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The celebrated Judge of the Allahabad High Court Justice Mehmood quoted the following Urdu couplet in one of his judgments while deciding a murder appeal :- “Jo Chup Rahegi Zuban-e-khanjar, Lahu pukarega asteen ka” Issue notice to the respondent as to why the life sentence awarded to him by the High Court should not be enhanced to death sentence.

Monkey murder

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 REPORTABLE

 IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

 CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

 S.L.P. (CRIMINAL) NO..............OF 2011 
 (CRLMP.NO(s). 16406/2011)

STATE OF U.P. Petitioner(s)

 VERSUS

ALOK VERMA Respondent(s)

 O R D E R

 Heard Mr. Pramod Swarup, learned senior counsel 

appearing for the petitioner-State of U.P.

 The allegations against the respondent accused, 

which have been found true by the courts below, are 

that the respondent murdered his wife and four children 

(three sons and one daughter) and caused injuries to 

another daughter with knife and axe taking the help of 

a hired person. This is because his wife protested 

against his indulgence in gambling, taking liquor and 

crimes like kidnapping. He had earlier to undergo 

imprisonment for one year in a case of kidnapping. His 

wife tried to persuade him not to commit these illegal 

acts and get reformed, but instead he would often beat 

her, and ultimately he committed these ghastly and 

brutal crimes of murdering his wife and four children,

 :1:

who are aged about 10, 8, 5 and 2 years respectively. 

The surviving daughter Priyanka is an eye witness and 

that apart there is convincing circumstantial evidence 

also on the basis of which the respondent has been 

convicted by the courts below.

 The injuries on the deceased Shikha, wife of the 

accused-respondent are as follows :-

 1. Multiple incised wounds over face and 

 forehead size 1 cm x 0.5 cm to 3 cm x 0.5 cm 

 bone deep.

 2. Incised wound 4 cm x 1 cm trachea deep on 

 front of neck below hyoid bone. On 

 dissection the underlying large vessels, 

 tracheas and nerves were cut.

 3. Incised wound 4 cm x 1 cm size muscle deep on 

 back of root of neck.

 4. Incised wound 4 cm x .5 cm muscle deep on top 

 of (Rt.) shoulder.

 5. Incised wound of 3 cm x 0.5 cm muscle deep on 

 back of and middle of (Rt.) upper arm.

 The injuries on the deceased Chhoutey, aged about 

5 years, son of the accused respondent are as follows:-

 :2:

 1. Incised wound of 3 cm x 1 cm size skull deep till 

 upper cavity of skull. This wound was 2 cm above 

 the right eyebrow on the right side of the skull. 

 Skull bone was broken. Thereafter, it was found 

 that brain and brain membrane was also cut and 

 blood mix fluid was present in the cavity of 

 skull.

 2. Incised wound 3 cm x 1 cm size bone deep which was 

 above the right eye brow on the right side of the 

 forehead.

 3. Incised wound 2 cm x 1 cm size just above the 

 injury No 2.

 4. Incised wound 2 cm x 1 cm size muscle deep in the 

 middle of the front of the neck.

 5. Contusion 8 cm x 6 cm size upon the skull.

The injuries on Rahul, aged about 10 years, son of the 

deceased and the accused respondent, are as follows :-

 1. Contusion of 8 cm x 3 cm size on the front of the 

 neck.

 2. Incised wound 5 cm x 1 cm breathing duct deep in 

 the front of the neck. This injury was very close 

 to the injury No.1 On dissection, blood vessels, 

 nerves, muscles and breathing duct etc. were found 

 to be cut.

 :3:

 3. Incised wound 4 cm x 1 cm skull deep. This injury 

 was 3 cm above the left eye, on the left side of 

 the skull bone of skull, brain and brain membrane 

 were found to be cut. Blood mix fluid was found to 

 present in the cavity of skull.

 4. Incised wound 3 cm x 1 cm muscle deep 12 cm above 

 the middle of forehead in the front of skull.

 5. Incised wound 2.5 cm x 1 cm muscle deep behind the 

 right ear.

 The injuries on Uttam Kumar, aged about 8 years, 

son of the deceased and the accused respondent are as 

follows :-

 1. Incised wound 3 cm x 1 cm bone deep in the upper 

 part of the body.

 2. Incised wound 3 cm x 1 cm x deep bone in the 

 middle of the forehead.

 3. Incised wound 2 cm x 1 cm x skull deep outside the 

 left eye on the left side of the face. The bone, 

 muscle, blood vessels, brain and brain membrane 

 were found to be cut. The fluid with blood was 

 filled in cavity of brain.

 4. Incised wound 3 cm x 1 cm bone deep, this wound 

 was close to the outer sides of the right eye.

 5. Incised wound 2.5 cm x 1 cm x breathing duct deep 

 on the front of the neck.

 :4:

 6. 12 cm x 3 cm size wound till nose contusion on the 

 neck.

 The injuries on Kumari Anjali, aged about 2 years, 

daughter of the deceased and accused respondent, are as 

follows :-

1. 4 cm x 1.5 cm incised wound x deep till cavity of 

 skull, 4 cm above the right eye brow on the right 

 side of the skull. Under the injury, bone, brain 

 and brain membrane under the injury were found to be 

 cut. Blood mixed fluid was found in the cavity of 

 brain.

2. 2 cm x 1 cm incised wound deep till cavity of skull 

 above the left eyebrow on the left side of forehead. 

 Under the injury, bone, brain and brain membrane 

 were found to be cut.

3. Incised wound 2 cm x 0.5 cm muscle deep below the 

 chin.

4. 2 cm x 0.5 muscle deep incised wound on the level of 

 the thyroid cartilage in the front of the neck.

Apart from the deceased, the injuries on the injured 

eye witness Priyanka, who was aged about six years when 

the incident took place, are as follows :-

 1. Towards right on the face in the front of the ear 

 contusion with red colour 6 cm x 45 cm.

 2. On right eye and lower eyelid contusion 4.5 cm x 4 

 cm. :5:

 3. Towards left on the face, below the eye contusion 

 with red colour 2 cm x 1.0 cm.

 4. Right ear was bleeding and blood clot was present.

These injuries show the brutal manner in which the 

deceased were killed, and injuries caused to Priyanka. 

Apparently the throats of the deceased were cut with a 

knife and their heads smashed with an axe.

 It has come in evidence that the accused had taken 

a house on rent and his wife Shikha (deceased) along 

with her children were living in that house. On 

07.07.2005 when the brother of Shikha (the complainant) 

came to the said house he found the door closed. He 

opened the door and found the dead bodies and also his 

injured niece Priyanka who told him about the incident.

 A blood stained axe was found in the room, while 

the knife which was also used in committing these 

horrible crimes had been concealed by the accused. The 

shirt of the accused was blood stained. The accused 

took the police to the sand where he had concealed a 

polythene bag containing the knife which was used which 

was blood stained, and some other items, including the 

blood stained shirt. 

 We cannot imagine a more ghastly act and, we are, 

prima facie, of the opinion that this falls in 

the category of rarest of rare cases in which death

 :6:

sentence should have been given. The trial court, no 

doubt, awarded death sentence to the respondent, but 

the High Court reduced it to life sentence by 

observing :-

 "...But on the other side, it is to be 
 considered as to what were the circumstances 
 under which the said murders were caused. 
 Accused Alok Verma was postgraduate in 
 Sociology, having failed in getting a job. It 
 seems that due to financial crisis, he entered 
 into the criminal world, due to which he had to 
 go to jail. He had been away from his wife and 
 children for a long time, and in these 
 circumstances, he became pessimistic and began 
 to suspect his wife's character. Advice of his 
 wife to stay away from criminal activities he 
 could not accept. In absence of alternative, in 
 such circumstances, his wife's threat to 
 disclose all of his wrong acts made the 
 situation worse and resulted in occurrence of 
 the incident which does not appear to be 
 committed under any preplan nor for any benefit, 
 but has been caused due to hopelessness and 
 doubts about the character of the wife wherein 
 he was doubting that the children were not his. 
 In the above circumstances considering the 
 decision of the Hon'ble Supreme Court in Prakash 
 Dhawal Khairnath (Patil) Vs. State of 
 Maharashtra and State of Maharashtra Vs. 
 Sandeep @ Babloo Prasad Khairnath (Patil) 2002 
 Supreme Court Cases (Criminal) 281 the 
 conclusion arrived is that the present case is 
 not fit for death penalty."

 Prima facie, we find the reasoning of the High Court 

to be strange. Merely because a person is in financial 

crisis does not mean that he is at liberty to commit

 :7:

ghastly and gruesome murders. It appears that the wife 

of the accused was of a noble character who tried to 

reform him, but the accused rather than being reformed 

committed these monstrous crimes. We fail to understand 

how the High Court could reduce the death sentence in 

 these circumstances.

 The celebrated Judge of the Allahabad High Court 

 Justice Mehmood quoted the following Urdu couplet in one 

 of his judgments while deciding a murder appeal :-

 "Jo Chup Rahegi Zuban-e-khanjar,

 Lahu pukarega asteen ka"

 Issue notice to the respondent as to why the life 

 sentence awarded to him by the High Court should not be 

 enhanced to death sentence.

 Issue notice also on the application for 

 condonation of delay.

 .................................J.
 (MARKANDEY KATJU)

NEW DELHI; ................................J.
SEPTEMBER 02, 2011 (CHANDRAMAULI KR. PRASAD)
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