Dr. V. K. Saxena Vs. State of Uttar
Pradesh and Vice Versa  INSC 108 (29 August 1983)
CHANDRACHUD, Y.V. ((CJ) CHANDRACHUD, Y.V.
((CJ) SEN, AMARENDRA NATH (J) MISRA RANGNATH
CITATION: 1983 SCR (3) 758 1983 SCC (4) 519
1983 SCALE (2)266
Supreme Court Rules, 1966-order XXI Rule 6,
read with Article 136 of the Constitution-Special Leave to appeal cannot be
granted against the conviction and sentence, (i) when the circumstantial
evidence on record prove the motive and connect the accused to the crime and
concealment thereof and (ii) when the High Court reduced the death sentence to
one of life imprisonment for the reason that the two judges differed on the
question of the guilt of the accused.
Dismissing the petition of the accused and the
States petitions against the acquittal of the co-accused and for enhancement of
the sentence to death sentence, the Court,
HELD: (i) In the instant case, the three
petitions for special leave to appeal do not warrant interference by the Court.
[761 D] 2:1 the circumstantial evidence on record clearly connect the accused
with the crime and concealment thereof.
Regarding motive, there is the clearest
evidence in that Dr. Saxena had an illicit affair with the co-accused, a nurse
due to which he used to harass, pressurise, threaten and assualt the deceased
Sudha his wife. Her murder was a Consummation which the nurse must have
devoutly wished for.
[760 H; 761 E] 2:2 Further the conduct of the
accused, in buying a box packing the dead body of his wife into that box,
travelling with that box from Hardoi (the venue of crime) to Lucknow by the
Sialdah Express, taking another train from Lucknow to Kanpur, throwing the box
on way into the Ganges and little realising that the Ganges had refused to
accept the box which contained tell-tale evidence of the dastardly murder of a
defenceless woman, informing his own parents and parents-in-law that the
deceased ran away from the house and finally lodging a false and misleading
reports to the same effect with the police cannot favour the theory of
commission of suicide by her.
[760 G-H; 761 A-B] In the presence of Dr.
Saxena in the house, the deceased could not have hung herself by a rope in that
very house that too with a two year child near her. Neither a rope was found
nor the medical evidence did show that the death was due to hanging. [760 G-H]
759 (3) Faced with such a situation where the death sentence so justifiable
imposed by the learned Sessions Judge is reduced to life imprisonment by the
High Court under Sections 392 and 370 Crl. P.C., for the reason that the two
learned Judges differed on the question as to the guilt of the accused, the
Supreme Court cannot interfere under order XXI against the sentence.
CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION: Special leave
Petition Nos. 3372 of 1980 And 581-82 of 1981.
From the judgment and order dated the 30th
October, 1980 of the High Court of Allahabad in Capital Reference No. 1 of 1980
in Crl. Appeals Nos. 43 & 70 of 1980 & 62 of 1980.
R.K. Garg, V.J. Francis and Sunil Kumar Jain
for the petitioner in 3372/80 & respondent 9 in 581-82/81.
K.C. Bhagat Addl. Solictor General, Dalveer
Bhandari for the petitioner in 581-82 of 1981 & respondent 9 in 3372 of
The order of the Court was delivered by
CHANDRACHUD, C. J. These three Special Leave Petitions arise out of a
prosecution in which one Dr. V.K. Saxena and a Nurse, Bhagwati Singh were
charged, inter alia, for the murder of Sudha, the wife of Dr. Saxena. The
learned Sessions Judge, Hardoi convicted Dr. Saxena under sections 120-B, 302
and 201 of the penal Code and awarded the sentence of death for the offence of
murder. Bhagwati Singh was convicted under section 120-B and was sentenced to
The appeals filed by the two accused and the
confirmation proceedings came up for hearing in the Allahabad High Court before
Hari Swarup and M. Murtaza Husain, JJ. Hari Swarup, J. agreed that the box in
which the dead body of Sudha was packed was thrown by the accused Dr. V.K.
Saxena from a running train between Lucknow and Kanpur.
However, according to the learned Judge, that
was not enough to sustain the charges because, the possibility that Sudha died
as a result of suicidal hanging could not be excluded and if a person destroys
evidence of suicide committed by another, he commits no offence. Murtaza
Husain, J. differed from Hari Swarup, J. and held that Dr. Saxena had committed
the murder of 760 his wife put her dead body in a box and threw that box from a
running train. Unfortunately for Dr. Saxena aud fortunately for the cause of
justice, the massive and menciful pillars of the bridge over the Ganges
intercepted the box as a result of which the box fell on the railway track and
not into the Ganges. By reason of the difference of views between the two learned
Judges, the proceedings were placed before S. Malik, J., who agreed with
Murtaza Husain, J. By an order dated October 30, 1980, the High Court upheld
the conviction of Dr. V.K. Saxena under sections 302 and 201 of the Penal Code
but reduced the sentence of death to life imprisonment. The Nurse, Bhagwati
Singh, was acquitted by the High Court of the charge of conspiracy.
Dr. Saxena has filed Special Leave Petition
No. 3372 of 1980 challenging the order of conviction and sentence.
Special Leave Petition No. 581 of 1981 is
filed by the State of U P., contending that Dr. Saxena must be sentenced to
death. Special Leave Petition No. 582 of 1981 is filed by the State of U.P.,
against the order of acquittal passed by the High Court in favour of Bhagwati
There is no merit whatsoever in the Special
Leave Petition filed by Dr. Sexena. We have heard Shri R.K. Garg for over an
hour but we are unable to see even the semblance of point in favour of his
client. With respect, we are somewhat surprised that having held that Dr.
Saxena had thrown the box containing the body of his deceased wife from a
running train, Hari Swarup, J., should have persuaded himself to take the view
that Sudha may have committed suicide by hanging herself. It is plain logic
that if she had commit ted suicide, there was no reason for her husband to pack
her dead body in a box and throw that box from a running train into a river.
Dr. Saxena travelled with that box from Hardoi to Lucknow by the Sialdah
Express took another train from Lucknow to Kanpur and threw the box on way. It
is also impossible to understand how, when Dr.
Saxena was himself present in the house,
Sudha could hang herself by a rope in that very House, with a two year old
child near her. No rope was found in the house and the medical evidence does
not show that Sudha hanged herself.
The conduct of Dr. Saxena in buying u box,
packing the dead body of his wife into that box and throwing it from a running
train, leaves no doubt that he committed her murder.
There is the clearest evidence of motive on
the record of the case. Dr. Saxena had an illicit affair with the Nurse due to
which he used to harass, pressurise, threaten and assault Sudha, 761 Not only
did he tell Sudha's father and his own father falsely that Sudha had run away
but he lodged false and misleading reports that she had run away. Little did he
realise that the Ganges had refused to accept the box, which contained
tell-tale evidence of the dastardly murder of a defenceless woman. Special
Leave Petition No. 3372 of 1980 must therefore be dismissed.
In so far as Special Leave Petition No. 581
of 1981 is concerned, if only Hari Swarup, J., had taken a mere pragmatic view
of the facts, he would not have persuaded himself to the view that Sudha might
have committed sucide by hanging herself. Presumably, the death sentence so
justifiably imposed by the learned Sessions Judge on Dr. Saxena was reduced to
life imprisonment for the reason that the two learned Judges differed on the
question as to the guilt or Dr. Saxena. If the High Court were to uphold the
sentence of death, we would not have interfered with that sentence. But we are
faced with a situation in which the High Court has reduced the sentence of
death to imprisonment for life. We do not feel called upon to restore the
sentence of death.
In so far as Special Leave Petition No. 582
of 1981 is concerned, there is not the slightest doubt that Bhagwati Singh is
the root cause of the murder of Sudha, wife of her paramour Dr. Saxena. We have
also no doubt that Sudha's murder was a consummation which Bhagwati Singh must
have devoutly wished for. But there is neither evidence of conspiracy between
her and Dr. Saxena to commit the murder of Sudha nor any evidence that she was
present at or about the time of Sudha's murder. We, therefore, dismiss the
special leave petition though not without expressing our severe resentment
against the overall conduct of Bhagwati Singh. She, like Dr. Saxena, has
disgraced a noble profession. Together, they are responsible for the murder of
an innocent woman-one morally and the other legally.
S.R. Petition dismissed.