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Naganathan v. State rep. By - CRL. APPEAL No. 797 of 2002  RD-TN 261 (1 April 2005)
BEFORE THE MADURAI BENCH OF MADRAS HIGH COURT (JUDICATURE)
THE HON'BLE MR.JUSTICE P.D.DINAKARAN
THE HON'BLE MR.JUSTICE S.ASHOK KUMAR
CRL. APPEAL No. 797 of 2002
2. Ammani Ammal ..Appellants -Vs-
State rep. By
The Inspector of Police,
Sayalgudi Police Station
Ramanathapuram District ..Respondent This Criminal Appeal has been preferred against the judgment and conviction passed by the Learned Principal District and Sessions Judge, Ramanathapuram District in S.C.No.28 of 1999 dated 5.4.2002. For appellants ... Mrs. Thilaka Sabasubramanian for
Mr.Gopalakrishna Lakshmana Raju
For respondent... Mr.K.Chellapandian
Additional Public Prosecutor
The appellants are Accused No.1 and Accused No.2. The first appellant has been convicted for offences under section 498(A) IPC to undergo rigorous imprisonment for two years and to pay a fine of Rs.2,000/= in default to undergo three months simple imprisonment, under section 302 read with Sec.34 IPC to undergo imprisonment for life under section 302 read with Section 201 IPC to undergo rigorous imprisonment for three years and to pay a fine of Rs.2,000/= in default to under go simple imprisonment for three months. The second appellant has been convicted for offences under section 498(A) IPC to undergo rigorous imprisonment for two years and to pay a fine of Rs.2,000/= in default to undergo three months simple imprisonment, and for offences under section 302 read with Sec.34 IPC to undergo imprisonment for life.
2. The brief facts of the prosecution case are as follows:- (a) A-1 is the husband of A.2. One Kathiravan, their younger son, Muniaselvam and Annapuranam, their daughters were also brought as accused for offences under Section 498 (A) 302 r/w.34 and 302 r/w. 20 1 IPC for having committed the murder of one Shanmughapushpavalli @ Pushpa, daughter-in-law of the appellants herein, wife of Ponnupandi, elder son of the appellants. According to the prosecution, on 20.2 .1997, the deceased Pushpa was married to Ponnupandi, elder son of the appellants. The husband Ponnupandi went to abroad. There was a dispute with regard to dowry and very often the accused harassed the deceased to get dowry from her father. The marriage between the deceased and the elder son of the accused 1 and 2 was held at Meenakshi Amman Temple at Madurai on 20.2.1997. At the time of marriage P.W.1 father of the deceased has gifted 17 sovereigns of jewels and he promised to give Rs.30,000/= as dowry, out of which he gave Rs.10,000/= to A.1. The deceased lived with her husband in the house of the accused. Three months after the marriage, the husband of the deceased Ponnupandi went to Saudi. At that time PW.1 gave Rs.10,000/=. The deceased stayed in the husband's house with her in laws and P.W.1 along with his wife often used to visit their daughter. Whenever they visit, they found the deceased was not happy. The accused also did not permit P.W.1 , father of the deceased to talk to her freely. When P.W.1 asked the accused 1 and 2 to take her to his house, they did not permit him. Some days prior to the date of occurrence, P.W.1's father died and a message was sent to the accused A.1 and the deceased came to the house of P.W.1 and P.W.1 insisted that his daughter may stay in his house till the last rights of his father are completed. Ten days later, P.W.1's wife took the deceased to the house of the accused and left her. After that A.1 very often told P.W.1 that the accused are very often harassing her demanding money for which P.W.1 told that he will pay money after return of his son-in-law. One day prior to the occurrence Rajeswari,P.W.2, brother's wife of P.W.1 and P.W.1's wife went to the house of the accused. At that time the accused told them that they want Rs.20,000/= and also demanded +2 certificate of the deceased for raising a bank loan. They also threatened that if the certificate and money is not given even if they kill the deceased by cutting her into pieces, nobody can question them. P.W.1's wife and his brothers wife P.W.2 told P.W.1 what all happened in the house of the accused. On the next day P.W.1 was making ready the certificate and the money. At that time he received the information that his daughter died and also the accused informed him that if they do not come immediately they will bury the body. Such a message was received only at 12.30 p.m., by 5.00 pm., P.W.1, his family members and relatives about 15 persons went to the house of the accused. At that time the body of the deceased was given a bath and jewels were worn and kept in the house. But all the accused were absconding and only the neighbours were present. On the date of occurrence, A.1 went to the house of the P.W.4 Dr.Ganesa Pandianm, Medical Officer of Government Hospital, Valinokkam and informed him that his daughter-in-law's health condition was very bad. P.W.4 doctor accompanied P.W.1 to the accused house. On examination he found the deceased has already died. On the same day at about 4,00 PM.,A.1 appeared before the Sayalgudi Police Station. He lodged a Complaint with P.W.3 Sub Inspector of Police who registered a case in Crime No.161 of 1998 under Section 174 Cr.P.C., The complaint is Ex.P.1. The printed form of FIR is Ex.P.2. P.W.3 sent the FIR to the Superintendent of Police, Sub Collector, Tahsildar and other authorities. P.W.10, Deputy Superintendent of Police, who received a copy of the FIR at 8.30 pm., on the same day instructed the Inspector of Police to keep the scene of occurrence safely and he arrived at the scene of occurrence on 22.6.1998 at 7.00 a.m., In the presence of P.w.5 and one Sarkarai he prepared Ex.P.3 obseration mahazar and Ex.P.11 sketch. P.W.9, the Sub Collector who received Ex.P.8 requisition from the Deputy Superintendent of Police reached the place of occurrence on 22.6.1998 at 8.00 a.m., and he examined the body of the deceased and he found ligature mark in the front portion of the neck. He examined the room where the deceased was said to be hanging. On examination of the room cub board and other articles and also height of the deceased he came to the conclusion that the deceased could not have died due to hanging, there was no blood stain in the coconut rope alleged to have been used for the purpose of hanging and in the presence of witnesses Panneerselvam, Ramalakshmi, Perumal Nadar and Panchayatdars he prepared Ex.P.9 inquest report and also Ex.P.10 report and he sent the body for postmortem. P.W.10, seized M.O.1 Nylon rope, M.O.5 skirt, M.O.6 blouse, M.O.7 coconut rope and another rope, M. O.2 under a cover of mahazar Ex.P.14.
(b) On 22.6.1998, P.W.8 Dr.Mohan, Medical Officer of Mudukulathur Government Hospital conducted autopsy on the body of the deceased at 2.30 pm., and found the following injuries:-
"Nose is covered with frothy blood, masking philtrum, left adjoining cheek. Froth removed, contusion over philtrum, both ale of nose, upper nose, bridge, forehead diffused island like contusion widespread seen. Over left and right brachium, encircling contusion are seen. Contusion over left and right foot adjoining leg seen widespread diffused. Contusion over left cheek seen, over left posterior auricular portion over mastoid region are seen. A cloth is as small as a loin cloth is seen tied around to neck in a loose fashion. Ligature mark over neck anteriorly not extending posteriorly. Ligature mark over left sub-mandibular gland. + inch in diameter width goes lower down to right to a length of 6 inch tapering as it gasti on right side at the level of circled cartilage ligature marked skin preserved. Hyoid bone left cornea fractured preserved for HPE. Tracheal rings preserved, thorax opened, lungs contracted. Haemorragic spot seen over subserous surface. Heart Chambers empty with adherent clot masses. Thick blood clots on left sternum in the posterior place of neck. Spleen congested, Stomach and contents 500 ml contents preserved. Intestines and its contents preserved, Liver congested, kidneys congested, preserved, Uterus NAD no product." P.W.8, Doctor also gave the opinion that the deceased appeared to have died of asphyxia due to smothering and throttling. The postmortem certificate issued by P.W.8 is Ex.P.7.
(c) Thereafter P.W.10 altered the Section of the FIR into offence under Sections, 341, 302 read with 201, 304(B) and 498(A) of Indian Penal Code and sent express report to the Judicial Magistrate, Mudukulatur and copies to the higher authorities. The said Express Report is Ex.P.12. P.W.10 also sent a requisition to the Judicial Magistrate to send the case properties for forensic examination. On 23.6.1998 he arrested A.2 who volunteered to give a confession and admissible portion of confession is Ex.P.5 which was recorded in the presence of P. Ws 5 and 6. In pursuance of the said confession the second accused has taken the police and the witnesses to the place of occurrence and produced M.O.4 Pillow, M.O.3 a portion of bamboo, which were seized under a cover of mahazar Ex.P.6. After completing the investigation on 22.8.1998, he laid a charge sheet against the accused under sections 147, 304(B), 302 and 201 IPC.
3. Before the trial court P.Ws 1 to 10 were examined as prosecution witnesses and Exs.P.1 to P.12 and M.Os 1 to 7 were marked on behalf of the prosecution. On behalf of the accused no witness was examined and no document was marked.
4. When the accused were questioned under section 313 Cr.P.C., with regard to incriminating circumstances appearing in the evidence of the prosecution witnesses, all the accused denied the same as false or not known.
5. On a consideration of the oral and documentary evidence adduced on behalf of the prosecution, the trial court acquitted A.3 to A.5 i.e., younger son and two daughters of the appellants 1 and 2, but convicted appellants 1 and 2 herein as mentioned earlier. Hence this appeal.
6. Before this court, the learned counsel appearing for the appellants would contend that the deceased who was the daughter-in-law of the appellants committed suicide because of dispute with her husband who was employed in Saudi, but after her death, her father and other relatives have foisted a case of dowry demand and murder.
7. Per contra, the learned Additional Government Pleader would contend that there is a clear evidence by P.W.1 and 2 about the dowry demands made by the appellants and their children, that the Medical evidence has fully supported the case of the prosecution that it was because they killed the daughter-in-law by causing asphyxia due to smothering and throttling and only to hide their offence they hanged the body of the deceased from a low plank which is not sufficient considering the height of the deceased and also the vessel said to have been used for the purpose of alleged suicide by hanging.
8. The fact that the deceased was the daughter-in-law of the appellants and that at the time of occurrence her husband was employed at Saudi is not in dispute. The occurrence has taken place inside the house of the accused and therefore the accused have to explain as to how the deceased has died. Though the occurrence took place at 11.30 a.m., according to P.W.4, A.1 himself came and informed him to come and find out whether his daughter is alive or dead. But A.1 has not made a complaint immediately to the Police when the deceased died prior to 11.30 a.m.The complaint has been lodged only at 4.00 p.m., on the same day though the place of occurrence is within half a kilometer from the police station. In Ex.P.1 complaint, he has stated that at 1 1.30 a.m., there was nobody in the house when he saw the deceased having committed suicide by hanging. In the said house apart from A.1 and A.2 who are husband and wife, A.3 to A.5 namely unmarried younger son and unmarried two daughters were also living in the same house. There is no explanation as to why A.2 wife of A.1 and A.4 and A.5 unmarried daughters of the appellants were absent in the house at 11.30 a.m., on that date. Therefore the averment in Ex.P.1 complaint that when the deceased committed suicide there was nobody else in the house is not believable.
9. P.W.8 Dr.Mohan who conducted the autopsy has found contusion over both sides of the nose, contusion over philtrum, widespread contusion on both ale of nose, upper nose, bridge, forehead diffused island like, contusion over left and right brachium, widespread contusion over left and right foot adjoining leg, contusion over left cheek, over left posterior auricular portion over mastoid region and on the upper hand and shoulders. The Doctor also found Ligature mark over neck anteriorly not extending posteriorly. Ligature mark over left submandibular gland. + inch in diameter width goes lower down to right to a length of 6 inch tapering as it extended on right side at the level of circled cartilage. The doctor has given the opinion that the deceased died of asphyxia due to smothering and throttling.
10. In a case of hanging there need not be any widespread contusion around nose, on the cheek, on the legs and also upper hand and shoulders as mentioned in Ex.P.7 and also evidence of P.W.8, who conducted the autopsy. In a simple case of hanging there is no necessity to find widespread contusion and blood clots on all the regions as mentioned. Therefore it is very clear that the deceased has been murdered by smothering with a pillow and throttling with a rope. P.W.9 Mr. Udaya Chander, IAS., who was the Sub Collector of Paramakudi who visited the place of occurrence on the next morning after seeing the size of the room, the place where the body was hanging and the plank from which the body was alleged to be hanging has come to the conclusion that suicide is not possible and that there was no blood stains in the coconut rope, M.O.7, which was said to have been used for the purpose of hanging.
11. P.W.1, who is none other than the father of the deceased has categorically deposed about the dowry demand made by the accused. In fact it is stated by P.W.1 that the accused were so cruel and they have not even allowed the deceased to stay in his house after attending the last rites of her grand father. P.W.1 further deposed that when his wife and his sister-in-law went to see the deceased in the house of the accused they demanded further Rs.20,000/= and also the +2 certificate of the deceased for the purpose of arranging a loan and they have also intimidated that if they fail to meet the demand nobody can question them even if they cut the deceased into pieces. P.W.2 who is the wife of P.W.1's younger brother has also deposed about the dowry demand made by the accused. P.W.9, Sub Collector, has conducted the inquest and examined P.W.1 and prepared Ex.P.10. All the averments deposed before the court have been mentioned in the enquiry report prepared by P.W.9 on the basis of the statements of the witnesses. Though there is no eye witness in this case, all the links that are required to form a chain in a case of this nature have been produced before the court. They are (i) the body of the deceased was found in the house of the accused; (ii) the deceased could not have committed suicide when the inmates of the small house are residing in the same house, that too during midday; (iii) there were number of injuries around the face, neck, cheek, upper limbs and shoulders and on the legs which shows that force has been used to smother the deceased; (iv) the medical evidence would clearly indicate killing of the deceased by causing asphyxia due to smothering and throttling; (v) the contention of suicide has been falsified by the absence of blood stains in the coconut rope and also the height of the place from where the deceased was said to have committed suicide, as per the opinion of P.W.9, who conducted inquest and prepared Ex.P.10 report and also recovery of M.O.4, pillow, said to have been used for the purpose of smothering at the instance of A.2 in pursuance of her confession Ex.P.5. Thus all the links of the chain are complete to form a ring to come to the irresistible conclusion that it is these accused/appellants who should have caused the death of the deceased and no other explanation is possible and the theory of the deceased having committed suicide is not believable. Therefore, we do not find any reason to interfere with the findings and conviction of the trial court and hence the appeal is liable to be dismissed and is hereby dismissed.
1) The Public
Madurai Bench of Madras High Court.
2. The Principal District
and Sessions Judge,
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