seven circumstances set out by the High Court for holding the appellants guilty cannot be faulted with = Chandra Bhawan Singh-the appellant herein was the first to lodge the FIR about the incident wherein he stated that Satyawati has committed suicide. Apparently, this fact proves that first, he was present in the house where Satyawati was found dead and second, he falsely stated that Satyawati committed suicide because he wanted to divert the attention of the police from the reality. – both the accused (appellants herein) in their statements recorded under Section 313 of the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 failed to give any explanation when asked about the circumstances in which the incident occurred in their house. When the incident admittedly occurred in their house, the appellants were required to explain the circumstances in which Satyawati died. They, however, failed to give any explanation. We also find that Tribuhuwan Singh said that he was not present in the house at the time of the occurrence and on that day he was in Allahabad. He also failed to adduce any evidence to prove this fact.

REPORTABLE

IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 654 OF 2018

(Arising out of S.L.P.(Crl.)No.7049 of 2014)

Chandra Bhawan Singh ….Appellant(s)

VERSUS

The State of Uttar Pradesh ….Respondent(s)

WITH

CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 655 OF 2018

(Arising out of S.L.P.(Crl.) No. 7664 of 2014)

 

J U D G M E N T

Abhay Manohar Sapre, J.

1. Leave granted.

2. These appeals are filed by the accused persons

against the final judgment and order dated 20.05.2014

passed by the High Court of Judicature at Allahabad

in Criminal Appeal No.1114 of 1986 whereby the High

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Court dismissed the appeal in respect of the

appellants-accused and affirmed the judgment and

order dated 07.05.1986 passed by the Additional

Sessions Judge, Fatehpur in Sessions Trial No. 291 of

1984.

3. In order to appreciate the issues involved in the

appeals, it is necessary to set out the facts of the case.

4. Four persons, namely, (1) Tribhuwan Singh

(appellant), (2) Chandra Bhawan Singh (appellant) (3)

Smt. Makoi Devi and (4) Jwala Singh were prosecuted

for committing murder of one lady by name

“Satyawati”.

5. The Additional Sessions Judge, Fatehpur by his

judgment dated 07.05.1986 in Sessions Trial No. 291

of 1984 acquitted one accused-Jwala Singh but

convicted the remaining three accused. Tribhuwan

Singh was convicted under Section 302/34 of the

Indian Penal Code, 1860 (hereinafter referred to as

2

“IPC”) and sentenced him to undergo imprisonment for

life and to pay a fine of Rs.5000/- in default of

payment of fine, to further undergo rigorous

imprisonment for one year. Smt. Makoi Devi was

convicted under Section 302/34 IPC and was

sentenced to undergo imprisonment for life. Chandra

Bhawan Singh was convicted under Section 32/34 IPC

and was sentenced to undergo imprisonment for life

and further convicted under Section 201 IPC and was

sentenced to undergo rigorous imprisonment for five

years. All the sentences of Chandra Bhawan Singh

would run concurrently.

6. The aforementioned three-convicted accused felt

aggrieved of their respective conviction and sentence

awarded by the Additional Sessions Judge filed appeal

in the High Court. The High Court, by impugned

judgment, allowed the appeal in respect of one

accused – Smt. Makoi Devi and accordingly acquitted

3

her from the charges leveled against her but dismissed

the appeal in respect of remaining two accused

persons, namely, (1) Tribhuwan Singh and (2)

Chandra Bhawan Singh and accordingly confirmed

their conviction and the sentence awarded by the

Additional Sessions Judge.

7. The remaining two accused felt aggrieved by their

respective conviction and award of sentence filed

separate special leave petitions in this Court.

8. So far as SLP(Crl.) No. 7049 of 2014 is

concerned, it is filed by Chandra Bhawan Singh

whereas SLP(Crl.) No. 7664 of 2014 is concerned, it is

filed by Tribhuwan Singh.

9. In both these special leave petitions, the

challenge is to the impugned judgment of the High

Court, which has confirmed their conviction and

sentence.

10. In short, the case of the prosecution is as under:

4

11. All the four accused named above are the

members of one family. Smt. Makoi Devi is the mother

of Tribhuwan Singh and Chandra Bhawan Singh. In

other words, Tribhuwan Singh and Chandra Bhawan

Singh are real brothers being the two sons of Smt.

Makoi Devi.

12. The deceased-Satyawati was the wife of

Tribhuwan Singh. Their marriage was performed in the

year 1981. Satyawati stayed in her matrimonial home

with her husband for 8 days and then returned to her

parents’ house.

13. It is the case of the prosecution that the members

of Satyawati in-laws family, which included the four

accused named above, were harassing her while she

was staying in her in-laws house for not bringing any

dowry in her marriage. The family members had been

demanding “motor cycle” in dowry. Due to constant

harassment given to her by the aforementioned four

5

accused persons, it had become unbearable for her to

stay in the house and, therefore, she returned to her

parents’ house and started living with her parents.

14. On 15.03.1984, Jwala Singh and Chandra

Bhawan Singh went to Satywati’s parents’ house and

brought Satyawati back to her in-laws house. On

18.03.1984 (after 3 days), Satyawati was found dead

in her in-laws house. She died due to gun shot

injuries.

15. Chandra Bhawan Singh-the elder brother of

Tribhuwan Singh lodged a FIR in the Police Station,

Kishanpur on the same day, i.e., 18.03.1984,

informing therein that Satyawati committed suicide in

the house by gun shot injuries and that her dead body

was lying in the courtyard of the house. One FIR was

also lodged by village Pradhan. It was registered as FIR

No. 30/1984 (GD No. 14/84) at PS Kishanpur. The

brother of the deceased-Rajender (PW-1) lodged the

6

FIR on the same day stating therein that all the four

accused named above have killed his sister because of

non-fulfillment of their demand for dowry.

16. On 19/20.04.1984, all the four accused persons

were arrested. In the investigation, the police recovered

the Gun at the instance of Tribhuwan Singh from his

house, which was alleged to be used in commission of

the offence. The post mortem of the dead body was

performed which disclosed that Satyawati was

murdered. The police then made further investigation,

collected evidence, obtained ballistic report from the

experts and recorded the statements of the accused

persons and other witnesses.

17. On 09.06.1984 the police filed Challan. The case

was committed to the Additional Sessions Judge,

Fatehpur for trial. The Additional Sessions Judge

framed charges against the four accused persons for

commission of the offences punishable under Sections

7

302/34 and 201 of IPC read with Section 4 of the DP

Act. The prosecution examined six witnesses to prove

their case.

18. By order dated 07.05.1986, the Additional

Sessions Judge acquitted Jwala Singh finding no

evidence against him but convicted Tribhuwan Singh

(husband), Smt. Makoi Devi (mother-in-law) and

Chandra Bhawan Singh (brother-in-law) and

sentenced them to undergo life imprisonment for

killing Satyawati.

19. Thribhuwan Singh, Smt Makoi Devi and Chandra

Bhawan Singh felt aggrieved and filed appeal in the

High Court at Allahabad against their conviction and

sentence awarded by the Additional Sessions Judge.

20. By impugned judgment, the High Court

dismissed the appeal filed by Tribhuwan Singh and

Chandra Bhawan Singh and accordingly upheld their

conviction and sentence. However, the High Court

8

acquitted Smt. Makoi Devi (mother-in-law) from all the

charges finding no evidence against her.

21. It is against this judgment, the accused

Tribhuwan Singh and Chandra Bhawan Singh have

filed the present two appeals by way of special leave in

this Court.

22. So far as acquittal of Jwala Singh and Smt.

Makoi Devi is concerned, it has attained finality

because the State did not file any appeal in the High

Court and nor in this Court.

23. Heard Mr. Nagendra Rai, learned senior counsel

for the appellants(accused) and Mr. Ratnakar Dash,

learned senior counsel for the respondent(State).

24. Mr. Nagendra Rai, learned senior counsel for the

appellants(accused) while assailing the legality and

correctness of the impugned judgment contended that

firstly, the conviction of both the appellants, though

9

concurrent in nature, is neither factually and nor

legally sustainable.

25. In the Second place, he contended that since the

entire case of prosecution is founded on circumstantial

evidence, it was necessary for the prosecution to have

adduced evidence to prove the complete chain of

events. Learned counsel contended that there is no

evidence much less sufficient evidence adduced by the

prosecution to prove the chain of events leading to the

guilt of committing the murder of Satyawati by the

appellants and hence the conviction is bad in law.

26. In the third place, learned counsel to support his

second submission took us through the evidence with

a view to show that chain of events to prove the guilt

qua the appellants is not established.

27. In the fourth place, learned counsel contended

that the circumstances appearing in the case from the

10

evidence would show that Satyawati committed

suicide.

28. In reply, learned counsel for the respondent

(State) supported the reasoning and the conclusion

arrived at by both the Courts below and prayed for

dismissal of the appeals calling for no interference in

the concurrent findings of both the Courts below.

29. Having heard the learned counsel for the parties

and on perusal of the record of the case, we find no

merit in the appeals.

30. In our opinion, both the Courts below properly

appreciated the evidence and came to a right

conclusion that the appellants were responsible for

commission of the offence of murder of Satyawati.

31. It is a settled principle of law that when the

Courts below have recorded concurrent findings

against the accused persons which are based on due

appreciation of evidence, this Court under Article 136

11

of the Constitution of India would be slow to interfere

in such concurrent findings and secondly would not

appreciate the evidence de novo unless it is prima facie

shown that both the Courts below did not either

consider the relevant piece of evidence or there exists

any perversity or/and absurdity in the findings

recorded by both the Courts below etc.

32. We, however, made endeavour to peruse the

evidence with a view to find out as to whether the

concurrent findings of both the Courts below have any

kind of infirmity or/and whether the concurrent

findings are capable of being legally and factually

sustainable in law or need to be reversed. Having gone

through the evidence, we are of the view that the

findings are legally and factually sustainable.

33. We find that there is evidence to prove the factum

of demand of dowry. Rajender(PW-1) is the real

brother of the deceased. He was the complainant. His

12

evidence was rightly relied on by the two Courts below

for holding that the appellants were persistently

making a demand of dowry (motor cycle) from

Satyawati and her family members and they used to

harass her for such cause. The testimony of PW-1 is

natural and consistent having no material

contradiction, we, therefore, find no justification to

disbelieve it. The same deserves to be accepted.

34. So far as the story of suicide set up by the

appellants is concerned, it is, in our view, wholly

unbelievable on the evidence brought on record.

35. First, it is not possible rather difficult for a

person to commit suicide by using DBBL Gun; Second,

it has come in evidence that there were as many as 7

gun shot injuries noticed on the body of Satyawati. In

our view, It is not possible for a person to commit

suicide by firing seven gun shots one after the other on

his/her body with the use of DBBL Gun in hands.

13

However, one can commit suicide by firing one shot

with a pistol. Such was, however, not the case of the

appellants.

36. Coming to the involvement of the appellants in

commission of the offence, we find that the High Court

relied on the following circumstances appearing

against the appellants for holding them guilty of

commission of the offence of murder of Satyawati.

These circumstances are extracted hereinbelow:

“Here prosecution has discharged its part

of the burden by leading evidence of which it

was capable by substantiating the fact (i) that

there has been demand of dowry (ii) deceased

has been taken to her in laws house (iii) at the

time of death, deceased has been staying with

her in laws and appellants are the inmates of

the house (iv) death in question has taken

place inside the house (v) injuries caused

clearly reflects that it is case of murder (vi)

story of suicide set up by appellant No.3 was

not at all supported by medical evidence (vii)

DBBL gun has been used in the commission of

offence and once chain of events are clearly

linked up then in view of Section 106 of

Evidence Act, as young bride in question has

been killed inside the house, then there is

corresponding burden on the inmates of the

house to give cogent explanation as to how the

crime was committed. The inmates of the

house cannot get away by simply keeping quiet

14

and offering no explanation on the supposed

premise that the burden to establish its case

lies entirely upon the prosecution and there is

no duty at all on an accused to offer any

explanation. The principle is that when an

incriminating circumstance is put to the

accused and said accused does not offer any

explanation which on the face of it is found

false or untrue, then the same becomes

additional link in the chain of circumstances

to make it complete.”

37. In our considered opinion, the aforementioned

seven circumstances set out by the High Court for

holding the appellants guilty cannot be faulted with.

These seven circumstances do establish the chain of

events and being directly connected with the incident

in question, establish the involvement of the

appellants in commission of the offence beyond

reasonable doubt. In our opinion, the test laid down

to prove the guilt by circumstantial evidence in this

case is fully satisfied by the aforementioned seven

circumstances against the appellants.

38. That apart, we also find from the evidence that

Chandra Bhawan Singh-the appellant herein was the

15

first to lodge the FIR about the incident wherein he

stated that Satyawati has committed suicide.

Apparently, this fact proves that first, he was present

in the house where Satyawati was found dead and

second, he falsely stated that Satyawati committed

suicide because he wanted to divert the attention of

the police from the reality. As held above, no evidence

was led to prove that it was a case of suicide.

39. We also find that both the accused (appellants

herein) in their statements recorded under Section 313

of the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 failed to give any

explanation when asked about the circumstances in

which the incident occurred in their house. When the

incident admittedly occurred in their house, the

appellants were required to explain the circumstances

in which Satyawati died. They, however, failed to give

any explanation.

16

40. We also find that Tribuhuwan Singh said that he

was not present in the house at the time of the

occurrence and on that day he was in Allahabad. He

also failed to adduce any evidence to prove this fact.

41. We are, therefore, of the considered view that

both the Courts below rightly held the appellants

guilty for commission of the offence in question and,

therefore, we find no good ground to take a different

view than what is taken by the two Courts below.

42. In view of the foregoing discussion, the appeals

fail and are accordingly dismissed.

……………………………………..J.

[R.K. AGRAWAL]

 

 

……………………………………….J.

[ABHAY MANOHAR SAPRE]

New Delhi;

May 01, 2018

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