Observing that no woman would implicate her son in a ghastly crime,the Supreme Court has upheld the life sentence awarded to a man from West Bengal for raping and murdering his neighbour’s daughter after his mother deposed against him.
A bench of justices S S Nijjar and Ranjana Prakash Desai rejected the argument of the convict that since there was no eye witnesses and the prosecution relied entirely on circumstantial evidence,his conviction was not sustainable.
“It is true that there is no eye-witness to the offence. But,what persuades us to agree with the courts below is the fact that PW-18 Sagarika,the mother of the appellant,has deposed against him.
“No mother would ever falsely involve her son in such a ghastly crime,” Justice Ranjana writing the judgement observed.
According to the prosecution,convict Kashinath Mondal had raped and murdered Pampa on the night of October 30,1997,when her parents were fast asleep in the state’s Hooghly district.
The convict had some domestic and property disputes with the family of Tarak Chandra Mondal,father of the deceased.
The Sessions Court awarded life sentence to Kashinath and the Calcutta High Court upheld the sentence upon which he appealed in the apex court.
The apex court said that since there was no other inmate present in the house except the parents of the deceased and the accused,the circumstantial and other evidence gave irresistible conclusion that it was Kashinath who committed the heinous offence.
“Evidence on record establishes that,at the relevant time,apart from PW-1 Tarak and the appellant,there were no other males in the house and pertinently on the first floor of the house where Pampa was found raped and murdered only the appellant was present.
“Once it is held that the deceased and the appellant were the only persons on the first floor of the house and there was no possibility of anyone else entering the house,the only conclusion which can be drawn is that it is the appellant who was responsible for Pampa¿s murder.
“This conclusion is irresistible and is supported by the admitted strained relationship between the appellant and the complainant’s family on account of property dispute,” the bench said.
The bench said the fact that the convict did not run away from the scene of offence cannot give him any benefit of doubt in the case.
“It is argued that the conduct of the accused shows that he is innocent. The accused did not run away from the scene of offence. We find no substance in this submission.
“In the facts of this case,if the appellant had run away,that would have,in fact,weakened his case and strengthened the prosecution case.
“The decision to remain at the spot appears to be a calculated one. In the circumstances,we are of the opinion that the prosecution has established its case beyond reasonable doubt. ”
The apex court agreed with the convict’s submission that there was some lacuna in the procedure conducted by the investigating agency as figner prints from the scene of offence were not collected and medical samples were not sent to the laboratory promptly.
However,it said that such a lacuna cannot come to the rescue of Kashinath as other evidence clearly established his role in the crime.