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Courts Are Expected To Be Sensitive In Cases Involving Crime Against Women, Criminals Can’t Escape On Account Of Procedural Technicalities: Supreme Court

Balvir Singh V/S State Of Uttarakhand [Criminal Appeal No. 301 Of 2015]

The Supreme Court stated that the courts are expected to be sensitive in cases involving crime against women, criminals can’t escape on account of procedural technicalities.

The division bench of Justice J.B. Pardiwala and Justice Prashant Kumar Mishra observed that The cause of death is due to poisoning. The poison detected in the viscera was aluminium phosphide. Aluminium phosphide is used as a fumigant to control the insects and rodents in the foodgrains and fields. It is too much for the convicts to say that the presence of aluminium phosphide in the viscera could be due to the medicines which the deceased used to take for her heart ailment.

The court said that such medicines even in high dosage would not lead to formation of aluminium phosphide in the body. This theory which has been put forward could be termed as something very absurd.

The deceased, namely, Sudha was married to Balvir Singh. The marriage of the deceased with Balvir Singh was solemnised on 12.12.1997. In the wedlock a son was born. On 02.06.2007, father of the deceased, namely, Virendra Singh preferred an application in the court of the Judicial Magistrate First Class, Kotdwar, Garhwal under Section 156(3) Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, seeking a direction to the Police to register an FIR in connection with the death of his daughter in suspicious circumstances. 

Manisha Bhandari, the counsel appearing for the appellant, vehemently submitted that the case is one of “No Evidence” so far as the charge of murder is concerned. 

She argued that the husband was working in Delhi past sometime before the date of incident whereas the deceased along with her son was staying at their native home town in the State of Uttarakhand. 

Jatinder Kumar Bhatia, the counsel appearing for the State, vehemently submitted the deceased along with her son was residing at their village whereas the husband was doing some job in Delhi. The husband on the pretext of medical treatment of the deceased brought her from the village to Delhi and within three days of their arrival in Delhi, the incident occurred.

The bench completely ruled out the theory of suicide as sought to be put forward on behalf of the appellants.

The court noted the dubious conduct of the convict-husband of not informing the family members about the death of their daughter. Though in his further statement, the convict-husband has said that he had informed the family members of the deceased yet the evidence Harender Singh (uncle of the deceased) is otherwise. 

It was stated by the court that Section 106 of Evidence Act cannot be invoked to make up the inability of the prosecution to produce evidence of circumstances pointing to the guilt of the accused. This section cannot be used to support a conviction unless the prosecution has discharged the onus by proving all the elements necessary to establish the offence.

“It does not absolve the prosecution from the duty of proving that a crime was committed even though it is a matter specifically within the knowledge of the accused and it does not throw the burden of the accused to show that no crime was committed. To infer the guilt of the accused from absence of reasonable explanation in a case where the other circumstances are not by themselves enough to call for his explanation is to relieve the prosecution of its legitimate burden. So, until a prima facie case is established by such evidence, the onus does not shift to the accused”, the court said. 

The bench observed that it has been established or rather proved to the satisfaction of the court that the deceased was in company of her husband i.e., the appellant-convict at a point of time when something went wrong with her health and therefore, in such circumstances the appellant-convict alone knew what happened to her until she was with him.  

It was further observed that the appellant-convict (husband) has not explained in any manner as to what had actually happened to his wife more particularly when it is not in dispute that the appellant-convict was in company of his wife i.e., deceased. 

The bench dismissed the appeals. 

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