Failure Of IO To Send Recovered Article To FSL Proved Fatal To Prosecution's Case- Rajasthan HC Sets Aside Murder Conviction
The Rajasthan High Court has set aside the conviction under Section 302 IPC observing that the failure of the investigating officer to send the recovered article to FSL proved fatal to the prosecution's case.
The Court also held that the prosecution failed to establish that the towel-like safi which was discovered at the instance of the appellant- accused was not established to be the material used to strangulate the deceased.
The Bench of Justice Pankaj Bhandari and Justice Ashutosh Kumar held that "There is nothing on record to show that the article which was recovered was in any way used to strangulate the deceased. Investigating officer has clearly erred in not sending the recovered article to the FSL, which has proven fatal to the prosecution case. Hence, even if the recovery is considered to be a fact discovered, the same has not been in any way connected to the incident."
Advocate Kapil Gupta appeared for the appellants and AGA Javed Chaudhary appeared for the respondent.
In this case, the appellant-accused had preferred the appeal against the impugned judgment of the Trial Court wherein he had been convicted for offence under Section 302 and 498-A of the Indian Penal Code and had been sentenced to life imprisonment under Section 302 IPC and three years rigorous imprisonment for offence under section 498-A IPC.
The case of appellant was that he and his wife met with an accident and the seat belt got stuck in the neck of appellant’s wife which resulted in her demise and that none of the witnesses or the investigating officer stated before the Trial Court that strangulation was done using the safi like towel. Moreover, the fact of strangulation was never put to the appellant under Section 313 of the Criminal Procedure Code. Thus, no opportunity was given to the accused to submit any explanation in his favour.
It was alleged that after the appellant and his wife met with an accident, the appellant strangulated the deceased. It was also argued by the counsel for the complainant that safi was recovered at the instance of the appellant and was thus, a fact discovered under Section 27 of the Indian Evidence Act.
The Court noted that the safi like towel which was recovered at the instance of the appellant accused was not sent to the FSL to establish that it, in fact was used to strangulate the deceased and said that “even if the recovery is considered to be a fact discovered, the same has not been in any way connected to the incident.”
The Court said that moreover, no suggestion was given to the accused when he was examined under Section 313 CrPC, that he had strangulated the deceased with the safi like towel. Therefore, non-fulfilment of the true spirit of Section 313 CrPC ultimately caused grave prejudice to the accused.
Therefore, the Court held that the prosecution had failed to prove the conviction under Section 302 IPC beyond reasonable doubt and thus, was liable to be quashed and set aside.
The Court further noted that no argument was advanced by the appellant with regard conviction under Section 498-A IPC and there was evidence that after the compromise between the parties, deceased was harassed by the appellant on account of demand of dowry. Thus, the judgment of conviction under Section 498-A IPC was upheld.
Accordingly, the appeal was partly allowed.
Cause Title- Praveen Kumar v. State of Rajasthan through PP