Sadly, on 1st March, 2006, Dorathi Kutinho had to rush to a hospital.
As per the appellant, she had complained of chest pain. By the time she
reached the hospital, she had died. The doctor who examined her issued a
certificate stating that she had died of cardiac arrest. However, as per
the postmortem done few days later, the cause of death was found to be
Asphyxia as a result of smothering. The appellant was roped in as an
accused committing murder of Dorathi Kutinho and was put to trial.
It is stated that in the Will, a condition was put
that the appellant will succeed to the estate of Dorathi only if he marries
a Christian lady and the appellant who was Hindu by religion did not want
to marry a Christian girl. This gives rise to an important poser: whether
killing of Dorathi would have solved this dilemma of the appellant, if at
all such dilemma was there. Answer is to be emphatic ‘NO’. Death of
Dorathi, natural or unnatural, would have the only consequence of bringing
the Will as operational. That would not and could not wipe off the
aforesaid condition stated in the Will. Therefore, it can hardly be
treated as a motive on the part of the appellant to kill Dorathi. On the
other hand, having regard to very cordial and lovable relationship between
the appellant and Dorathi which was as pious as mother and son, it was very
unlikely that appellant would kill Dorathi even when Dorathi had already
Willed away her properties in favour of the appellant. One has to keep in
mind another important aspect namely Dorathi was of advanced age and was
suffering from hypertension, depression and other old age related ailments.
Therefore, no purpose could have been achieved by killing such a helpless
lady, a little prematurely.
When the evidence adduced by the parties in support of their respective
cases fell short of reliability and acceptability and as such it is highly
unsafe and improper to act upon it.
The appreciation of evidence and finding is vitiated by any error of law of
procedure or found contrary to the principles of natural justice, errors of
record and misreading of the evidence, or where the conclusions of the High
Court are manifestly perverse and unsupportable from the evidence on
The appreciation of evidence and finding results in serious miscarriage of
justice or manifest illegality.
Where findings of subordinate courts are shown to be “perverse or based on
no evidence or irrelevant evidence or there are material irregularities
affecting the said findings or where the court feels that justice has
failed and the findings are likely to result in unduly excessive hardship.
When the High Court has redetermined a fact in issue in a civil appeal, and
erred in drawing interferences based on presumptions.
The judgment was not a proper judgment of reversal.
The result of the aforesaid discussion would be to allow this appeal,
giving the appellant benefit of doubt. The appellant is accordingly
acquitted of the charge. He shall be released forthwith. -2014(10) S.C. MSK Law Reports 6
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