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STATE OF MADHYA PRADESH
DATE OF JUDGMENT: 28/02/1996
VENKATASWAMI K. (J)
VENKATASWAMI K. (J)
ANAND, A.S. (J)
JT 1996 (2) 747 1996 SCALE (2)563
J U D G M E N T
The appellant who is in Central Jail, Indore has sent
through superintendent a Petition to set aside the impugned
judgment of the Madhya Pradesh High Court, Bench at Indore
confirming the death sentence imposed by the First
Additional Sessions Judge, Ujjain. The said Petition was
taken on file as Special leave Petition and this Court after
granting leave called for the records from the trial court.
The High Court was also requested to transmit to this Court
the copies each of the judgment of the High Court as well as
the trial court.
This appeal is directed against the judgment of the
Division Bench of the Madhya Pradesh High Court, Bench at
Indore in Death Reference No.2/95 and Criminal Appeal No.
173/95. The appellant accused was convicted under Section
302 I.P.C. for having committed murder of his wife Krishna
Bai, daughter Jyoti aged 10 years, daughter Rekha aged 16
years and under Section 307 I.P.C. for attempt to commit
murder of his daughter Komal aged 10 years, son Balakrishan
aged 12 years and another Son Sonu aged 7 years on the
intervening night of 20th and 21st February, 1994 in Village
Laxmipura, Police Station Kayatha District Ujjain. The
prosecution case is as follows :
On the intervening night of 20th and 21st February.
1994, the accused committed murder of his wife and two
daughters and they died on the spot. The further caused
injuries to Komal (daughter) and two sons Balakrishna and
Sonu with intent to commit murder. However, these three
survived even after sustaining grievious injuries. P.W.13,
Satnam Singh. Station House Officer received an annonymous
telephonic information that many persons have sustained
injuries and some of them have died at the residence of the
accused. On receiving such information, the Police Officer
reached the spot and found Balakrishna, Sonu and Komal in
seriously injured condition. Krishna Bai, Rekha and Jyoti
were found to be dead by that time. The accused was no.
found inside the house. The said Police Officer sent all the
injured to hospital for treatment and registered case
No.1/94, 2/94 and 3/94 regarding the death of the persons
referred to above. He recovered blood stained sword on the
spot. that clothes, lock and chappal were also found with.
blood stains and they were also seized. Stained and
unstained earth were also collected from the spot. Site map
was prepared. An inquest was held and various injuries were
noticed on the bodies of the different persons. The accused
was arrested on the same day and Panchnama was prepared and
on questioning, the accused gave information about sword
which he had kept. in the wheat field belonging to
Radheshyam. The clothes of the accused. Kurta and Pajama
With blood stains were also recovered from a trunk. During
investigation, it was found that the accused made extra
judicial confession of having committed murder of his wife
and children before Prahlad (P.W.6) and Rora (P.W.7).
The autopsy on the body of Rekha aged about 16, years
was conducted by Dr. Arvind Dashottar (P.W.3) on, 21.2.1994
and the following injuries were found on the body of the
deceased Rekha :
1. A big incised wound extending in
four direction from left pinna as
(a) 4"x 2" over left tempero
occipital region cut Piece of
occipital bone measuring 1/4"x 1/4"
present in the wound. Dura matter
(b) 4"x 2" from angle of the left
eye towards left pinna. Mandible
(c) Incised wound 2"x1" from angle
of left mandible upto left pinna.
(d) Incised wound 2"x1" from back
of back of neck towards(L) pinna .
2. Incised wound 3"x1/2" below
injury No.1 over accipital region.
3. Incised wound over skull (L)
parietal region 3"x1/2".
4. Incised wound over front
parietal region 5 1/2"x1". Parietal
bone incised. 5 1/2" membrane cut
at the middle with brain matter
incised 1/2" below membrance
parietal lobe of brain.
5. Incised wound over (L) shoulder
on top 1/2"x1/2" muscle deep.
6. Incised wound over (L) base of
(R) Thumb 1"x1/2".
7. Incised wound (L) Dorsal aspect
of hand 2"x1/2".
8. Incised wound (L) fore arm
dorsal aspect 2"x1/2".
9. Incised wound Palmar aspect of
(L) hand 3"x1/2" below little and
Ring finger. All these injuries
were antemortem in nature.
In the opinion of the doctor, these
injuries were sufficient to cause
Likewise the autopsy on the body of
Krishnabai was conducted by P.W.3
with Dr. M.D. Sharma on 21.2.1994
and they found the following
(1) Incised wound over nose
extending upto (L) frontal region 5
1/2"x2" from Rt. to (L) obliquely
upwards, muscle deep. ends
(2) Incised wound over (L) parietal
region 3"x1/2", bone exposed.
(3) Incised wound near injury No. 2
over vertex 2"x1/4" bone exposed.
(4) Incised wound 3"x1" over (R)
parietal region bone exposed.
(5) Incised wound behind (L) ear
(6) Incised wound on left side face
from (L) eye-brow extending
backward and downwards towards
tragus of ear 5 1/2" slicing
effect, skin held out.
(7) Incised wound 3"x/1/2" (L) side
of neck at the base on pest aspect
(8) Incised wound 1/2"x4" back of
chest in between scapular skin
(9) Incised wound 1/4"x1/2" lataral
aspect of (R) arm mid position.
(10) Incised wound dorsum of Hand
(R) extending towards forearm from
knunles upwards tenders and muscles
cut. Radious and ulna bones exposed
and cut at the distal ends.
(11) Incised wound 3"x1/2" (R)
forearm dorsal aspect above injury
(12) Incised wound 4"x1/2" over
palmar aspect of (L) hand extending
(13) Incised wound over dorsal
aspect (L) forearm 3"x1" mid
(14) Incised wound (L) forearm 4"x
1 1/2" muscle and vessels cu
Radious bone cut at mid.
(15) Incised wound over (L)
shoulder 1/2"x1" muscle
(16) Incised wound (L) Arm 1/4"
skin deep mid position.
(17) Incised wound 3"x1/2" palmar
aspect of (L) hand metacarpel cut
thumb extending upto wrist.
(18) Incised wound 3"x1/4" over
ulnar border of (L) hand:
metacarpal bone cut below little
(19) Incised wound 3"x1" over (L)
thigh and knee joint.
(20) lncised wound over knee joint
(R) 2 1/2"x1/2" muscle deep.
(21) Incised wound over (R) heel
attached with a Lag of skin
posteriorly complete tissue and
calcaneous bone cut 3"x around the
On 21.2.94 P.W.3 conducted
Post-mortem of the dead body of
Jyoti and found the following
injuries on the person of the
(i) Incised wound 2"x1/2" over
skull right frontal region, skin
deep, bona visible.
(ii) Incised wound 5 1/2"x1 1/2"
over skull Top bone exposed.
(iii) Incised wound 3"x1/2" over
vertex of skull.
(iv) Incised wound 3"x1" (L) side
of neck from left border of
mandible horizontal muscle, vessels
(v) Incised wound below injury
no.iv. 3"x1" tapering towards (L)
angle of mouth. There was only a
Tag of skin between injury no. iv
and v vessels cut.
(vi) Incised wound Left hand palmar
aspect extending from 2" over wrist
towards palm 4th metacarpal and
carpel bones cut.
(vii) Incised wound L side 3
1/2"x1/2" dorsum of hand extending
from base of index finger arose
hand 5th metacarpal bone cut.
(viii) Incised wound over elbow
(ix) Incised wound over (4)
scapular region 1"x1/2".
(x) Liner abrasion 5" with incised
wound at 2 1/2" from start 1/4"
below (L) scapular.
P.W.4 Dr. R. S. Dangad found the
following injuries while admitting
Sonu in the Hospital:
(1) Incised wound 6"x1" deep and
bone-cutting on the right parietal
(2) Incised wound 6"x1" bone deep
on the right fronte parietal
(3) Incised wound 5"x1" bone deep
exposing bone left parietal region.
(4) Incised wound 1 3/4x 1/4"x1/2"
on the right nendible.
Dr. Nagar (P.W.12) examined Komal
and found the following injuries.
1. Incised wound 3"x1" bone deep on
the L cheek.
2. Incised wound 5"x1" on the neck.
3. Incised wound 4"x1" bone deep on
the right knee muscles and vessels
4. Incised wound 1"x1/2"x1/2" on
the proximal of finger middle
5. Ring finger was cut upto PIB
6. Incised wound 1"x1/2"x1/2" on
the index finger of left hand.
7. Incised wound 2"x1/2"x1/2" on
the back of left hand.
8. Incised wound 4"x1/2"x1/2" on
the back of left wrist hand finger.
9. Incised wound 1 1/2"x1/2"x1/4"
on Rt. wrist dorsal surface.
10 Incised wound 2"x1/2"x1/2" on L
hand dorsal surface.
11. Incised wound 2"x1/2"x1/2"
oblique wrist dorsal surface.
12. Incised wound 1 1/2"x1/2"x1/2"
oblique Lt. P.A. dorsal surface
P.W.12 Dr. Nagar examined
Balakrishna on the same day and
found following injuries:
1. All fingers amputed from M.P.
joint excepting thump.
2. Incised wound on right face
extending upto right eye.
3. Incised wound on the left next
3" x 2"x2".
4. Incised wound 2"x1"x1" on Rt.
The materials seized were sent for serologist
examination and it was found that it contained human blood.
After completion of investigation, chargesheet was filed
against the accused. The case was committed to the court of
sessions. The accused pleaded not guilty. The learned Trial
judge convicted and sentenced the accused as mentioned
The learned trial judge has given special reasons for
awarding death sentence. The accused preferred an appeal to
the High Court. It was taken up for hearing with Death
Reference. The High Court in its elaborate judgment found
that the fact of commission of murder, by causing grievious
injuries, to Balakrishna, Sonu and Komal had been proved
beyond reasonable doubt and accused was rightly found
guilty for the same. Regarding the sentence, the learned
Judges after referring to several judgments of this Court
and also a Division Bench of the Madhya Pradesh High Court
found that the case of the accused fell within the cases of
the 'rarest of rare cases' and there were no mitigating
circumstances whatsoever for commission of gruesome murder
of wife and two children. Accordingly while dismissing the
appeal filed by the accused accepted the reference made by
the learned Additional sessions Judge.
It is under these circumstances, the present appeal was
filed by the accused who is in jail. Mr. Vimal Dave, learned
counsel for the accused appellant finding the fool proof
case of the prosecution did not attempt to challenge the
conviction recorded by the learned Sessions Judge and
confirmed by the High Court. However, he strenuously argued
that there is a case for reducing the death sentence to one
of life imprisonment in the peculiar facts and circumstances
of this case. According to the learned counsel, the
murder was not a pre-planned one and having regard to the
time and place of the incident it must be taken that it
was on account of sudden provocation and as suggested
defence in the cross-examination of the prosecution
witnesses, that the suspicion entertained by the accused
regarding the fidelity of his wife and answer said to have
been given by her led to the incident. According to
the learned counsel there was no mensrea and no motive
was suggested by the prosecution for committing the there
murders and causing injuries to the children.
Learned counsel appearing for the respondent, however,
submitted that the findings rendered by the trial court
as well as by the High Court on appreciation of oral
evidence will go to show that the appellant has committed
the murder in a gruesome manner without any provocation
and against helpless dependents. As per the decided cases
of this Court,
the death sentence awarded to the accused does not call for
We have considered the rival submissions. Before going
into the facts of this case as found by the trial court and
the High Court, it will be useful to set out the principles
laid down by this Court in several cases for awarding death
In Anshad and others vs. state of Karnataka (1994)4 SCC
381, a two Judge bench of this Court presided over by one of
us (Anand, J.) has observed as follows"
"Courts are expected to exhibit
sensitiveness in the matter of
sward of sentence particularly, the
sentence of death because life once
lost cannot be brought back. This
Court has in cases more than one
emphasised that for determining the
proper sentence in a case like this
while the court should take into
account the aggravating
circumstances it should not
overlook or ignore the mitigating
circumstances. The manner in which
the crime was committed, the
weapons used and the brutality or
the lack of it are some of the
considerations which must be
present to the mind of the court.
Of course, the High Court has the
power and jurisdiction to enhance
the sentence of life imprisonment
to death but that power has to be
sparingly exercised, in "rarest of
the rare cases" for 'special
reasons' to be recorded. The courts
must be alive to the legislative
changes introduced in 1973 through
Section 354 (3) CrPC. Death
sentence, being an exception to the
general rule, should be awarded in
the "rarest of the rare cases" for
'Special reasons' to be recorded
after balancing the aggravating and
the mitigating circumstances, in
the facts and circumstances of a
given case. The number of persons
murdered is a consideration but
that is not the only consideration
for imposing death penalty unless
the case falls in the category of
"rarest of the rare cases". The
courts must keep in view the nature
of the crime, the brutality with
which it was executed, the
antecedents of the criminal, the
weapons used etc. It is neither
possible nor desirable to catalogue
all such factors and they depend
upon case to case."
In Jashubha Bharatsinh Gohil & Others Vs. state of
Gujarat (1994) 4 SCC 358, this Court has observed as follows
in paragraph 12 of the judgment:
"It is needless for us to go into
the principles laid down by this
Court regarding the enhancement of
sentence as also about the award of
sentence of death, as the law on
both these subjects in now well
settled. There is undoubtedly power
of enhancement available with the
High Court which, however, has to
be sparingly exercised. No hard and
fast rule can be laid down as to in
which case the High Court may
enhance the sentence from life
imprisonment to death. Each case
depends on its own facts and on a
variety of factors. The courts are
constantly faced with the situation
were they are required to answer to
new challenges and mould the
sentencing system to challenges and
mould the sentencing system to meet
those challenges. Protection of
society and deterring the criminal
is the avowed object of law and
that is required to be achieved by
imposing appropriate sentence. The
change in the legislative
intendment relating to award of
capital punishment notwithstanding,
the opposition by the protagonist
of abolition of capital sentence,
shows that it is expected of the
courts to so operate the sentencing
system as to impose such sentence
which reflects the social
conscience of the society. The
sentencing process has to be stern
where it should be."
Again in paragraph 14 of the same judgment it was
observed that it is only after giving due weight to the
mitigating as well as the aggravating circumstances, that it
must proceed to impose the appropriate sentence'.
In suresh Chandra Bahri vs. state of Punjab 1995 supp.
(1) SCC 80, in paragraph 105, this Court observed as
"The cold-blooded cruel murder of
the innocent children by none else
but by their own real father shows
the enormous proportion with which
it was committed eliminating almost
all members of the family. WE have
given our serious thoughts and
consideration and posed the
question to ourselves whether there
could be still a worse case than
this where a husband could hatch a
conspiracy and kill his wife in a
most callous and ghastly fashion as
in the present case only on a
trifling matter which could have
been sorted out in an amicable
manner for which to effort appears
to have been made by suresh. Not
only this but the appellant suresh
became thirsty of the blood of his
own children for absolutely no
fault of theirs. in the facts and
circumstances discussed above, in
our opinion, so far as suresh
bahari is concerned, the rule of
the rarest of rare cases has to be
applied as the present case falls
within the category of the rarest
of rare cases and for the
perpetration of the crime of the
nature discussed above there could
be no other proper and adequate
sentence except the sentence of
death as there are no mitigating
circumstances what soever. Having
regard to all the facts and
circumstances of the present case
as far as suresh Bahri is concerned
there is no cause for any
interference in the vies taken by
the two courts below in awarding
the death sentence to him. We,
therefore, affirm the conviction
and sentence of death awarded to
Suresh by the High Court. In the
event of the execution of death
sentence, the sentence awarded
under Sentence awarded under
section 201 of the IPC shall remain
only of academic interest."
As the commission of the crime has been established
beyond reasonable doubt and as the counsel for the appellant
also fairly pleaded only for the reduction of sentence, we
need not probe into the conviction aspect once again. We,
therefore, proceed on the footing that the accused/appellant
has committed murder of his wife and two children and
attempted to kill the remaining three children, but (to the
surprise of the accused) they escaped with grievous
injuries. Our concern in the present appeal is about the
manner of committing the murder, weapons used, the position
of the victims and the circumstances under which the crime
was committed and to find out whether the case falls under
the category of "rarest of the rare cases" in the light of
principles already noticed through the judgments of this
Before that, we may also point out that we have
independently and carefully gone through the evidence both
oral and documentary and we are convinced that the
convictions of the appellant for offences under Sections 302
and 307 I.P.C. awarded by the learned Sessions Judge and
confirmed by the learned Judges of the High Court are
unassailable and are quite in accord with oral, documentary
and medical evidence.
Now, let us look into the way the accused had carried
out the murder of his wife and two children and caused
grievous injuries to the rest of his children in the course
of his attempt to liquidate them also. From the evidence
which has been accepted by the trial court and the High
Court, the following emerges :
On 20th February, 1994, the accused, his wife and all
the five children took their dinner together before going to
the bed and had also viewed the programme on the television.
The accused along with his family members slept in a room.
At about 12-1 on the intervening night of 20th and 21st
February, 1994, the accused started to kill his wife with
the help of a sword and on hearing the shoutings the
children woke up. The wife questioned the accused why he was
trying to kill her and the accused without giving any answer
inflicted more injuries on her head, hand and foot. By that
time, the eldest daughter Rekha tried to save her mother and
instead of leaving his wife from attack, he started
inflicting wounds on his first daughter Rekha with the same
sword. Not satisfied with that, he also inflicted injuries
with the same sword to another daughter and finding that the
sword he had used had been bent, he left that sword and took
out another big sword, kept in a box in the room, and with
the help of the second sword, he inflicted injuries to the
other children. All the injured persons fell down and as
seen earlier, the wife and two children succumbed to the
injuries and the other three children succumbed to the
injuries and the other three children escaped death. It is
also in the evidence of P.W.7 Rora that the accused after
committing the crime, confessed to him (PW 7) stating "I had
slaughtered all of them, how the three left alive". The
above attitude of the accused clearly reveals that he had
caused injuries with a view to liquidate all the members of
his family and he was not happy to find that inspite of his
act his three children had escaped from death.
We have already given the injuries inflicted on the
deceased persons as well as on the children who escaped
death. We find that the accused had accused in all 64 sword
injuries to all the six persons including the three deceased
persons and those injuries speak for themselve about the
gruesome nature of the crime committed by the accused. Be it
noted that there was no provocation and there is nothing to
suggested that there was any quarrel between the accused and
his wife or among any one of the family members. The way in
which the crime was executed clearly shows that it was a
premeditated one and not on account of sudden provocation or
any 'mental-derange'. The motive suggested in the course of
cross examination of the prosecution witnesses is also not
helpful to the accused inasmuch as he had pleaded alibi in
his statement (under Section 313 Cr. P.C.) and that has also
been taken note of by the trial court as well as by the High
Court. As pointed out earlier, both the Sessions Judge and
the High Court have given special reasons for awarding death
sentence and we are also of the opinion that the crime
indulged by the accused is undoubtedly gruesome, cold
blooded, heinous, atrocious and cruel. We are also satisfied
that on the facts established on the record, there ap[pear
so to be mitigating circumstance whatsoever, but only
aggravating circumstance which justify the imposition of
death sentence. If we look into the manner in which the
crime was committed, the weapon used, the brutality of the
crime, number of persons murdered, the helplessness of the
victims, we cannot come to any other conclusion except the
one, the Sessions Judge and the High court arrived at to
award the capital sentence to the appellant.
In the result, the appeal fails and it is dismissed