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Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Succinctly stated, following circumstances are found to have been proved on record: - i) Admittedly, the deceased was wife of the accused and they had strained relations. ii) The accused was suffering from venereal disease which he suspected to have sexually transmitted through his wife. iii) On 5.8.2001 the accused had gone to his in-laws’ house and took his wife with him. iv) The deceased and the accused were last seen in the mid night (intervening night of 5.8.2001 and 6.8.2001) going together from cinema hall after night show, towards village Ayinavilli. v) The accused was last seen returning alone from village Ayinavilli, after midnight at about 12.30 a.m., i.e. 0030 hrs. on 6.8.2001. vi) The dead body of the deceased was recovered next morning on 6.8.2001 from village Ayinavilli. vii) The deceased had died homicidal death and cause of her death was asphyxia due to strangulation. viii) It is also established that the accused absconded from the village after the incident. 18. In our opinion, above chain of circumstances is complete and leads only to the conclusion that it was the accused/ respondent and he alone, who committed murder of the deceased. The view taken by the High Court that the chain of circumstances is not complete merely for the reason that drunkenness of the accused is not established, and that the accused cannot be said to have got sexually transmitted disease through his wife, is the view based on irrelevant considerations and could not have been taken in the present case after re-appreciating the evidence on record. It is proved on the record by PW-11 Dr. Venkata Reddy that the accused was suffering from balanoposthitis, and PW-1 Jithuka Nagooru and PW-2 Jithuka Veeramma have proved the fact that the accused suspected that it might have been transmitted to him through his wife. What is more important is that in his statement under Section 313 of Code of Criminal Procedure, when above evidence was put to the accused, he has accepted said fact. What he denied is that he did not go to take his wife to her parents’ house. He further denied that he did not take her to night show of any movie, nor committed her murder. In the above circumstances, we are of the opinion that in the present case only view possible was the one taken by the trial court. As such, it is a fit case where order of acquittal recorded by the High Court requires interference. Therefore, on the basis of the discussion on evidence, as above, we are of the view that this appeal deserves to be allowed. Accordingly, the appeal is allowed. The impugned judgment and order passed by the High Court is set aside. The order of conviction and sentence recorded by the II Additional Sessions Judge, Rajahmundry in Sessions Case No. 363 of 2001 against the accused/respondent is restored.

                        IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA


                       CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION


                       CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 436 OF 2008


      State of A.P.                                      … Appellant


                                   Versus


      Patchimala Vigneswarudu @ Vigganna
      @ Ganapathi                                  …Respondent












                               J U D G M E N T




      Prafulla C. Pant, J.




            This  appeal  is  directed  against  judgment  and  order  dated
      24.2.2005, passed by the High Court of Judicature  Andhra  Pradesh  at
      Hyderabad,  whereby  Criminal  Appeal  No.  1313  of  2002,  filed  by
      accused/respondent Patchimala Vigneswarudu @ Vigganna @ Ganapathi,  is
      allowed, and he is acquitted of the charge of murder punishable  under
      Section 302 of Indian Penal Code (IPC), and order  of  conviction  and
      sentence, passed against him by  II Additional  Sessions  Judge,  East
      Godavari at Rajahmundry in Sessions Case No.  363  of  2001,  was  set
      aside.


   2. Prosecution story, in brief, is that Pachimala Ganga, daughter of PW-1
      Jithuka  Nagooru  and  PW-2  Jithuka  Veeramma,  got  married  to  the
      accused/respondent.  Their marriage  was  solemnized  some  two  years
      before the date of incident.  After marriage deceased Pachimala  Ganga
      joined company of her  husband  at  Cheyyeru  Agraharam,  and  started
      living with him.  After some time the accused came to know that he was
      suffering from venereal disease.  He  suspected  that  he  might  have
      contacted it through his wife.   This  started  souring  of  relations
      between the two.  According to the prosecution, the accused thereafter
      started ill-treating his wife, on which she left him and went  to  her
      parents’ house.  Sarojini, sister of the accused, went to the house of
      the parents of the deceased and promised that the deceased  would  not
      be subjected to ill-treatment.   On  this  personation  deceased  went
      again to Cheyyeru Agraharam, i.e. village of her husband, but she  was
      again allegedly subjected to harassment.  As such, prior to  ten  days
      before her death PW-1 and PW-2 (parents of the deceased) took her back
      to their house.


   3. On 5.8.2001 at 6.00 p.m. the accused himself went to the house of  his
      in-laws (PW-1 and PW-2) and took his wife on  the  pretext  that  they
      were going to watch night show of movie ‘Eduruleni  Manishi’  in  Devi
      Ganesh theatre in  neighbouring  Mukteswaram  village.   According  to
      prosecution, the couple went to the movie but the accused had  a  plan
      to kill her.  After midnight while returning home,  the  accused  took
      his wife towards coconut tope (grove of  PW-8  Ponakala  Satyanarayana
      Murthy) and murdered his wife by strangulating her.   Thereafter,  the
      accused left the place and  absconded.   PW-1  and  PW-2,  when  their
      daughter did not return, started searching for her.   On  6.8.2001  in
      the morning her dead body was found in the coconut tope.   PW-7  Yalla
      Satyanarayana noticed the dead body and told about the  same  to  PW-1
      and PW-2.


   4. PW-1 Jithuka Nagooru, father of the deceased, gave  First  Information
      Report on 6.8.2001 at 8.00 a.m., to the police on which crime  No.  50
      of 2001 was registered.  PW-15 Inspector A. Subbarao investigated  the
      crime.  PW-9 Relangi Sri Veera Venkata Satyanarayana, on  instructions
      of the Investigating Officer, prepared inquest report (Ex. P-3)  after
      the dead body was  taken  into  possession.   PW-12  Dr.  A.  Subbarao
      conducted post mortem examination on the dead body of the deceased and
      prepared autopsy report (Ex. P-22).  After recording the  ante  mortem
      injuries, the Medical Officer opined that the deceased had died due to
      asphyxia caused by  strangulation  with  ligature.   On  9.8.2001  the
      accused/respondent was arrested  by  the  Investigating  Officer  near
      Kanakadurga Temple.  After interrogating witnesses and  on  completion
      of investigation a charge sheet was filed by the Investigating Officer
      against accused Patchimala Vigneswarudu @ Vigganna @ Ganapathi for his
      trial in respect of offence punishable under Section 302 IPC.


   5.  It  appears  that  I  Additional  Judicial  First  Class  Magistrate,
      Amalapuram, committed the case  to  the  Court  of  Sessions  of  East
      Godavari Division  of  Rajahmundry.   Learned  Sessions  Judge,  after
      hearing  the  parties,  on  28.02.2002,  framed  charge   of   offence
      punishable  under  Section  302   IPC   against   accused   Patchimala
      Vigneswarudu @ Vigganna @ Ganapathi and explained the same to  him  in
      Telugu to which the accused pleaded  not  guilty  and  claimed  to  be
      tried.


   6. The prosecution got examined  PW-1  Jithuka  Nagooru  (father  of  the
      deceased), PW-2  Jithuka  Veeramma  (mother  of  the  deceased),  PW-3
      Gannavarapu Suryanarayana (Sarpanch of village Ayinavilli), PW-4  Inje
      Anjaneyulu (who last saw the deceased with  the  accused  going  after
      night  show  from  Mukteswaram  towards   Ayinavilli),   PW-5   Jinipe
      Venkateswara Rao (an employee of cinema hall who sold the  tickets  of
      night show to the accused), PW-6 Jithuka Vijaya Kumar (the witness who
      saw the accused returning alone  from  Ayinavilli  towards  Amalapuram
      after 12.30 a.m. and boarding quarry lorry heading for  Mummidivaram),
      PW-7 Yalla Satyanarayana (who is witness of the  fact  that  when  the
      dead body was found in coconut tope, there was saree around her neck),
      PW-8 Ponakala Satyanarayana Murthy (who also saw the dead  body  lying
      in the coconut tope), PW-9 Relangi  Sri  Veera  Venkata  Satyanarayana
      (who prepared the inquest report),  PW-10  K.V.V.  Satyanarayana  (who
      photographed  the  dead  body),  PW-11  Dr.  Ch.  Venkata  Reddy  (who
      medically examined the accused and reported that he was suffering from
      balanoposthitis – sexually transmitted venereal disease), PW-12 Dr. A.
      Subbarao (who conducted post mortem examination on the  dead  body  of
      the deceased), PW-13 M. Subrahmanyam (police constable  who  took  the
      dead body for post mortem examination in sealed condition),  PW-14  G.
      S.I. Devakumar (who registered  the  crime)  and  PW-15  Inspector  A.
      Subbarao (who investigated the crime).


   7. Oral and documentary evidence was put to the accused under Section 313
      of Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973,  in  reply  to  which  he  denied
      having gone to the house of PW-1 and PW-2 to take his wife  or  having
      her taken to night show cinema.  However, he admitted that he suffered
      from venereal disease, and suspected that it was  transmitted  to  him
      through his wife.  He further stated that after his wife left for  her
      parental house, she did not come back.


   8. The trial court, after considering the evidence on record,  found  the
      accused guilty of charge of offence punishable under Section 302  IPC,
      and convicted and sentenced him to imprisonment for life and  directed
      to pay fine of Rs.200/- in default of payment of which the accused was
      directed to further undergo simple imprisonment for a  period  of  one
      month.  Against said order dated 18.9.2002, passed  by  II  Additional
      Sessions Judge, Rajahmundry, criminal appeal was filed by the  convict
      before the High Court, and after hearing the parties, the  High  Court
      allowed the appeal and acquitted the accused/respondent of the  charge
      on the ground that chain of circumstances is not complete leading to a
      definite  conclusion  that  the  accused  alone  was  responsible  for
      commission of offence.  The State has preferred  this  appeal  against
      the impugned order passed by the High Court acquitting the accused.


   9. Learned counsel for the State argued that the High Court has committed
      grave error of  law  in  acquitting  the  accused,  by  reversing  the
      conviction recorded by the trial court.   It  is  contended  that  the
      chain of circumstances is complete and the charge is fully  proved  on
      the record.  On the other hand, learned Amicus  Curiae  appearing  for
      the respondent submitted  that  the  chain  of  circumstances  is  not
      complete, and where two  views  are  possible  on  the  basis  of  the
      evidence on record, the order of acquittal passed by  the  High  Court
      cannot be interfered with.


  10. Before further discussion we think it just and proper to  mention  the
      ante mortem injuries found on the dead body of the deceased  by  PW-12
      Dr. A Subbarao, who conducted autopsy on 6.8.2001 and prepared Ex.  P-
      22.  Describing the condition of the body at the time of  post  mortem
      examination, the Medical Officer has stated that eyes of the  deceased
      were closed, mouth was open with tongue protruding between  upper  and
      lower teeth, blood stained froth was coming  from  both  nostrils  and
      mouth.  Following ante mortem injuries were noted by the doctor: -


        i) Ligature mark  completely  encircling  the  neck  transverse  in
           direction below the thyroid cartilage. Width of ligature mark  4
           to 5 mms.
       ii) Abrasions were present over the ligature mark.  Scratches due to
           nails are seen over the ligature on the right side.
      iii) Abrasion over the middle third of the right arm of size 3 x 3 cm
           reddish in colour.


            On internal examination, the Medical Officer (PW-12) found  that
      echymosis and congestion was seen in sub-cutaneous  tissue  under  the
      ligature mark.  Hyoid bone was intact.  Thyroid cartilage was  intact.
      Larynx, trachea and bronchi were  congested  and  filled  with  frothy
      blood stained fluid.  Haemorrhages were seen in mocosa of larynx.  The
      Medical Officer opined that the deceased  had  died  due  to  asphyxia
      caused by strangulation with ligature.  PW-12 Dr. A. Subbarao  further
      stated that death could have been occurred  by  putting  saree  (MO-1)
      around the neck of the deceased by tightening it and by  pulling  with
      force.  The above medical evidence on record proves that the  deceased
      died a homicidal  death  and  cause  of  death  was  asphyxia  due  to
      strangulation.


  11. As far as relation between the accused and the deceased is  concerned,
      the prosecution evidence on record, as stated by  PW-1  and  PW-2,  is
      corroborated by the fact that the accused  himself  has  admitted  his
      marriage with the deceased, and his strained relations with her.


  12. Apart from the above, it is proved on  record  that  on  the  date  of
      incident, before midnight, the accused took  his  wife  (deceased)  to
      night show of movie.  PW-1 Jithuka Nagooru (father  of  the  deceased)
      and PW-2 Jithuka Veeramma (mother of the deceased) have stated that  a
      day before the dead body of the deceased was found,  the  accused  had
      come to their house and took his wife  on  the  pretext  that  he  was
      taking her to night show cinema.


  13. Also it is established from the statement of PW-4 Inje Anjaneyulu that
      he last saw the deceased with the accused walking  towards  Ayinavilli
      (the village where later dead body of the deceased was  found).   PW-5
      Jinipe Venkateswara Rao, who is the gatekeeper of Devi Ganesh  Theatre
      at Mukteswaram, told that he knew both accused and the  deceased,  and
      they purchased two tickets for last show at 8.00 p.m.  Both  of  these
      witnesses have proved the fact that soon before her death the deceased
      was last seen with the accused.


  14. Yet another circumstance against the accused brought on the record  by
      PW-6 Jithuka Vijaya Kumar, who has stated  that  he  saw  the  accused
      coming alone after midnight from the side of Ayinavilli  and  boarding
      quarry lorry heading to Mummidivaram.


  15. Lastly, it is stated on record by the prosecution witnesses  that  the
      accused absconded after the incident.


  16. The recovery of dead body in the morning of 6.8.2001,  is  proved  not
      only by PW-1 and PW-2, but also  by  PW-7  Yalla  Satyanarayana,  PW-8
      Ponakala Satyanarayana Murthy  and  PW-9  Relangi  Sri  Veera  Venkata
      Satyanarayana, which gets corroborated from Ex. P-2.


  17. Succinctly stated, following circumstances  are  found  to  have  been
      proved on record: -


        i) Admittedly, the deceased was wife of the accused  and  they  had
           strained relations.
       ii) The  accused  was  suffering  from  venereal  disease  which  he
           suspected to have sexually transmitted through his wife.
      iii) On 5.8.2001 the accused had gone to his in-laws’ house and  took
           his wife with him.
       iv) The deceased and the accused were last seen  in  the  mid  night
           (intervening night of 5.8.2001 and 6.8.2001) going together from
           cinema hall after night show, towards village Ayinavilli.
        v)  The  accused  was  last  seen  returning  alone  from   village
           Ayinavilli, after midnight at about 12.30 a.m., i.e.  0030  hrs.
           on 6.8.2001.
       vi) The dead body of the deceased  was  recovered  next  morning  on
           6.8.2001 from village Ayinavilli.
      vii) The deceased had died homicidal death and cause of her death was
           asphyxia due to strangulation.
     viii) It is also established  that  the  accused  absconded  from  the
           village after the incident.


  18. In our opinion, above chain of circumstances  is  complete  and  leads
      only to the conclusion that it was  the  accused/  respondent  and  he
      alone, who committed murder of the deceased.  The view  taken  by  the
      High Court that the chain of circumstances is not complete merely  for
      the reason that drunkenness of the accused  is  not  established,  and
      that the accused cannot be  said  to  have  got  sexually  transmitted
      disease  through  his  wife,  is  the   view   based   on   irrelevant
      considerations and could not have been taken in the present case after
      re-appreciating the evidence on record.  It is proved on the record by
      PW-11  Dr.  Venkata  Reddy  that  the  accused  was   suffering   from
      balanoposthitis, and PW-1 Jithuka Nagooru and  PW-2  Jithuka  Veeramma
      have proved the fact that the accused suspected  that  it  might  have
      been transmitted to him through his wife.  What is more  important  is
      that in his statement under Section 313 of Code of Criminal Procedure,
      when above evidence was put to the accused, he has accepted said fact.
       What he denied is that he did not go to take his wife to her parents’
      house.  He further denied that he did not take her to  night  show  of
      any movie, nor committed her murder.  In the above  circumstances,  we
      are of the opinion that in the present case only view possible was the
      one taken by the trial court.  As such, it is a fit case  where  order
      of  acquittal  recorded  by  the  High  Court  requires  interference.
      Therefore, on the basis of the discussion on evidence,  as  above,  we
      are of the view that this appeal deserves to be allowed.


  19. Accordingly, the appeal is allowed.  The impugned judgment  and  order
      passed by the High Court is set aside.  The order  of  conviction  and
      sentence recorded by the II Additional Sessions Judge, Rajahmundry  in
      Sessions Case No.  363  of  2001  against  the  accused/respondent  is
      restored.  The accused/respondent shall be taken into custody  by  the
      trial court to make him serve out the remaining part of the sentence.




                                                          ………………….....…………J.
                                                  [Dipak Misra]




                                                            .………………….……………J.
                                                          [Prafulla C. Pant]
      New Delhi;
      January 06, 2016.


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