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Judiciary

Karnataka High Court Reverses Acquittal, Convicts Son For Causing Mother's Death [Read Order]

By Saket Sourav      21 May, 2024 06:10 PM      0 Comments
Karnataka High Court Reverses Acquittal Convicts Son For Causing Mothers Death

NEW DELHI: The Karnataka High Court has recently reversed the acquittal of a son and convicted him for committing offenses under section 304 of the Indian Penal Code for assaulting and causing the death of his 60-year-old mother. The court, while convicting the accused, held that since the deceased was none other than the mother of the accused, she had no reason to falsely implicate him in the case.

“The deceased is none other than the mother of the accused. She had no reason to falsely implicate him in the case. As held by the Hon'ble Supreme Court in Laxman's judgment, if the dying declaration is found acceptable, the Court can base a conviction solely on such evidence,” the Court held. The court also stated that a dying declaration can be the sole basis of conviction, provided it inspires the confidence of the Court.

A Division Bench of Justice K.S. Mudagal and Justice T.G. Shivashankare Gowda was hearing a criminal appeal filed to set aside the judgment and order of acquittal for the offense punishable under section 302 of the IPC.

FACTS

The facts of the case are that the accused was addicted to alcohol and, due to this, he was not working and had become a burden to his parents. His mother (the deceased) insisted that he go to work. Enraged by this, when she admonished the accused for his waywardness, he assaulted her with a club and kicked her, causing grievous injuries. Due to this, she sustained injuries and subsequently died in Sullia Community Health Centre.

The Trial Court framed the charge against the accused for the offense punishable under Section 302 IPC. The accused denied the charge and claimed trial. The Trial Court, after hearing the parties, acquitted the accused, holding that the eyewitnesses and other independent witnesses did not support the prosecution's case. The Trial Court further held that the prosecution had failed to prove that the victim was in a fit condition to give a statement, and the charge against the accused was not proved beyond reasonable doubt. Hence, the present appeal was preferred by the state to challenge the impugned judgment.

ARGUMENTS

The counsel appearing for the state submitted that the dying declaration of the victim was proved by cogent and consistent evidence. She further argued that the mere failure of the doctor to certify fitness in the dying declaration was not a ground to disbelieve the same. She also argued that the official witnesses had no ill will against the accused, and therefore, there was no reason to disbelieve their evidence. Additionally, she contended that the dying declaration was corroborated by their evidence and that the Trial Court committed an error in acquitting the accused on such grounds.

Per contra, the counsel appearing for the accused argued that the prosecution was required to prove the charges beyond a reasonable doubt and that apart from official witnesses, none of the witnesses supported the prosecution’s case. She further questioned the validity of the dying declaration and argued that the fitness of the victim to give a statement was not certified. Hence, she argued that the Court cannot convict the accused solely based on the dying declaration.

DECISION

The court, after hearing submissions from both parties and upon examination of the materials on record, framed the question for determination: “Whether the impugned judgment and order of acquittal suffer from patent illegality or perversity?”

The court, while rejecting the prosecution's contentions, noted that in an appeal against a judgment of acquittal, the scope of interference by the appellate Court is limited.

However, relying on Prem Singh Vs. State of Haryana, the court held that if it is shown that the judgment of acquittal suffers from patent illegality or perversity, the judgment of the Trial Court can be reversed.

Further, the court referred to Koli Chunilal Savji Vs. State of Gujarat, where the Hon'ble Supreme Court upheld the view that if the evidence on record satisfies that the victim was conscious and fit at the time of making the declaration, medical certification regarding fitness is not necessary. It was further held that a dying declaration can be the sole basis of conviction, provided it inspires the confidence of the Court.

Additionally, the court rejected the defense of the accused that the victim suffered injuries due to alcoholic ulcers and held that “If the victim suffered injuries due to overconsumption of alcohol, then PWs-1, 2, 10, and the accused himself should have given such a history in the hospital. They should have got her treated in the hospital; that would have been the natural conduct. There was no suggestion to PW15 that when the victim was brought to the hospital, she had consumed alcohol. Instead, she was admitted by PW-2 in the hospital with a history of assault by the accused.”

The court further held that the accused had no intention to commit the murder of his mother. However, he indulged in an imprudent act of assault under the influence of alcohol in such a fatal manner, causing an intestinal tear that led to her death. Hence, the court held that the acts of the accused attract the offense prescribed in the Second Part of Section 304 IPC and not Section 302 IPC.

Therefore, in conclusion, the court held that the acquittal suffers from patent illegality and perversity. It allowed the appeal in part by setting aside the impugned judgment and convicting the accused for the offense punishable under the Second Part of Section 304 IPC.

[Read Order]



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