would come forward
to depose against another family member. The neighbours, whose evidence may be
of some assistance, are generally reluctant to depose in court as they want to
keep aloof and do not want to antagonise a neighbourhood family. The parents or
other family members of the bride being away from the scene of commission of
crime are not in a position to give direct evidence which may inculpate the
real accused except regarding the demand of money or dowry and harassment
caused to the bride. But, it does not mean that a crime committed in secrecy or
inside the house should go unpunished.
If an offence takes
place inside the privacy of a house and in such circumstances where the
assailants have all the opportunity to plan and commit the offence at the time
and in circumstances of their choice, it will be extremely difficult for the
prosecution to lead evidence to establish the guilt of the accused if the strict
principle of circumstantial evidence, as noticed above, is insisted upon by the
courts. A judge does not preside over a criminal trial merely to see that no
innocent man is punished. A judge also presides to see that a guilty man does
Both are public
duties. (See Stirland v. Director of Public Prosecutions (1944 AC 315) quoted
with approval by Arijit Pasayat, J. in State of Punjab v. Karnail Singh
[2003(11) SCC 271].) The law does not enjoin a duty on the prosecution to lead
evidence of such character which is almost impossible to be led or at any rate
extremely difficult to be led. The duty on the prosecution is to lead such
evidence which it is capable of leading, having regard to the facts and
circumstances of the case. Here it is necessary to keep in mind Section 106 of
the Evidence Act which says that when any fact is especially within the
knowledge of any person, the burden of proving that fact is upon him.
Illustration (b) appended to this section throws some light on the content and
scope of this provision and it reads:
"(b) A is
charged with travelling on a railway without ticket. The burden of proving that
he had a ticket is on him."
being so there is no merit in this appeal which is accordingly dismissed.