(By Eeshmitha rajani)
(IN SUPREME COURT OF INDIA)
|NAME OF THE CASE||GA Gajanan Dashrath Kharate VS. State of Maharashtra|
|CITATION||Criminal Appeal No.2057 of 2010|
|DATE OF THE CASE||26 February 2016|
|APPELLANT||GAGajanan Dashrath Kharate|
|RESPONDENT||State Of Maharashtra|
|BENCH/JUDGE||T.S.THAKUR (J) , R. BANUMATI (J)|
|STATUES/CONSTITUTION INVOLVED||Indian Penal Code 1860; Indian Evidence Act 1872|
|IMPORTANT SECTIONS/ARTICLES||India Penal Code 1860- Section-302 Criminal procedure code,1973 – Section-313 Indian Evidence Act –section-106|
This was a murder case in which the victim was slain by his son, the complaint was filed at police stations against him via the Prosecution Witnesses (PW-1) who lived next door to the deceased Who was also his cousin. , and while the accused had been arrested and interrogated by police, he made a statement that resulted in the recovery of crucial evidence, namely, the accused clothes were covered with blood stains, on analysis the blood groups on the clothes matched the blood type of the deceased. When the case was heard in court, based on all of the facts and seven witnesses produced by the prosecution, the court affirmed the verdict and sentenced him to life imprisonment with a certain fine. Dissatisfied, the accused filed an appeal in the high court also denied the petition, retaining the lower court’s decision. As a result, the accused approached the Supreme Court. After hearing both sides’ arguments, and reviewing the prosecution’s testimonies, and oral evidence of witnesses, the court held that according to section 106 of the Indian Evidence Act, the court said it is the accused responsibility to explain how his father sustained injuries. Since the accused refuses to speak, he is presumed to be the one at fault. The Supreme Court has provided cases that illustrate when Section 106 of the Indian Evidence Act of 1872 is applicable. Additionally, it was decided that since both lower courts had rendered appropriate judgment, the Supreme Court did not need to get involved. The accused appeal was likewise denied, and the penalty will continue.
In criminal cases the burden of proof plays a vital it was provided in Chapter VII of the Indian Evidence Act,1872 explains the burden of proof. In civil case burden of proof always lies on the petitioner and in criminal cases, the defendant/prosecution are bound to prove the facts. The Legal maxim-Res Ipsa Loquitor means ‘The thing speaks it selves was applied in the burden of proof. In a Simplified way, it means the court that- Responsibility is laid on a party to prove the facts or claims of certain issues in legal proceedings.
BURDEN OF PROOF-
Scope of the burden of proof changes as per the circumstances of the case. Various section of the Evidence Act is applicable depending on the situation of the fact. Section 101 of the Evidence Act, of 1872 explains that “Whoever desires any court to give judgment as to any legal right or liability dependent on the existence of facts which he asserts, must prove that those facts exist”.
It was said that in criminal cases prosecution would have the burden of proving the fact but in the present case interpreted that as per the evidence exhibited by the prosecution, the court said according to section 106 of the Indian Evidence Act,1872 accused has burden to prove the facts or claim, in other words, he has to explain his father’s death. Therefore not Receiving any clarification from the appellant side, the court confirmed the guilt of the convict based on the evidence and dismissed the appeal, and ordered him to continue the sentence imposed on him by the below court.
ISSUES OF THE CASE-
– Whether responsibility to prove the claim also relies on the appellant or not?
– What are the circumstances for implementing section-106 of the Indian Evidence Act?
FACTS OF THE CASE-
The foundation of the current appeal rest upon the emerging facts of the case- Nagoarao Kharate PW-1(Prosecution witness) who was a resident of dapura village, lives beside the house of the named Dashrath(deceased), and his son- Gajanan Kharate (accused-appellant). Nagoarao Kharate was also the cousin brother of the victim. On 08.04.2002 evening at 5:00 Nagoarao Kharate who was acquainted with the Dashrath filed an FIR in boregoan manju police station that on 7-04-2002 around 8:30 P.M., he overheard an argument between appellant-accused Gajanan Kharate and his father Dashrath, till up to 10’o clock in the night he listened to the cry of Dashrath. He didn’t intervene in the middle of the fight because such fights were recurrent in their house. But on 8.04.2002 morning, Madhukar Kharate (PW-4) informed Nagoarao Kharate (PW-1) that Dashrath was died and was blood-soaked on the floor of his house. He immediately rushed to check on him, Nagoarao found him on the ground lifeless. He was lying down on the floor, covered with a pool of blood, and beside him, there was a stone splotched in blood. Then he immediately rushed to boregoan manju, police station to give a complaint for an offence under section 302 of IPC. The accused of the case the victim’s son Gajanan was arrested on 9.04.2002. Hanuman Rathod (PW-7) who was investigating the case and in charge of the police station took the statements of witnesses. The autopsy was done by Dr. Prashant Agrawal, he had stated in the report that the person had passed away due to the severe injuries on his head and his crucial organs.
While the accused was under police custody he made a confession statement which lead to getting the clothes of the accused which has blood stains. While they were sent for chemical analysis it was confirmed that the clothes have ‘B’ group blood, which was identical to the victim’s blood group. This turned out to be crucial evidence. After the investigation was done a charge sheet was filed against Gajanan the accused-appellant for the offence under section 302 of IPC, 1860 in the session’s court. The prosecution had meticulously examined seven witnesses of this particular case and several circumstantial evidence were preceded before the court to prove the conviction of the appellant.
According to section 313 of Cr.p.c, 1973, the accused was questioned regarding the produced circumstance and evidence about the murder of his father. But he denied all the allegations and said that false evidence was produced to set him up. Relied upon the oral evidence and circumstances, besides the accused reluctance to explain the death of his father, the session court sentenced the appellant-accused to life imprisonment and a fine up to Rs 1000 under section 302 of I.P.C. The accused being indignant, placed an appeal before the high court of Mumbai, but the court denied the appeal confirming the crime done by the accused-appellant and again imposed life imprisonment. The accused has now filed an appeal with the Supreme Court.
Taking into account the appellant’s and prosecution’s contentions, as well as the oral statements of the witnesses plus several evidences produced by the prosecution to prove the crime of the accused, the apex court stated that according to section 106 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872 burden of proof is not always dependent on the prosecution but also on the member residing in the house.
ARGUMENTS OF APPELLANT-
- The learned counsel of the appellant- Mr. Praveen Chaturvedi argued on a point that the court had not noticed, Nagoarao Kharate (pw-1) and his wife (pw-2) were not the direct eyewitnesses of the incident because on 08.04.2002 morning, Nagorarao -PW-1 came to know about the death of the deceased by PW-4 madhukar Kharate who said ‘deceased was lying on the floor died, in a pool of blood’.
- The appellant’s counsel brought a predominant issue about the delay in reporting the FIR at the police station, the delay in filing of FIR given raised suspensions on the prosecution. He stated that the prosecution didn’t give any response on this point.
ARGUMENTS OF RESPONDENT-
- The learned counsel of respondent- Mr. Kunal Cheema representing the state, contented that the below courts have correctly viewed PW-1 and PW-2 as the eyewitnesses of this conviction, as both witnesses’ testimonies of the conviction were relevant to each other.
- The Prosecution witness-1 (PW-1) said the accused was habituated to drinking and gambling. Used to demand money from his parent so thinking this dispute was common and also with fear didn’t interfere in the quarrel.
- He continued to say that, according to the prosecution’s evidence, the appellant-accused was in the house on 7.04.2002 night. When questioned about how the deceased incurred injuries, the prosecution received nothing but silence from the appellant. Along with that prosecution, clearly with evidence of PW-1 elucidated the delay in lodging the complaint at the police station.
- India Penal Code 1860–
Section-302: Punishment for murder.—whoever commits murder shall be punished with death, or 1[imprisonment for life], and shall also be liable to fine.
- Criminal Procedure Code, 1973-
Section-313: Power to examine the accused–
- In every inquiry or trial for the purpose of enabling the accused personally to explain any circumstances appearing in the evidence against him, the court-
- may at any stage, without previously warning the accused, put such questions to him as the Court considers necessary;
- shall, after the witnesses for the prosecution have been examined and before he is called on for his defence, question him generally on the case: Provided that in a summons- case, where the Court has dispensed with the personal attendance of the accused, it may also dispense with his examination under clause (b).
- No oath shall be administered to the accused when he is examined under sub-section(1)
- The accused shall not render himself liable to punishment by refusing to answer such questions, or by giving false answers to them.
- The answers given by the accused may be taken into consideration in such inquiry or trial, and put in evidence for or against him in any other inquiry into, or trial for, any other offence which such answers may tend to show he has committed.
- Indian Evidence Act, 1872:
Section 106: Burden of proving fact especially within knowledge- When any fact is especially within the knowledge of person, the burden of proving that fact is upon him.
The judges on the bench have thoroughly examined the facts presented in the case and have concluded that “As stated in the prosecution’s evidence, Dashrath (deceased), his wife Manakarnabai, and his son (the appellant-accused) were living together. Nagoarao Kharate (PW-1) lived adjacent to their house and was also the deceased’s cousin. On 7.02.2002, Dashrath’s wife went to another village, Dahigaon. The prosecution has successfully proven that the accused was at home with his father on that night. In cases like a murder committed privately within a house, the prosecution bears the primary burden of proof. But besides that According to Section 106 of the Indian Evidence Act, the court said in that cases the occupants of the house are required to provide a plausible explanation regarding how the crime was committed. Remaining silent or offering no response is not an excuse, as the burden lies on the accused to explain. Since the accused-appellant did not provide any clarification regarding his father’s death, it was considered strong evidence that he had committed the murder. This principle was explained in the case of Trimukh Maroti Kirkan v. State of Maharashtra, “where it was noted that if the accused fails to offer an explanation for their spouse’s injuries or provides a false explanation, it becomes a strong indication of their guilt”. Similarly, in the case of Nika Ram v. State of H.P., it was observed that “the accused was alone with his wife in his house when she was murdered with a “khukuri.” The strained relationship between the accused and his wife, coupled with the absence of any plausible explanation, pointed to his guilt.” In Ganeshlal v. State of Maharashtra, the Supreme Court held that “according to Section 313 of the Criminal Procedure Code (Cr. P.C), 1973, the appellant must provide a reasonable explanation for denying the prosecution’s case. The absence of an explanation was deemed inconsistent with the accused innocence but consistent with the hypothesis that the appellant is the prime accused in the murder of his wife.” After examining relevant cases, including oral evidence and the circumstances surrounding the recovery of blood-stained clothes belonging to the accused, and considering the accused refused to provide any justification, the court, in agreement with the trial court and high court’s concurrent findings, appropriately punished the appellant-accused for the offense under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), 1860. The court sees no reason to disagree with the impugned judgment.”
The application of Section 106 of the Indian Evidence Act, which was considered an exception to both Section 101 and the general rule of burden of proof. This section applies when knowledge about a specific fact is solely possessed by a particular individual. It is important to note that if there is even a slight possibility of someone else having knowledge of the claim, this section will not be invoked. In the present case, the prosecution has established that the accused was the inside the house with his father on 7th night . Therefore, he had an absolute obligation to prove his claim regarding the cause of his father’s death.
In my conclusion I would say that, the apex court correctly applied Section 106 in this case, which became a crucial factor leading to the conviction of the appellant. In the recent case of Sabitri Samantaray vs. State of Odisha, the Supreme Court provided a comprehensive explanation of Section 106 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872, stating that it applies when the prosecution establishes a chain of events connecting the accused. This section ensures that the accused cannot remain silent when they have a duty to prove their claim.
 5th Semester Student at Andhra University, Andhra Pradesh
 See The Indian Evidence Act, 1872, Section 101.
 See The Indian Penal Code,section 302, .
 See in The Code Of Criminal Procedure, 1973,Section 313 .
 See The Indian Evidence Act, 1872,section 106.
 Trimukh Maroti Kirkan vs State Of Maharashtra(2006) 10 SCC 681 .
 Nika Ram vs The State Of Himachal Pradesh (1972) 2 SCC 80.
 Ganeshlal vs State Of Maharashtra(1992) 3 SCC 106 .
 Sabitri Samantaray vs The State Of Odisha (2017) Crl App No.988 of 2017.