Kar HC | Minor discrepancies in statement of witnesses, when considered in entirety can be rejected – Sentence of advocate convicted for murder of a colleague, affirmed

Karnataka High Court: A Division Bench of K.N. Phaneendra and H.B. Prabhakara Sastry, JJ. dismissed an appeal filed by an Advocate who was convicted under Sections 302 and 309 of Penal Code, 1860 for murdering a lady Advocate and thereafter attempting to commit suicide.

In the instant case, accused, a lawyer, was in love with his college friend and proposed to marry her. The girl first agreed to marry him but later turned down the proposal. Then, she started to build a close relationship with her senior colleague. The accused got infuriated with this fact and decided to kill her. He stabbed the girl in the corridor of Karnataka High Court where the girl was in her lawyer’s robe. She immediately succumbed to her injuries. After stabbing her, the accused consumed poison mixed with alcohol and stabbed himself with the same knife. He then rushed to the male lavatory and locked himself. The police constables then opened the door and caught hold of the accused. He was then admitted to a nearby hospital. Then a case was filed against him. The trial court heard the case and examined the facts. It took into consideration accounts of thirty-four witnesses and convicted him of murder and attempt to suicide.

The learned counsel for accused, H.V. Subramanya argued that the Investigating Officer did not investigate the fact that who brought the knife to the spot. Moreover, the voluntary statement of the accused was not recorded by him. He said that there was no uniformity in the given accounts of witnesses and they should not be relied upon. Further, he argued, that the injuries sustained by the deceased were inflicted by an attack by a third person, and in the process, the accused was also attacked and thus injured.

The learned State Public Prosecutor-I, H.S. Chandramouli argued that all the material witnesses had clearly and in unequivocal terms supported the case of the prosecution. He also said that the accused left a detailed note in his office and carried a death note in his pocket and was armed with a deadly knife. This proves the motive and intention of the accused which resulted in the brutal murder of the deceased. He also submitted that consumption of alcohol mixed with poison and infliction of injuries immediately after the murder proves that he not only had an intention to kill her but himself as well.

The Court took into consideration the accounts of all the witnesses and markedly examined the facts of the case. It also considered the post-mortem report and observed that the death of deceased was homicidal death. Reliance was laid upon Ashok Kumar v. State of Haryana, (2010) 12 SCC 350, to rule that the minor discrepancies in the statement of witnesses, considered in entirety were rejected. Moreover, it was noted that the accused failed to prove that the recording of a voluntary statement was necessary for a criminal trial. It held that the evidence of all the witnesses established beyond all reasonable doubt that the accused first stabbed the deceased and after murdering her stabbed himself. This led to only one direction that the accused wanted to commit suicide after the commission of murder. Further, the Court held that the defence of the accused could not in any manner imbibe any suspicion in the case of the prosecution. Therefore, it observed that all the evidences proved the guilt of the accused beyond a reasonable doubt. Henceforth, the appeal was dismissed and the accused was directed to serve his sentence of life imprisonment.[S.L. Rajappa v. State of Karnataka, 2019 SCC OnLine Kar 679, decided on 26-04-2019]

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