|Citation||1984 AIR 1622|
|Date of Judgment||17/07/1984|
|Court||Supreme Court of India|
|Case Type||Criminal Appeal No. 745 of 1983|
|Appellant||Sharad Birdhi Chand Sarad|
|Respondent||The State of Maharashtra|
|Bench||FAZALALI, SYED MURTAZA, VARADARAJAN, A.MUKHARJI, SABYASACHI|
|Referred||Section 313, 342 Cr.P.C., Section 32 of Evidence Act.|
FACTS OF THE CASE
The appellant, Sharad Birdhi Chand Sarad, was convicted of the murder of his wife. The prosecution’s case relied heavily on circumstantial evidence, such as the discovery of the victim’s dead body and a blood-stained kurta (clothing) belonging to the accused.
The deceased, Manju (wife of the accused) got married to the accused on 11.02.1982. Manju first went to her parent’s house on 22.02.1982 for a very short period and she returned back to Pune on 26.02.1982. On 17.03.1982, the accused called Manju to a hotel where he introduced Manju to Ujvala and directed her to obey all the orders of Ujvala. The accused called Ujvala, and the real mistress of the house. After this incident, Manju went to her parent’s home on 2.4.1982 and returned to Pune on 12.4.1982. She told her sister about life in the home of her in-laws through two letters written from time to time. She requested her sister not tell anything to mother and father. On 25.05.1982, Manju went to her parent’s home for the 3rd time and returned on 03.06.1982 after her father-in-law insisted Manju return back because of the betrothal ceremony of Shobha (sister of the accused) was going to be held on 13.06.1982.
It was the night of 11-12 June 1982, when the victim (Manju) was found dead. Manju returned to her in-law’s flat at about 11 p.m., accompanied by neighbor Anuradha and her children but her husband was not at that time. But, the accused came soon after the death. The accused went to his brother, living in the same flat. They both brought Dr. Lodha, who was living 11/2 km from their flat. Dr. Lodha Suggested to call Dr. Gandhi. Both the doctors declared Manju dead. They advised to send the dead body for the post-mortem to found out the cause of this unnatural death. Post-mortem report says that she died due to administration of potassium cyanide.
Both, Session Court and High Court declared that Manju was administered potassium cyanide by her husband because she is coming between him and Ujvala.
Whether the circumstantial evidence presented by the prosecution was sufficient to establish Sharad Birdhi Chand Sarad’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
The prosecution argued that the circumstantial evidence, when taken together, pointed conclusively to the appellant’s guilt. They presented witnesses, forensic evidence, and the circumstances surrounding the case to support their argument.
The appellant herein argued that he first called two doctors, and after the declaration of death, he also sent the body for post-mortem. He also called the police for the investigation. He argued that Manju had committed suicide due to frustration in the relationship with her husband and her in-laws. The appellant contended that the evidence was insufficient to prove guilt and that there were doubts and gaps in the prosecution’s case.
The Supreme Court while deciding this case had taken two views of the fact i.e., one pointing to the guilt of the accused and the other his innocence, the accused is entitled to have the benefit of one which is favourable to him. In that view of the matter, the Court agrees that the guilt of the accused has not been proved beyond all reasonable doubt. The court held that while circumstantial evidence could be the basis for conviction, it must be strong and the chain of circumstances must be complete and incapable of explanation on any hypothesis other than guilt. In this particular case, the court found that the circumstantial evidence was not sufficient to establish guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, and therefore, the appellant’s appeal was allowed.
This Article is written by Anirudh Modi of Maharishi University of Information Technology, Noida, Uttar Pradesh, an intern at Legal Vidhya.