Calcutta High Court: A Bench comprising of Joymalya Bagchi and Rajarshi Bharadwaj, JJ. issued directions for conducting of investigation and/or trial involving cases of murder and/or rape of minor children or other vulnerable victims, due to the investigation done in an extremely callous manner in the present appeal dealing with the murder and rape of a four year child.
The appellant along with her two minor children, was accused of murder and rape. A complaint was filed by the father of the victim stating that his youngest daughter was found missing while she was playing on the roadside before their house and lodged the complaint for the same at Nabadwip Police Station. Further he searched the house of sardar mondal but his wife Reksona bibi @ Eksona Bibi i.e. the appellant and her sons restrained him from doing so.
Later, P.W.2 saw the appellant with a sack and her sons patrolling in front of the house which she dropped off when asked about. The sack contained the dead body of the victim, following which the F.I.R was filed under Sections 376A/377/302/201/120B/34 of the Penal Code against her minor sons and the appellant.
Learned Counsel on behalf of the appellant stated that the prosecution case is based on circumstantial evidence and has not been proved beyond doubt. Counsel appearing for the State submitted that the stated circumstances of recovering of the dead body from the appellant were also not explained by the appellant, therefore the conviction needs no interference.
Hon’ble Court observed that the most vital witness of the case did not support the prosecution case and was not declared hostile along with which no cross-examination was also conducted, also when asked about the cause of the death of the victim he sated that he is totally unaware about the cause of the death. Therefore, by scrutnising the statement of the witnesses and all the other circumstances, the Court is bound to hold that the prosecution has not been able to prove its case beyond doubt, which leaves no alternative than to acquit the appellant on the anvil of the benefit of doubt, leaving an unpleasant and brooding thought in one’s mind that the crime remains undetected and the offender goes unpunished.
Therefore, to pre-empt the recurrences in future, certain guidelines were issued for conducting investigation:
· Statement of vital witnesses must be recoded under Section 164 Cr.P.C, when any grave offence like murder and /or rape of minor children happens;
· If any vital evidence which is likely to establish guilt and has been seized, then it should be mandatorily be undergone forensic examination;
· Effective witness protection programme should be conducted so that they do not resile from their previous statements;
· A report should be filed by the public prosecutors by reviewing the manner in which the sensistive cases are being conducted to the Directorate of Prosecution, legal Remembrancer and the Principal Secretary, Home Department for their appraisal and guidance.
[Reksona Bibi @ Eksona v. State of W.B., 2017 SCC OnLine Cal 16185, order dated 29-11-2017]