Criminal Appeal No. 25(J) of 2013. Case: Santosh Barman Vs State of Assam. Guwahati High Court

Case NumberCriminal Appeal No. 25(J) of 2013
CounselFor Appellant: Ms. S Choudhury, learned Amicus Curiae, Adv. and For Respondent: Mr. Dhanesh Das, learned Additional Public Prosecutor.
JudgesMr. Ajit Singh, C.J
IssueIndian Penal Code - Section 302
Judgement DateSeptember 19, 2016
CourtGuwahati High Court


  1. The sole appellant Santosh Barman has been convicted under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code and sentenced to imprisonment for life and fine of Rs.5000/- with default stipulation.

  2. The victim of the incident was Minati Barman, aged about 31 years. She was wife of the appellant.

  3. According to the prosecution case, on 28.4.2010 around 9.30 a.m., the appellant hacked his wife Minati to death with a dao in his house. The head of Minati was completely severed from her body. Both of them lived in a small one room house at village Gilaguri Part-II under the jurisdiction of Abhayapuri Police Station. Paritosh Barman (PW-1) is younger brother of appellant and lived separately in his own house. The houses of appellant and Paritosh were, however, contiguous. Ejahar of the incident was made by Paritosh at Police Station Abhayapuri. On receiving the information, Investigating Officer - Dipak Baishya (PW-7) rushed to the spot and prepared the sketch map etc. He also arrested the appellant with a dao from the office premises of Sub-Divisional Officer, where he was loitering.

  4. Dr. Ajay Chandra Rabha (PW-4) conducted the post mortem examination on the dead body of Minati. He found the head of Minati was completely severed from the body and there was an injury on upper chest wall also. The doctor opined that Minati died due to head injury which was caused by sharp cutting weapon. His post mortem examination report is exhibit 3.

  5. During trial, the appellant abjured his guilt and pleaded false implication. According to the appellant, at the time of incident, he was at Ghilaguri Bazar, where he got the information and on coming home, he saw the dead body of Minati.

  6. But the trial court relying upon the evidence adduced by the prosecution, convicted and sentenced the appellant as aforesaid.

  7. It is argued on behalf of the appellant that in the absence of any eye witness against him, the trial court committed an illegality in convicting him under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code.

  8. In Ganeshlal Vs. State of Maharashtra (1992) 3 SCC 106, the accused was prosecuted for the murder of his wife which took place inside his house. In this case, the Supreme Court observed that when the death had occurred in the custody of accused, he is under an obligation to give a plausible explanation for the cause of her death in his statement under Section 313 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. The mere denial of the prosecution case coupled with absence of...

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