State of Maharashtra  Insc 265 (9 March 2007)
S. B. Sinha & Markandey Katju
MARKANDEY KATJU, J.
This appeal has been filed against the impugned judgment & order of the
High Court of Bombay in Criminal Appeal No. 115 of 1996.
Heard learned counsel for the parties and perused the record.
In this case the appellant Bandu had been found guilty under Section 498-A
of the India Penal Code and was sentenced to rigorous imprisonment for 2 years
and a fine of Rs. 500/- by the trial court. However, on appeal by the State
Government as well as Bandu, the High Court while setting aside the conviction
of the appellant under Section 498A, held him guilty under Section 302 IPC and
convicted him to life imprisonment and a fine of Rs.
According to the prosecution case PW6 Shanta Kotangale was married to accused
Bandu on 10.5.1985. After happy cohabitation for initial 12 months, the parties
started having differences. Accused Bandu used to say that he did not like
Shanta and that she should go back to her parent's place. She conceived, but
continued to face ill-treatment. Eventually, her brother took her to the
parental house. She filed a petition for maintenance before the learned
Judicial Magistrate First Class Hinganghat, in which a compromise was reached
on 2.10.1990, and the parties resumed cohabitation. Thereafter she gave a birth
to a daughter, named Nita, at her parent's place. Accused Bandu brought back
his wife and daughter to his matrimonial home. For a few days everything was
all right, but thereafter the accused started saying that Nita was not his
daughter and, therefore, he prevented Shanta from feeding Nita. On 1.1.1991 at
about 3 A.M., when Shanta and accused Bandu were sleeping with their daughter,
the accused killed daughter Nita by pressing her neck and threw Nita from the
Shanta started crying which attracted quite a crowd and Pulgaon Police
Station was informed about the incident. The police came to the spot, took the
dead body of 1-1/2 year old Nita and sent it for post mortem examination. After
the inquest, the police performed panchanama on the spot, examined the
witnesses and registered the offence. The accused was arrested on completion of
the investigation and charge-sheet was sent to the learned Judicial Magistrate
First Class, Pulgaon. The learned Magistrate committed the case to the Court of
Sessions at Wardha.
On perusal of the facts, it appears that wife Shanta has deposed that the
appellant killed his daughter Nita, who was only 1-1/2 years old, by strangling
her. It has come in evidence that the appellant suspected the fidelity of his
wife Shanta and thought that Nita was not his child at all. There had been
differences between the husband and wife as a result of which she was made to
leave her husband's house, but Shanta returned to the appellant after giving
birth to her daughter Nita. The accused-appellant did not allow her to feed her
daughter Nita and ultimately on 1.1.1991 killed her by strangling her. We see
no reason to disbelieve Shanta.
We have seen the post mortem report. There are injuries on the neck, cheek
and eyes of the child Nita and the doctor has given her evidence that the
probable cause of death might be due to asphyxia due to suffocation. We see no
reason to disbelieve the prosecution case as it is consistent with the medical
We have carefully gone through the evidence of Shanta. She is an eye witness
to the incident and thus there is direct evidence in this case. She has stated
that her husband was not allowing her to give milk and feed to her child, Nita
and her husband killed the child by pressing her neck. Her evidence is credible
and also stood corroborated by the post mortem report and other evidence on
Thus, we see no reason to interfere with the impugned judgment of the High
Court. The appeal is accordingly dismissed.