The Punjab and Haryana High Court at Chandigarh while acquitting three convicts in an attempt to murder case held that Organ phosphorous is a poison of a pungent smell, and cannot be administered without force.

A Single Bench of Justice N.S. Shekhawat was dealing with an appeal against the judgment of conviction passed by the Fast Track Court, Bhiwani in which the appellants were convicted under Section 307 of the Indian Penal Code and were sentenced to rigorous imprisonment of seven years and Rs. 1,000/- fine. The Bench held –

"… the statements of PW7 Narender Kumar, PW8 Babli and PW9 Santosh are also not admissible in evidence and the trial Court committed grave error in placing reliance on the testimonies of the said witnesses. … I find force in the argument raised by the learned counsel for the appellants that organ phosphorous is a poison of pungent smell and could not be administered forcibly to anyone without there being circumstance to show some struggle by the victim to resist administration of such poison."

The appellants were also sentenced to undergo simple imprisonment of 4 months but were acquitted under Section 498-A of the IPC.

Advocate Nikhil Ghai appeared on behalf of the appellants while Advocate Sheenu Sara appeared for the respondent i.e., the State of Haryana.

Facts of the Case –

An FIR was registered by the wife of the appellant alleging that her marriage was solemnized about 8 years ago and her father had given dowry beyond his capacity. It was alleged that her husband used to harass her for bringing less dowry and her mother-in-law was not happy with the gifts being given by her father on the birth of her son. One night she got beaten by her husband, mother-in-law, and husband of sister-in-law, and the next morning, all the accused had beaten her up, and then her mother-in-law forcibly put some poisonous medicine in her mouth due to which she got admitted to the hospital.

On medical examination, the reports showed that organ phosphorous poison is present in the samples. The husband of the victim argued that a false case has been planted against him. He further stated that his wife was working in the fields and accidentally consumed a poisonous substance. Thereafter, he along with his mother brought her to the hospital.

The question before the High Court was whether the FIR was lodged with promptitude or there was an unexplained delay in registration of the same. The High Court while referring to the case of Sanjay Mittal Vs. State of Haryana 2002(3) RCR, Criminal, 127 noted –

"In the instant case also, it is not established by the prosecution that the complainant/injured had offered any kind of resistance, while she was being forcibly administered poisonous substance by the three accused. Even surprisingly, she did not suffer any injury, while she was caught by two persons and was forcibly administered the poisonous substance by her mother-in-law. Thus, the prosecution story is highly doubtful and is liable to be disbelieved."

The Court further observed that "The learned trial Court wrongly disbelieved the testimony of DW1 Sanjay. The statement of a defence witness cannot be rejected on the ground that said witness has been produced by the accused."

Accordingly, the Court set aside the judgment of conviction passed by the Fast Track Court, allowed the appeal, and ordered that the appellants be acquitted of the charges framed.

Cause Title – Hari Om and others v. State of Haryana

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