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Events in a case based on circumstantial evidence should be conclusive in nature and tendency

After we have gone through the record and findings recorded by the learned trial Court and after being revisited by the High Court under the impugned judgment which we have also taken away for our satisfaction, the incriminating circumstances pointed out, in our view, are sufficient with reasonable certainty on the established facts, which connect the accused with the commission of crime of committing the murder of his own wife (Nirmala Mary). (Para 16)



R. Damodaran v. The State represented by the Inspector of Police

Criminal Appeal No.1008 of 2010

Decided on 23 February, 2021


A division bench of the Hon’ble Supreme Court consisting of Justice Ashok Bhushan and Justice Ajay Rastogi decided the present case.


The marriage of the deceased-Nirmala Mary and accused-appellant was solemnized on 17th February 1997. The appellant used to frequently change his rented accommodation and whenever he changed the rented accommodation, he used to quarrel with the deceased and send her to her father to fetch money. Since the day they shifted to Walles Garden area, the accused-appellant used to come home after consuming liquor and invariably had a quarrel with the deceased and beat her. The deceased lodged a complaint at the Police Station many times in this matter.

On the fateful night of 28th October 2005, while he was quarreling with deceased Nirmala Mary, he picked up a log from the house and beat Nirmala Mary and caused an internal injury in her stomach and ultimately murdered her. After an autopsy on the dead body was conducted by PW 7, it was opined that the deceased died of shock and hemorrhage due to thoracic 4 injuries and on the statements expressed in the post-mortem report, a case under Section 302 IPC was registered and the appellant was arrested, pending investigation.


The case of the prosecution was that the appellant attacked with a wooden log and caused her death because of homicidal violence. The defence plea was that it was a cardiac arrest. However, the prosecution had no direct evidence to offer. It rested its case upon circumstances which would indicate that in the past, he was ill-treating her and there were complaints given to the police, and they were enquired by PWs 9 and 10, the police officials, attached to Thousand Light Police Station.

It was the appellant himself who took her to the hospital and made a false statement that she suffered a cardiac arrest but after the autopsy was conducted on the body of the deceased, it came to light that she died out of shock and hemorrhage due to thoracic injuries. In addition to other circumstances, the prosecution was able to establish that it was none other than the appellant who had committed the crime and he wanted to show his innocence by taking the deceased to the hospital and made a false statement that she suffered a cardiac arrest which on receipt of the post-mortem certificate, was found to be false where it was established that the death was caused by homicidal violence.


At the onset, the Court observed:

In a case based on circumstantial evidence, the settled principles of law are that the circumstances from which the conclusion of guilt is to be drawn should be fully proved and such circumstances should be conclusive in nature and the circumstances should be complete and there should be no gap left in the chain of events. However, the circumstances must be consistent only with the hypothesis of the guilt of the accused and inconsistent with the innocence. (Para 13)


The Court placed reliance on the judgments in Sharad Birdhichand Sarda Vs. State of Maharashtra, (1984) 4 SCC 116 and Padala Veera Reddy Vs. State of Andhra Pradesh and Ors.,1989 Supp (2) SCC 706.


The Court held:

Taking note of the principles which has been laid down by this Court and the circumstances which the prosecution has established in a chain of events leave no matter of doubt that it is none other than the appellant who had committed the crime of murdering his own wife who was at the advanced stage of pregnancy, and taken the dead body to the hospital and made a false statement that she had got a cardiac arrest. Initially, the FIR was registered on suspicion but after the autopsy on the body of the deceased was conducted, taking note of the post-mortem report, a case under Section 302 IPC was registered. (Para 15)


After we have gone through the record and findings recorded by the learned trial Court and after being revisited by the High Court under the impugned judgment which we have also taken away for our satisfaction, the incriminating circumstances pointed out, in our view, are sufficient with reasonable certainty on the established facts, which connect the accused with the commission of crime of committing the murder of his own wife (Nirmala Mary). (Para 16)


The Court dismissed the appeal and directed the appellant to undergo the remaining part of sentence.



Aaron Varughese

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