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Criminal Appeal No. 187 of 2017

Decided On: 15.01.2018

Appellants: Sonu Vs. Respondent: State of Maharashtra

Hon'ble Judges/Coram:
R.K. Deshpande and M.G. Giratkar


M.G. Giratkar, J.

1. Appellant has assailed the Judgment of conviction awarded by the Sessions Judge, Gadchiroli for the offence punishable under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code. By the said Judgment, the appellant was sentenced to suffer life imprisonment and to pay a fine of Rs. 5,000/-, in default to suffer rigorous imprisonment for six months.

2. The case of prosecution against the appellant, in short, is as under :

Deceased Shyamlata was wife of the appellant. Appellant married with deceased 11 years before the incident. Appellant was addicted to liquor and was not doing any work. He was residing along with his wife at the house of his father-in-law. Appellant was always beating deceased and quarrelling with her. Therefore, the father-in-law directed the appellant to reside separate with the deceased.

3. Appellant started residing separately with his deceased wife. On the day of incident, appellant beat deceased by fist and kick blows and thereafter, he assaulted her by stone on her head. Deceased was unconscious. Thereafter, appellant poured kerosene and set her on fire. Monabai Suleram Lakda (PW-3) and Yashodabai Namdeo Kowachi (PW-4) witnessed the incident.

4. Monabai Lakda (PW-3) went to the house of father of deceased and informed him immediately. Madhukar Naktuji Sojirwar (PW-1), father of deceased went to the house of appellant. He found that the deceased was writhing in pain due to burning. Immediately he took her to the hospital at Gadchiroli. The Medical Officer examined and declared her brought dead.

5. Father of deceased namely Daulu Gosavi Kowachi (PW-2) lodged report in Police Station, Gadchiroli. Crime was registered against the appellant. PSI Nitin Ashok Kame (PW-9) investigated the crime. He went to the spot of incident, prepared spot panchanama and inquest panchanama, arrested the accused, recorded statement of witnesses and after complete investigation, filed charge sheet before the Judicial Magistrate, First Class, Gadchiroli. Same was committed for trial to the Sessions Court.

6. Charge was framed at Exh. 4 for the offence punishable under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code. Appellant pleaded not guilty and claimed to be tried. From the cross-examinations of witnesses, it appears that the defence of appellant is of total denial. It is the defence of the appellant that deceased was under the influence of liquor. She fell down on a burning lamp and therefore, she died.

7. Prosecution has examined following ten witnesses :

a. Madhukar Naktuji Sojirwar (PW-1) (Exh. 8).

b. Daulu Gosavi Kowachi (PW-2) (Exh. 12).

c. Monabai Suleram Lakda (PW-3) (Exh. 15).

d. Yashodabai Namdeo Kowachi (PW-4) (Exh. 16).

e. Anandrao Kanhuji Meshram (PW-5) (Exh. 21).

f. Bhaskar Yeshwant Ramteke (PW-6) (Exh. 24).

g. Vijay Narayan Sedmake (PW-7) (Exh. 27).

h. Pooja Nandkishore Wagh (PW-8) (Exh. 33).

i. Nitin Ashok Kame (PW-9) (Exh. 37).

j. Dr. Jitendra Newaji Gedam (PW-10) (Exh. 41).

8. Statement of appellant was recorded under Section 313 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. He has denied material incriminating evidence against him. But he did not give any explanation as to how his wife died. After hearing prosecution and defence, learned Sessions Judge has convicted the appellant, as aforesaid.

9. Heard Mr. Mahesh Rai, learned Counsel for the appellant. He has submitted that evidence of Monabai Lakda (PW-3) and Yashodabai Kowachi (PW-4) are not reliable. They are not eye witnesses of the incident. Prosecution has to prove the case beyond reasonable ........