Non-explanation of injuries to deceased is a strong circumstance pointing towards guilt of accused

Gauhati High Court: A Division Bench comprising of Ajit Singh, CJ, and Achintya Malla Bujor Barua, J. held the accused-appellant guilty under Section 304 Part II IPC as he was unable to give any explanation for the injuries suffered by the deceased.

The appellant was accused of murdering his wife. The dead body of the wife was found in the house of the appellant; it was found that except for the appellant and his three years old daughter, there was nobody else in the house; and as such, the appellant was expected to explain under what circumstances his wife died inside the house with injuries on her head. The trial court convicted the appellant under Section 302. Aggrieved thus, the appellant preferred the instant appeal.

The High Court perused the record and referred to the Supreme Court decision in Ganeshlal v. State of Maharashtra, (1992) 3 SCC 106 wherein mere denial of the prosecution case coupled with absence of any explanation was held to be inconsistent with the innocence of the accused. The same principles was reiterated in Trimukh Maroti Kirkan v. State of Maharashtra, (2006) 10 SCC 681. In the instant case, the appellant, in one instance, stated that the wife died due to over-consumption of alcohol. At another, he stated that he slapped her which resulted in her death. Both the statements were found to be not true in light of the medical report that showed that the deceased suffered serious head injury. The Court held that the appellant did not offer any explanation for the injuries suffered by the deceased, and as such, the appellant was the perpetrator of the crime. However, it was found that appellant as well as deceased used to consume alcohol and quarreled with each other. The Court was of the view that the appellant dealt a blow on the head of the deceased in a fit of anger. It was held that though the appellant had no intention to kill the deceased, however, he had knowledge that such an assault might cause her death. Resultantly, the conviction of the accused was modified from that under Section 302 to Section 304 Part II. The appeal was, thus, partly allowed. [Rajesh Mahali v. State of Assam,2018 SCC OnLine Gau 904, dated 09-08-2018]

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