State of Goa Vs.
Subhash Ghogle  INSC 1798 (21 October 2008)
IN THE SUPREME COURT
OF INDIA CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 1107 OF 2002 STATE
OF GOA .......APPELLANT/(S) VERSUS
DR. ARIJIT PASAYAT,J.
Challenge in this
appeal is to the judgment of acquittal passed by a Division Bench of Bombay
High Court at Goa.
Additional Session Judge, Mapusa had convicted the respondent for offence
punishable under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 (for short 'IPC').
The allegation was that on the night of 4th January, 1999 the respondent herein
had killed Smt. Bendita Perriera (hereinafter referred to as 'the deceased') by
strangulation. The prosecution relied upon circumstantial evidence to further
its version. The Trial Court found that the circumstances were sufficient to
fasten the guilt on the accused and accordingly convicted him and sentenced him
to undergo imprisonment for life.
In appeal, the High
Court found that the circumstances highlighted were not sufficient to hold the
accused guilty and, therefore, directed acquittal.
Learned counsel for
the appellant submitted with reference to the evidence of PWs 5 and 9, that
their evidence was sufficient to hold the respondent guilty.
Learned counsel for
the respondent on the other hand supported the judgement of the High Court.
highlighted by the prosecution are as follows:
relations between the appellant/accused and the deceased were strained and the strained
relations furnishes a motive.
appellant/accused used to usually stay in the company of the deceased on the
first floor of the hotel.
appellant/accused and the deceased were alone on the first floor at about 11.30
P.M. This circumstances emerges from the evidence of P.Ws. 9 and 10.
4. Shouts of quarrels
were heard from the first floor by P.Ws. 5, 9 and 10.
appellant/accused has not offered any explanation regarding his presence at
11.30 P.M. on the first floor.
6. Both the doors
were initially found closed by the witnesses and later on P.W.9 noticed the
rear door to be opened. Thus an inference can be drawn that the accused had
escaped from the rear door after committing the crime.
-3- 7. Death is
8. Injury on the
accused is consistent with the prosecution case and which is not explained by
9. Statement made by
the accused to P.W.1 when he was being examined.
10. Blood of 'B'
group found on the wristwatch, which was identified to be that of the appellant/accused.
11. The false defence
taken by the accused furnishes the additional link."
So far as some of the
circumstances are concerned they have no relevance to be question as to whether
the respondent was guilty of the charged offence. The prosecution primarily
relied on the evidence of PWs 5,9 and 10. So far as the evidence of these
witnesses are concerned the only question(s) of any remote substance out of the
questions which were put to the accused in the examination under Section 313 of
the Code of Criminal Procedure 1973 (in short the Code) are as follows:
"Q.35:- It is in
evidence of PW5 that in front of his STD booth there is Lobster pot bar and
restaurant run by you and one Bernadette and during night time he presumed that
you and her were staying in the said restaurant on the first floor. What do you
want to say? Q.45:- It is in the evidence of PW.9 that at mid night at 12.30 he
heard the noise of fights between you and Madam Pereira and Madam Pereira
shouting and calling him as John. He stated that she was calling him John. He
heard her shouts "John help me". What do you want to say? ...4/...
-4- They do not in
any way relate to any incriminating material against the accused.
So far as PW-10 is
concerned his evidence is really of no assistance to the prosecution. They
related primarily to the engagement of persons in the restaurant. He has only
stated that he heard some noise from outside and heard gagging sound of the
deceased on the first floor of the restaurant.
In view of the
insufficiency of the evidence, as rightly noted by the High Court, the
prosecution has failed to establish the accusations, so far as the respondent
is concerned. The judgment of acquittal passed by the High Court does not
suffer from infirmity to warrant interference.
The appeal is