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Criminal Appeal No. 1330 of 2018 (Arising out of SLP (Crl.) No. 2440 of 2018)

Decided On: 31.10.2018

Appellants: Reena Hazarika Vs. Respondent: State of Assam

Hon'ble Judges/Coram:
Rohinton Fali Nariman and Navin Sinha


Navin Sinha, J.

1. Leave granted.

2. The Appellant is the wife of the deceased convicted Under Section 302 Indian Penal Code and sentenced to life imprisonment with fine of Rs. 1,000/- and in default, imprisonment for one month.

3. The deceased resided along with the Appellant and his minor daughter CW-1, Miss Puja Hazarika, aged about 9 years, in the tenanted premises belonging to PW-1 Mano Kumar Deka, PW-2 Dipen Deka and PW-3 Bhrigumoni Deka, who are brothers. The Appellant is stated to have assaulted the deceased in the intervening night of 10.05.2013/11.05.2013. PWs. 1, 2 and 3 are stated to have heard noises and on going there, found the deceased with head injury attributed to a fall, but that the deceased was otherwise alright. They were unable to take him to the hospital because of rains and the unavailability of an ambulance. According to the post-mortem report proved by PW-6, Dr. Ritu Raj Chaliha the deceased had the following injuries on his person:

(i) Chop wound of size 11 cm x 2 cm x muscle deep present on left side of cheek 6 cm medial tragus and 1 cm above angle of mandible.

(ii) Chop wound of size 9 cm x 2 cm x muscle deep present back of occipital region.

(iii) Chop wound of size 4 cm x 2 cm x muscle deep present on left side of forearm.

(iv) Laceration of size (5 x 4) cm present over left wrist joint on posterior aspect.

(v) Chop wound of size (4 x 1) cm x muscle deep, present over temporal region on right side.

(vi) Chop wound of size (6 x 2) cm of muscle deep present over back of scapula.

(vii) Fracture of temporal bone on both sides.

All injuries were ante mortem and caused by moderately heavy sharp cutting weapon and homicidal in nature.

4. The Trial Court and the High Court held that the present was a case of circumstantial evidence. The last seen theory establishes the presence of the Appellant with the deceased at night. Her unnatural conduct because she was not crying, she was the assailant of the deceased.

5. Mr. Singh, learned Counsel for the Appellant submitted that the courts below have erred in holding that the links in the chain of circumstances stood established leading to the only inescapable conclusion of the Appellant being the assailant and no other hypothesis of innocence being possible. PW-6 has deposed that the injuries were caused by a moderately heavy sharp cutting weapon such as a dao, and that the fracture of the temporal bone may have been caused by a moderate heavy weapon. The recovery from the place of occurrence, as proved by PW-7 S.I. Nilomani Malakar, is of an ordinary knife used for cutting betel nut, one feet long with a bent sharp point. Chop injuries were not possible with the same. The alleged knife was not even shown to PW-6 for eliciting opinion if the injuries could have been caused by the same.

6. Miss Diksha Rai, learned Counsel for the State submitted that the Appellant was last seen with the deceased in the room, confirmed by CW-1. The Appellant has failed to offer any explanation of the circumstances as to how the death occurred at night. Her unnatural conduct in not even weeping was also noticed by PW-7. The knife used for assault, and blood soaked clothes of the deceased have also been recovered.

7. We have considered the respective submissions, the orders of the courts below, as also the evidence ava........