Jaladhar Mondal Vs.
State of West Bengal
J U D G M E N T
the learned Amicus Curiae in the matter as also the learned counsel for the
appeal is at the instance of the sole surviving appellant against the judgment and
order of conviction by the Additional Sessions Judge, Bankura, which was
affirmed by the High Court.
Initially, there were three accused persons, namely, the appellant Jaladhar Mondal,
Meghnath Mondal and Smt. Rasibala Mondal. Jaladhar Mondal is the husband of the
deceased Rina Mondal and Meghnath Mondal and Smt. Rasibala Mondal respectively are
father-in-law and mother-in-law of the deceased Rina, who was married in the family
of Mondals with the appellant-accused Jaladhar. The death of Rina Mondal took
place within one year of her marriage.
the accused persons were charged under Section 302/201 I.P.C. alternatively
under Sections 304B/398A I.P.C.
trial court after a full-fledged trial, convicted the accused persons under
Section 302/201 I.P.C. and sentenced them to suffer imprisonment for life under
Section 302 and further ordered rigorous imprisonment for three years u/s 201 IPC
and to pay a fine of Rs.1000/- each, in default to undergo further imprisonment
for three months and the sentences were to run concurrently. All the accused
persons were acquitted of the charges u/s. 498A and 304-B IPC.
their conviction, an appeal was taken to the High Court by the accused persons.
During the pendency of the appeal, Meghnath Mondal and Smt. Rasibala Mondal expired.
However, the present appellant, Jaladhar Mondal was convicted by the High
Court and the present appeal is at his instance only.
incident which had taken place and led to the death of the deceased, Rina
Mondal, have been very graphically noted with all the details in the judgment
of the learned Trial Judge. So, these facts are not repeated here.
this case, the information was lodged by PW-4 on receiving information on
25.3.88 about the death of the deceased, Rina Mondal, allegedly by catching
fire at the matrimonial house. On receiving the said information, PW-4 came to
the village of the appellant and after getting the information from the local
people, lodged the complaint at the local police station alleging foul play. On
receipt of such complaint, the local police started a specific case and
thereafter getting the post mortem report from Doctor, which confirmed
homicidal death of Rina Mondal, submitted charge-sheet against the appellant.
all, 12 witnesses were examined of which PW-1 is the brother of Meghnath Mondal
(since deceased), PW-2 and PW-3 are the neighbors of the appellant, PW-4 is the
cousin of the deceased girl and PW-6 is the father of the deceased, PW-7 is Dr.
J.N. Dey, who conducted the post mortem, PW-8 is the mother of the deceased girl
and PW-11 is the other neighbor of the appellant and PW-12 is the Investigating
the courts - trial court and the High Court, after detailed consideration of
the evidence available on record, came to the concurrent finding that there is
no direct evidence in the case. The evidence on the basis of which both the Courts
have proceeded was the circumstantial evidence and also the medical evidence of
PW-7. Medical evidence of PW-has figured very prominently in the case and
relying on the medical evidence of PW- 7, both the Trial Judge and the High
Court negatived the defence case that Rina Mondal died out of accidental fire
in the house. The learned Trial Judge upon very detailed consideration of the medical
evidence and by referring to various authorities of the medical jurisprudence
have come to notice the nature of injuries, which have been sustained by Rina Mondal,
particularly the fracture of cornua of hyoid bone of both sides, fracture of
first and second ribs on the left side and fracture of first rib on right side.
The trial court held, and rightly so, that these injuries cannot be caused by
accidental fire but was the result of manual strangulation by more than one
evidence of PW-7, the post moretm Doctor, is relevant in this connection. PW-7
is a Professor and Head of the Department of Forensic and State Medicine at
B.S.M.C. & Hospital and is obviously an independent witness. PW-7 deposed
that in the case of Rina Mondal, soot was absent in the larynx and trachea column
and that led the post moretm Doctor to opine that the burn injuries were post-mortem
in nature. On the basis of this evidence, the learned Trial Judge came to the
conclusion that the death of Rina Mondal initially was caused by physical strangulation
and thereafter her body was thrown to the flames to destroy evidence of strangulation
and the upper portion of the body was allowed to suffer third degree burn.
the trial court and the High Court found it very strange that in a case of
accidental fire, nobody other than Rina Mondal suffered burn injuries and none
of the three inmates of the house suffered a scratch of an injury, even though the
defence case was that everybody was in the house at the time of accidental fire
when the house caught fire. There is no evidence that any one of the inmates of
the house even tried to save Rina from fire and in the process got injured. Both
the courts have also found it very strange that in such a fire the adjoining
house, which was also covered by thatched roof and which belonged to PW-1,
brother of Megnath, did not catch fire at all. All these facts were very correctly
appreciated by the trial court and also by the High Court to come to the concurrent
finding that death of Rina was caused by physical strangulation and then to
cause disappearance of evidence of strangulation of Rina Mondal, her body was
thrown in the flames, which was not accidental but was caused for the aforesaid
in jurisdiction under Article 136 of the Constitution of India, it is difficult
for us to interfere with such concurrent findings based on cogent reasoning and
proper appreciation of the materials on record and the evidence of the case. It
may also be noted that the appellant, who is the husband of the deceased, did
not suffer any injury and made no attempt to save the unfortunate girl.
appeal is, therefore, dismissed.
(ASOK KUMAR GANGULY)