Criminal Appeal No. 111 of 2008. Case: Murlidhar Shivram Patekar Vs State of Maharashtra. Supreme Court

Case Number:Criminal Appeal No. 111 of 2008
Party Name:Murlidhar Shivram Patekar Vs State of Maharashtra
Judges:Dipak Misra and V. Gopala Gowda, JJ.
Issue:Indian Penal Code (IPC) - Sections 34, 300, 302, 304, 307, 376
Judgement Date:September 25, 2014
Court:Supreme Court
 
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Judgment:

V. Gopala Gowda, J.

1. This appeal is filed by the Appellants against the judgment and order dated 20.01.2004 passed in Criminal Appeal No. 255 of 1999 by the High Court of Judicature at Bombay, Bench at Aurangabad, whereby the High Court upheld the Trial Court's decision of convicting the Appellants Under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code (in short Indian Penal Code) on the charge of murder of one Asaram and sentencing them to life imprisonment along with a fine of Rs. 1,000/- and in default of payment of fine, to undergo further simple imprisonment for one year. The present appeal is filed by the Appellants praying to set aside the impugned judgment and order of the High Court, urging various grounds.

2. The necessary relevant facts are briefly stated hereunder:

The accused-Appellant Nos. 1 and 2 are husband and wife respectively, who are the residents of Village Motigavan in Jalgaon District in Maharashtra. They have been charged with the murder of one Asaram, as a result of a scuffle that took place between the accused and the deceased. An FIR was originally lodged by Madhav Gore, the complainant, who had witnessed the incident. Initially, the crime was registered Under Section 307 read with Section 34 of Indian Penal Code. However, after the death of Asaram, the crime was registered Under Section 302 read with Section 34 of Indian Penal Code. The Trial Court found both the accused guilty of the offence of murder and sentenced them to suffer life imprisonment.

3. Aggrieved by the judgment and order of the Trial Court, the Appellants filed an appeal before the High Court of Bombay, pleading provocation on the part of the deceased and lack of evidence and prayed for reversal of the conviction and sentence. The High Court dismissed the appeal and upheld the verdict of the Trial Court. Hence, the present appeal.

4. It has been contended by the learned Counsel on behalf of the Appellants that on 27.08.1993 at about 6.00 p.m. when it was raining, Asaram entered the house of the Appellants and raped Appellant No. 2, in the absence of her husband-Appellant No. 1 and children. On 28.08.1993, when the accused/Appellants were proceeding to report the incident at the police station, Asaram allegedly tried to prevent them from doing the same and as a result a scuffle broke between the accused No. 1 and the deceased-Asaram. In the scuffle, the wife, accused/Appellant No. 2 noticed that Asaram had over-powered her husband-Appellant No. 1, she therefore caught hold of the genitals of Asaram and tried to rescue Appellant No. 1. Thereafter, Asaram took out a knife from his pocket and made an attempt to stab Appellant No. 1. It is further contended by the learned Counsel, that the deceased-Asaram during the course of the scuffle, fell on the knife, thus causing injuries to himself. The accused No. 1 removed the knife and proceeded towards the police station where he produced the kife before the P.S.I. Andhale (P.W. 8) and also lodged an F.I.R. against the deceased-Asaram for committing rape on his wife-Appellant No. 2 Under Section 376 of the Indian Penal Code.

5. In justification of failure to lodge a complaint on the very same day, it is contended by the learned Counsel on behalf of the accused-Appellants that it was raining heavily on the date of occurrence of the crime; therefore, they could not approach any villagers or the police station.

6. On the other hand, it has been contended by the prosecution that the accused-Appellant No. 2, noticing that the deceased Asaram had over powered the accused-Appellant No. 1, caught hold of his genitals and facilitated accused-Appellant No. 1 to give blows with knife. The incidence was witnessed originally by the complainant, Madhav Gore who died during the pendency of the trial as well as Kishan Mohite (PW-2), Pandurang (PW-3) and Prahlad Mohite (PW-4). The deceased was taken to the hospital at Jalna in a tractor. A seizure Panchanama was made. The Head-Constable Babula Labhange (PW-7), while proceeding towards the said village met the injured and recorded his dying declaration at about 10.45 a.m. on the same day. The doctor at Jalna hospital directed that the deceased be taken to the Government Medical College Hospital at Aurangabad as he was in serious condition. The deceased was therefore, brought by the police to the Ghati Hospital at Aurangabad, where, the doctor on examination of the injured, declared him dead.

It is further contended by the prosecution that Madhav, the complainant filed his complaint which came to be registered as F.I.R. for an offence punishable Under Section 307 read with Section 34 of Indian Penal Code, which after the death of the deceased Asaram was converted to Section 302 read with Section 34 of the Indian Penal Code. The blood stained clothes of the deceased were sent for chemical analysis along with the weapon (knife) and the blood samples of the accused and the deceased. The body was sent for post mortem to Dr. Anil Digambarrao Jinturkar (PW-5) on 28.08.1993. The accused came to be arrested on the very same day and charge-sheet was filed on completion of the investigation.

7. The Judicial Magistrate, 1st Class committed the case to the Sessions Court at Jalna on 19.02.1994. Charges were framed against...

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