Malti Sahu Versus Rahul & Anr.

Malti Sahu Versus Rahul & Anr. 

Landmark Cases of India / सुप्रीम कोर्ट के ऐतिहासिक फैसले


REPORTABLE
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION
CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 471 OF 2022
Malti Sahu …Appellant(s)
Versus
Rahul & Anr. …Respondent(s)
WITH
CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 472 OF 2022
State of U.T., Chandigarh …Appellant(s)
Versus
Rahul …Respondent(s)
J U D G M E N T
M.R. SHAH, J.
1. Feeling aggrieved and dissatisfied with the impugned judgment
and order passed by the High Court of Punjab & Haryana at Chandigarh
in CRAD No. 635 of 2014 by which the High Court has allowed the said
appeal preferred by the respondent – accused – Rahul and has quashed
and set aside the judgment and order of conviction and sentence passed
by the Trial Court convicting the accused for the offence under Section
302 IPC for committing the murder of one Kavita Sahu and Gaurang
1
Sahu, the State as well as the original complainant/informant – mother of
the deceased have preferred the present appeals.
2. On the statement of one Malti Devi, which got recorded on
16.12.2011, in which she stated that she and her husband were
Teachers by profession. That her husband was posted at Mewat,
Haryana and she was posted in Sector-17, Panchkula. They had two
children, i.e., elder daughter Kavita, about 17 years of age, who was the
student of Guru Nanak Public School, Sector-36, Chandigarh, whereas
her younger son Gaurang Sahu was the student of Govt. Model Senior
Secondary School, Sector-37, Chandigarh. On that day, she had left the
home at 8.30 A.M. for duty and both the children were at home, it being
their holiday. On her return at about 3.00 P.M., she found her daughter in
a pool of blood with a cut on her neck and when she went upstairs, she
found her son also in a pool of blood and his neck also had a cut. All the
articles in the room were lying scattered.
2.1 On the said statement / complaint, the case was registered and
initially the investigation was carried out by the local police station.
Special reports were sent and investigation was commenced. The
Investigating Officer collected the incriminating material from the spot.
They were converted into parcels and sealed with seal of “CS”. The
dead bodies were sent to the General Hospital, Sector – 16, Chandigarh
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for post-mortem examination. During the course of the investigation,
the statements of the witnesses under Section 161 Cr.P.C. were
recorded including the statement of PW–8, Sidharth Vashisht, who, at
the relevant time, disclosed that he had seen the accused Rahul
alongwith Kavita and Gaurang coming from the side of Shivalik Public
School on foot going towards their locality wearing a blue colour sweater
and while returning, he (Rahul) was not wearing the said blue colour
sweater and rather, he had covered himself with a brown coloured shawl
or Loi.
2.2 On the basis of the statement made by PW–8, Sidharth Vashisht,
the police started to search for the culprit - Rahul. Later the case was
transferred to the Crime Branch (SIT), Chandigarh and the investigation
was commenced by Inspector Amanjot Singh. During the investigation,
the sealed parcels were sent to CFSL, Sector 36, Chandigarh. As noted
hereinabove, Rahul was suspected of commission of offence on the
basis of statement of PW–8, Sidharth Vashisht and therefore, a search
was launched for him. He was found missing from his house. He was
later arrested on 17.01.2012 from Village Saha, District Ambala and
produced in the Court.
2.3 On the basis of his disclosure statement, under Section 27 of the
Evidence Act, a bag containing blood-stained clothes was recovered.
3
That during the course of the investigation, one sweater was recovered
from the crime scene and the said sweater was sent to CFSL. One
blood-stained Loi and the clothes were recovered from the black bag,
which was recovered on the basis of disclosure statement made by the
accused. The Investigating Officer also recorded the statements of other
witnesses and during the course of investigation on the basis of the
disclosure statement, the Investigating Officer recorded the statement of
PW-20, Dr. Davinder Kapil from whom the accused took the first aid in
respect of the injury sustained by him on the ring finger of his left hand.
On the basis of the disclosure statement made by the accused, the
statement of PW-9, a shopkeeper was recorded and according to him,
the accused had purchased the knife (used in commission of the
offence). That after the conclusion of investigation, the Investigating
Officer filed the charge sheet against the accused for the offence under
Section 302 IPC.
2.4 As the case was exclusively triable by the Court of Sessions, the
learned Magistrate committed the case to the Court of Sessions for trial.
Plea of the accused was recorded. He pleaded not guilty and therefore
he came to be tried by the Sessions Court for the offence under Section
302 IPC for having committed the murder of Kavita Sahu and Gaurang
Sahu.
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2.5 To bring home the charge against the accused, the prosecution
examined in all 21 witnesses as under:-
Name Deposition
PW-1 Dr. Ajay Kumar Who conducted the post mortem
PW-2 Dr. Vimukti
Chauhan, CFSL,
PW-3 Dr. Parijat, EMO One another member of the
Board, who conducted the postmortem
PW-4 Sunita, Senior
Scientific Officer,
CFSL
Who conducted serological
analysis for human blood group
and on 24 sealed parcels
received by CFSL
PW-5 Dr. Bhumika Bisht,
Demonstrator,
Department of
Pathology,
PW-6 Anita Rawat
PW-7 HC Yash Pal Involved in investigation of the
case with Inspector Charanjit
Singh
PW-8 Sidharth Vashisht
PW-9 Ravi Mittal A businessman, who sold the
knife to the accused
PW-10 Kirpa Dutt
PW-11 Avtar Singh
PW-12 Dr. Ashok Kumar,·
EMO, GMSH
Who examined the accused on
25.01.2012
PW-13 Joginder Singh
PW-14 Inspector Charanjit
Singh
PW-15 Malti Devi Mother of the deceased and
original complainant
PW-16 Head Constable
Ramesh Kumar
PW-17 MMHC Sukhchain
Singh
S.I. Shadi Lal Who was involved in the
investigation of the case with
5
Inspector Amanjot Singh
PW-18 S.I. Rajbir Singh Who delivered 29 sealed parcels
for testing CFSL
PW-19 C. Jagroop Singh Photographer
PW-20 Dr. Davinder Kapil Who gave first aid to the accused
in respect of injury on ring finger
of his left hand
PW-21 Inspector Amanjot
Singh
Who investigated the case after
the investigation was handed over
to the Crime Branch (SIT),
Chandigarh
2.6 Through the aforesaid witnesses, the prosecution brought on
record the relevant documentary evidences. After closure of the
prosecution evidences, further statement of the accused under Section
313 Cr.P.C. was recorded. The case of the accused was of a total denial.
The accused did not lead any evidence in his defence.
2.7 On conclusion of the trial and on appreciation of evidences, the
Trial Court held the accused guilty of the offence under Section 302 IPC
for having killed Kavita Sahu and Gaurang Sahu and sentenced him to
undergo imprisonment for life, i.e., till the rest of his natural life and also
to pay a fine of Rs. 25,000/-. The learned Trial Court also ordered that
the substantive sentences shall run concurrently.
2.8 Feeling aggrieved and dissatisfied with the judgment and order of
conviction and sentence passed by the Trial Court convicting the
6
accused for the offence under Section 302 IPC, the accused preferred
an appeal before the High Court and by the impugned judgment and
order, the High Court has acquitted the accused by observing that it is a
case of circumstantial evidence and there is no direct evidence and that
prosecution has not established the complete chain of circumstances to
prove the guilt of the accused beyond reasonable doubt. While
acquitting the accused, the High Court also observed that the
prosecution has failed to prove the link in the evidence, which could
establish and bring home the guilt of the accused.
2.9 Feeling aggrieved and dissatisfied with the impugned judgment
and order of acquittal passed by the High Court quashing and setting
aside the order of conviction and sentence passed by the Trial Court
convicting the accused for the offence under Section 302 IPC for having
killed Kavita Sahu and Gaurang Sahu, the original complainant – mother
of the deceased (Kavita Sahu and Gaurang Sahu) and the State have
preferred the present appeals.
3. Shri Neeraj Kumar Jain, learned Senior Advocate appearing on
behalf of the mother of the victim and Ms. Ruchi Kohli, learned counsel
appearing on behalf of the State have vehemently submitted that in the
facts and circumstances of the case, the High Court has committed a
7
grave error in acquitting the accused by observing that the prosecution
has failed to prove the necessary link in the evidence which could
establish and bring home the guilt of the accused.
3.1 It is vehemently submitted on behalf of the appellant that in the
present case the prosecution has been successful in proving the motive
of the respondent to kill the deceased. That even from the deposition of
PW-8 (though he turned hostile), the prosecution has been able to
establish and prove that the accused was harassing the deceased
(Kavita Sahu).
3.2 It is further submitted by the learned counsel appearing on behalf
of the appellants that the High Court has not properly appreciated and
considered the fact that the knife used in the commission of the offence,
which was recovered from the place of occurrence was purchased by
the accused, which has been established and proved by the prosecution
by examining the relevant witness- shopkeeper – PW-9. It is submitted
that the Shopkeeper (PW-9) has clearly stated in his deposition that the
knife (three pieces of knife), which was recovered from the place of
occurrence having blood stain was the very knife, which was purchased
by the accused and the shopkeeper also identified the accused. It is
further submitted by the learned counsel appearing on behalf of the
appellants that even the Loi, which was recovered at the instance of the
8
accused was having blood stains of the same blood group of that of the
accused and the accused has failed to explain the same. It is further
urged by the learned counsel appearing on behalf of the appellant that
even the accused sustained an injury on ring finger of his left hand,
which was detected immediately after the occurrence of the incident and
the accused had failed to explain the same. It submitted that the
prosecution has been successful in proving the injury on the accused by
examining Dr. Davinder Kapil, PW -20. It is contended that therefore,
when the accused failed to explain the above incriminating material
found against him namely, the Loi having blood stains, which was
recovered at his instance and the knife having blood stains, recovered
and found from the place of occurrence, which was purchased by him
prior to the commission of the offence and even from the
statement/deposition of the hostile witness – PW -8, the motive has been
established and proved and hence, the High Court has committed a
grave/serious error in acquitting the accused.
3.3 Making above submissions and relying upon the depositions of
PW-8, PW-9 and PW-20 and the medical evidence, it is vehemently
submitted by the learned counsel appearing on behalf of the appellant
that the prosecution has successfully proved the link evidence, which
establishes and brings home the guilt of the accused.
9
4. Present appeals are vehemently opposed by Shri Aditya Dhawan,
learned counsel appearing on behalf of the respondent – accused. It is
vehemently submitted by the learned counsel appearing on behalf of the
respondent that in the present case, on appreciation of the entire
evidence on record, the High Court has specifically recorded the findings
that the prosecution has failed to prove the link evidence which could
establish and prove the guilt of the respondent - accused.
4.1 It is submitted that cogent reasons have been given by the High
Court not to believe the circumstances, which were held against the
accused by the Trial Court. It is contended that the present case is
based on circumstantial evidence and that PW-8 had turned hostile. It is
further contended that it has not been established and proved that the
Loi having blood stains belonged to the accused.
4.2 It is further urged that even the prosecution has failed to prove the
motive by leading cogent evidence. It is submitted that so far as the
injury found on the ring finger of the accused is concerned, it was an old
injury. It is contended that therefore when the case is based on the
circumstantial evidence and there is no direct evidence to prove the guilt
of the accused, no error has been committed by the High Court in
acquitting the accused. That when by giving cogent reasons, the High
Court has reversed the conviction and thereby has acquitted the
10
accused, it is prayed not to interfere with the same in exercise of the
powers under Article 136 of the Constitution of India.

5. We have heard the learned counsel appearing on behalf of the
respective parties at length.
6. We have perused, considered and gone through the judgment and
order passed by the Trial Court convicting the accused for the offence
under Section 302 IPC and the impugned judgment and order passed by
the High Court acquitting the accused.
7. In the present case, the prosecution has been successful in
proving the motive so far as the accused is concerned. Though, PW-8
initially made a statement before the Police that he had seen the
accused alongwith the deceased going to their house, but before the
Court, he turned hostile. However, he had been cross-examined by the
Public Prosecutor and during the course of cross-examination, he has
stated that Kavita Sahu - deceased alias Kimi, a few days before the
incident had disclosed to him that accused Rahul had made some
obscene gestures at her. He has further stated that Kavita alias Kimi
used to often confide with him regarding her personal matters. He has
also stated that he felt bad when Kimi disclosed to him about the
11
activities of Rahul. He has also stated that Kimi disclosed to him about
the behaviour of accused Rahul on 4th and 5th December, 2011.
As per the settled position of law, even the evidence of a hostile
witness can be considered to the extent, it supports the case of the
prosecution. Therefore, prosecution has established and proved the
motive to that extent.
7.1 Another link in the evidence, which establishes and brings home
the guilt of the accused person is the recovery of the knife in three
pieces, recovered from the place of occurrence, which was used for
commission of the offence. During the course of investigation and on a
thorough inspection of the spot, a knife in three pieces was found lying
on the floor in the room, where dead body of Kavita was lying. On the
knife, the word “Glare” was engraved. The prosecution has been
successful in establishing and proving that it was the accused, who
purchased the said knife from one Ravi Mittal, PW-9. The witness PW-9
had not only identified the knife purchased by the accused, but he has
also clearly stated that the knife (which was found in three pieces) is the
same, which was purchased by the accused. He has also identified the
accused. As per the medical report and the post-mortem report, the
cause of death was a result of hemorrhage and shock consequent upon
slitting of the throat. Thirteen ante mortem injuries were found on the
12
person of Gaurang and eight injuries on the body of Kavita. It was
opined that the same could have been caused by a sharp-edged
weapon. PW-3, who was one of the members of the Board, which
conducted the post-mortem also stated in her evidence that the injuries
could be possible with the weapon examined when taken as a whole.
i.e., single weapon. She stated that even the throat injury was possible
with three pieces and it was possible that the weapon might have broken
during the process.
The knife in three broken pieces was recovered from the place of
occurrence having blood stains and it has been established and proved
that during the use of the weapon, i.e., knife, in commission of the
offence, the same might have broken.
7.2 The next link in the chain of evidence is the recovery of Loi having
blood stains of the deceased Kavita as well as of the accused, which Loi
was recovered on the basis of the disclosure statement made by the
accused himself. Though, Panchas to the recovery
panchnama/disclosure panchnama had turned hostile, still the
prosecution has proved the same through the I.O. However,
unfortunately, the High Court has doubted the DNA/CFSL report on
grounds, which are not germane, namely, the human hair in the hands of
Kavita was not examined; blood stains were not properly presented.
13
However, the High Court has not gone in the detailed discussion of the
CFSL Report on record.
Having gone through the CFSL Report as well as the depositions
of the witnesses from the CFSL, we are of the opinion that the blood on
the Loi was found to be matching with that of Kavita and the accused.
7.3 One another circumstance, which will go against the accused
would be that an injury on the ring finger of the left hand of the accused
was found, which was treated by PW-20, Dr. Davinder Kapil. He stated
in his evidence that “accused came to his clinic in December, 2011 and
disclosed his name; he had injury over ring finger of his left hand and
came to him for first aid; the finger was already covered by accused with
handkerchief; on removing the same, he found an injury over ring finger
of his left hand; when he asked about the injury, he disclosed that he
suffered the aforesaid injury by some iron bar. He also stated that on
seeing the injury, he found it could be happened due to a sharp-edged
weapon.” The accused has failed to explain the injury on him. On the
contrary, he has come out with a false case that the injury was caused
by some iron bar, which has not been established and proved.
14
8. Considering the aforesaid overall facts of the case and evidence
on record, the High Court has committed a grave/serious error in
observing that the prosecution has failed to prove the link evidence,
which could establish and bring home the guilt of the accused. The
findings recorded by the High Court are perverse. The High Court has
not properly appreciated the entire evidence on record, more particularly,
the findings recorded by the Trial Court, which as such were on
appreciation of the entire evidence on record.
8.1 Under the circumstances, the impugned judgment and order
passed by the High Court reversing the conviction and consequently
acquitting the accused is unsustainable and the same deserves to be
quashed and set aside.
9. In view of the above and for the reasons stated above, present
appeals succeed. The impugned judgment and order passed by the
High Court acquitting the accused is hereby quashed and set aside. The
judgment and order of conviction and sentence imposed by the Trial
Court convicting the accused for the offence under Section 302 IPC is
hereby restored.
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Now, the respondent - accused to surrender before the concerned
Jail Authority / concerned Court to undergo the sentence imposed by the
Trial Court.
Present appeals are allowed accordingly.
Pending application, if any, also stands disposed of.
………………………………….J.
 [M.R. SHAH]
NEW DELHI; ………………………………….J.
JULY 11, 2022. [B.V. NAGARATHNA]
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