24 October 1996
Supreme Court


Case number: Crl.A. No.-000343-000343 / 1991
Diary number: 79908 / 1991






DATE OF JUDGMENT:       24/10/1996




JUDGMENT:                       J U D G M E N T G.N. RAY. J.      In this  appeal the order of acquittal in favour of the accused Kuntala  Mishra, by  the judgment  dated October  1, 1996 passed  by the  High Court of Orissa in Criminal Appeal No. 276  of 1984,  setting aside  the conviction of the said accused under  Section 302  I.P.C.  by  the  judgment  dated December 17,  1984 passed  by the  learned  Sessions  Judge, Sambalour in Sessions Trial No. 46 of 1984 and consequential sentence of  life imprisonment  imposed on  the  accused  is under challenge.      The prosecution  case in  short is  that  the  deceased Geeta was the daughter-in-law of the accused Kuntala Mishra. The accused  was a  midwife (Dhai) in the Maternity Hospital at Sambalour.  When negotiation  of marriage of the deceased with Subhas,  son of  the accused, had taken place, a sum of Rs. 8000/-  was demanded  as dowry  by the  accused and  her brother Satyaprasad.  Though the father and brother of Geeta initially did not agree to pay the said sum because of their financial hardship,  they however,  agreed to  pay the  said amount on  the date  of marriage  i.e. on  May 24, 1981. The parents, however,  could not pay the said sum at the time of marriage and  the party  accompanying  the  bridegroom  i.e. husband of  Geeta on  protest did  not  participate  in  the dinner hosted  on the occasion of marriage and they returned unhappy. For  such non  payment of the said dowry, Geeta was harassed by  the accused  and her  son  and  was  physically assaulted. The  accused did  not allow  Geeta to come to her parents place  despite repeated  requests by  the parents to send their daughter. The father of Geeta ultimately borrowed a sum  of Rs.  6,000/- and came to Sambalour where Geeta was living in  the quarter  allotted to the accused close to the Maternity Hospital  with her  husband and  the mother-in-law and paid  the sum  of Rs.  6,000/- to  the  accused  in  the presence of  the husband  of the deceased Geeta. The accused had accepted such part payment with reluctance but even then she did  not accede to the request of the father of Geeta to send her  daughter with  him and  the father  had to go back alone.      During the  temporary absence of Subhas, the accused on



January 11,  1983 took Geeta to the Maternity Hospital for D and C  operation as  Geeta was  not having conception. After the operation,  Geeta was  brought to  the  quarter  of  the accused at  about 11.30  A.M. on  the said  day, it  is  the prosecution that  while the  deceased was  still  in  drowsy condition because  of hid  sedation, she was strangulated to death by  the accused  with the  help of  the string  of the petticoat of  the deceased.  The accused,  however,  pleaded innocence and  in her  statement under  Section 313 Criminal Procedure Code.  She state  that Geeta had committed suicide with the  string of  her petticoat (say). It may stated here that the  accused herself lodged a diary at 3.30 p.m. on the date of occurrence in the Sambalour Town Police Station that after the said D and C operation, both Geeta and the accused had been  taking rest in the quarter of the accused and when the accused  woke up  from a sleep at 2.30 p.m., she noticed that Geeta  had committed suicide by self strangulation with the aid of the string of her petticoat.      The Officer-in-charge  of Sambalpur Town Police Station registered a  case and  directed police  Sub-Inspector (p.w. 12) to enquire into the said incident of death. Later on PW. 13  Circle   Inspector  of   Police  took   charge  of   the investigation and  finding that  it was a case of murder, an F.I.R. under  Section 302  I.P.C. was  drawn up  (Ext.  27). After  completing   the  investigation,   charge  sheet  was submitted and  the accused faced trial for the offence under Section 302 I.P.C. in the said Sessions Trial No. 46 of 1984 before the learned Sessions Judge, Sambalpur.      The  Sub-inspector   of  Police   who  first  conducted investigation came  to the  place of occurrence at 3.55 p.m. and prepared  a site  plan (Ext.9)  and seized the string of petticoat (M.O.I.)  and a  silver necklace (M.O.11) lying on the floor  near a  leg of  the cot  below the  head  of  the deceased. The  bed head ticket (Ext. 15) and the temperature chart  (Ext.10)   of  the  deceased  were  seized  from  the hospital. The  medical prescriptions  Ext. 10  to 10/5,  the pathological reports  (Ext. 11  to 11/4)  and other  medical reports of  the deceased  (Ext. 12  to 14) were also seized. P.W.11 the  Demonstrator in Forensic Medicine and Toxicology of the  Medical College  Burla, held post mortem examination on the  dead body  of Geeta on January 12, 1983 at 1.35 P.M. in the  said  report  of  the  said  doctor,  five  external injuries as  indicated were  found  on  the  person  of  the deceased which  were ante mortem and the third ligature mark indicated in  the report  could be  caused by encircling the neck by  means of  the string  of  a  petticoat  (M.O.I)  by pulling the  ends. The doctor also opined that injuries Nos. IV and V could be caused by finger nails and first blows. On dissection of  the neck  below the ligature mark, the doctor found the  skin contused.  The doctor  opined that death was due to cerebral anoxia as a result of strangulation of neck. The doctor  categorically opined  that the death was not due to hanging.      It may be stated here that on alarm being raised by the accused at about 2.30 p.m. two lady doctors of the Maternity Hospital (PW.6 and 7) reached the place of occurrence in the quarter of  the accused., P.W. 7 was first to reach. She has stated that while she was working in the hospital, she heard some noise  coming from  the quarter.  She then  rushed  and found coming  from the  quarter. She  then rushed  and found Geeta lying on the cot in the bed room dead. She has deposed that she  had noticed  some marks  on the  front side of the neck of  Geeta. The  other doctor  PW.6  who  also  came  on hearing noise,  found Geeta  lying dead  on the  cot and her body was  covered from  neck to toe by a sheet. She had also



noticed tow marks of bruise on the front side of the neck of Geeta and  P.W.6 has  deposed that  when the  said sheet was removed, it  was found  that  Geeta  was  wearing  petticoat (saya),  blouse   and  saree   which  were  intact  and  not disorganised.      P.W.4 the charmacist of the hospital has deposed to the effect that  he had  given 50  mg. phenargan  intra muscular injection to  Geeta at  about 8.00  to  8.30  A.M.  for  the purpose of  D and  C operation  and, after  such  operation, Geeta was  discharged from the hospital at 11.30 A.M. on the same day.  The lady  doctor (PW.7) has also deposed that the accused wanted  to take  Geeta after  the operation  to  the quarter but  she was  advised to take Geeta after some time. The doctor  (PW.12) has  deposed that  the effect  of 50 mg. phenargan intra  muscular injection which was given to Geeta would keep  a patient  drowsy for  6 to  7  hours  and  such patient could   be  overpowered very easily. PW, 11 has also deposed that  a patient  under the  influence  of  phenargan could not  commit suicide by self strangulation, he has also deposed that  D and  C operation is  conducted at a point of time when  the patient  completely looses her senses. It has come out  in  the  evidence  that  the  operation  had  been performed at 1.30. A.M. on the deceased. The lady doctor PW7 has   also deposed   that the accused had taken Geeta to her quarter at  about 11.30 A.M. and after five minutes she came to the  hospital and took some medicine and went away. There is, however, no evidence as  to what medicine was taken away by the  accused. It may also be indicated here that both the lady doctors  PWs. 6  and 7  have deposed  that  when  after hearing the  noise they  came to  the room in the quarter of the accused  where the  deceased was found lying dead on the cot, both  of them  had noticed that the door at the back of the room was found closed from inside.      It was,  however, contended  before the learned Session Judge on  behalf of the accused that as the blood vessels of the artery of the trachea and larynx and the trachea was not found   affected   by   the   doctor   holding   post-mortem examination, it  could not  be held  with any certainty that suicide by  self strangulation  had not been committed. Such contention was  made by  referring to  some observations  in Modi’s Medical  Jurisprudence and  Toxicology. It  was  also urged that  the conduct of the accused only suggested of her innocence and  not suffering  from any  guilty complex.  The accused did  not make  any attempt to suppress the unnatural death. On the contrary, immediately on noticing the daughter -in-law lying  strangulated,  she  raised  alarm  and    the doctors came  to her  quarter and examined the deceased. She also  rushed   to  the  police  station  and  gave  a  diary containing  the   information  of   suicidal  death  of  her daughter-in-law at 3.30 P.M.      The learned Sessions Judge, however, held that although it was  a case of circumstantial evidence, the circumstances clearly proved by convincing evidence, established the guilt of the  accused in  committing the  murder of  the  deceased Geeta by  strangulating her.  The learned Sessions Judge has indicated that  the deceased was harassed on account of non- payment of  dowry as  demanded and  she was  not allowed  to visit her  parents house for non payment of dowry amount for which she  had written  a number  of letters  to her parents disclosing such facts. On the date of incident, the deceased had undergone  D and  C operation  at about  10.30 A.M.  for which 50  mg. Phenargan  intra muscular injection was given. The effect of such amount of phenargan in the intra-muscular injection was  to last  for 5  to 6  hours and  according to doctor’s  deposition,  a  patient  on  being    given  intra



muscular injection of 50 mg. of phenargan, would not be in a position to  commit suicide by self strangulation even after 3-6  hours   by  applying  sufficient  force  necessary  for committing suicide.  There was  no one  present in  the room excepting the  accused   when Geeta met her death and if the case of self strangulation was ruled out, it was the accused and on  one else  who could  strangulate the  deceased.  The Sessions Judge also pointed out that it came out in evidence that immediately  after the operation, the accused wanted to take   the   deceased to her quarter, but on doctor’s advice not take  her immediately  from the  hospital, she had taken the deceased  to her  quarter at  11.30 A.M.  When the  lady doctors PWs.  6 and 7 on hearing alarm raised by the accused went other quarter, they had noticed  the deceased  lying on a cot  inside the   room with a sheet covering her body. One of   the lady doctor deposed that on removing the sheet, she found the  deceased  wearing  petticoat,  saree  and  blouse without being disarrayed and disorganised.      The  learned  Sessions  Judge  also  pointed  out  that according to  Modi’s Medical  Jurisprudence and  Toxicology, suicide by  self strangulation  is very  rare and  without a contrivance, with  which  sufficient  pressure  required  to bring  about   death  can  be  generated,  suicide  by  self strangulation,  can   not   be   performed   because   after application of  some force,  there  would  be  insensitivity thereby loosening  the grip on the neck. As in this case, no contrivance with  which such  self strangulation  could have been committed  was found,  the  case  of  suicide  by  self strangulation was  ruled  out.  Accordingly,  the  homicidal death of  the deceased  by strangulation  by the accused was the only  possibility in  the facts of the case. The learned Sessions Judge,  therefore, convicted  the accused  for  the offence of  murder and  sentenced her  to  imprisonment  for life.      The Criminal  Appeal No.  276 of  1984 was preferred by the accused  against her  conviction and sentence before the High Court. By the impugned judgment, the High Court has set aside the  conviction    and  sentence  passed  against  the accused by  the learned  Sessions Judge and acquitted her by giving benefit of doubt. In setting aside the conviction and sentence of  the accused,  the High  Court has indicated the following aspects of the case :- (a) PW.11  holding post  mortem examination  of the deceased did not  notice the  larynx and  trachea affected as well as injury in  the neck  muscle. He also did not find hyoid bone fractured but  found congestion  in the  deed  structure  of throat. If  suicide by  self strangulation  with the help of some contrivance  is committed,  then according   to  Modi’s Medical  Jurisprudence  and  Toxicology,  injuries  on  deep structure of the neck muscles are, as a rule absent. (b) The deceased was administered operation intra muscular injection at about  8.00 to 8.30 A.M. According to PW.6 the doctor who conducted  D  and  C  operation,  the  effect  or  phenargon injection remains  for 3  to 4 hours. Other doctor PW.11 who held post  mortem examination  also stated  that with 50 mg. phenargan injection,  the effect  of such injection would be maximum after  three hours  and would vanish after six hours and the patient would remain drowsy for 4 to 6 hours . (c)  From the  evidence PW.11  the approximate time of death of Geeta was 1.30. to 2.00 P.M. on January 11. 1983. (d)  There is  no convincing  evidence that the deceased was oppressed or  tortured  in  her  in-law’s  house.  From  the letters written   by  the deceased,  since exhibited  in the case, though it was revealed that Geeta remained unhappy for not paying dowry amount but the letters did not disclose any



extraordinary ill  feeling between  Geeta and her mother-in- law. (e)  The conduct  of  the  accused  vis-a-vis  the  deceased showed her  anxiety for  the well  being of the deceased. It was   revealed from  the evidence  both oral and documentary that the  accused was getting the deceased regularly treated for gynecological problems. (f)  The fact  that the  accused was alone with the deceased at the  time of  her death has not been convincingly proved. Although the  doctor (PW.7)  who came  to the quarter of the accused after  hearing noise  from the  quarter has  deposed that the  door of the room having entry in the back side was closed from  inside, such  fact was  not stated 161 Criminal Procedure Code.  The other  doctor (PW.6) reached after PW.7 and she  also did not state to the police that the said door was closed  from inside.  The investigating officer also did not enquire  from the  doctors as  to whether  the door  was closed from  inside, possibility  of entry by a third person through such  back door cannot be ruled out. Hence, there in no conclusive proof that the accused was alone with the deceased in the house. (g)  The theory  of last  seen together  is not of universal application and  may not  always of  sufficient to sustain a conviction unless  supported by  other links in the chain of circumstances. (h)  The conduct  of  the  accused  as  being  restless  and perplexed at  the time  of the  incident was  quite  natural because it  is not  unusual to  be restless and perplexed if the daughter-in-law suddenly dies. (i)  It was  not a  fact that  the deceased was covered by a sheet from  head to  toe by the accused. PW.7 the doctor who first saw  the deceased did not say that the deceased was so covered from  head to  toe. P.W.6  is even more specific and said the deceased was covered by a sheet from neck to toe. (j)  There was  nothing unusual  or improper for the accused to take  the deceased  to her quarter at 11.30 a.m. when the operation which  was a  minor operation and was completed at 10.30 A.M.  After waiting  upto 11.30 a.m., the deceased was taken to  the quarter  which was  only 20  to 30 cubits away from the hospital. (k)  There was  nothing improper in reporting by the accused to the  police  that  the  deceased  had  committed  suicide because she  entertained the  belief that  the deceased  had committed suicide  and P.W.s6  and 7  did not contradict the accused that the deceased had not committed suicide.      The High  Court having  held that from the facts and to hold that  the accused  had  committed  the  murder  of  the deceased. Hence,  she was acquitted by giving her benefit of doubt.      At  the  hearing  of  the  appeal,  Mr.  Ranjit  Kumar, appearing  for   the  accused-respondent,   has   forcefully contended that  conviction on  the basis,  of circumstantial evidence cannot  be based  unless the  circumstances clearly proved and  established by  reliable and convincing evidence adduced in  the case,  make a  complete chain of events from which no  other inference,  except the  inference about  the complicity of  the accused  in committing  the  offence,  is possible.      Mr. Kumar  has  submitted  that  it  has  been  clearly established from  the materials  on record that love between the accused  and her  daughter-in-law ,  namely the deceased was not  lost. On  the contrary, the accused was taking care to get  her daughter-in-law regularly checked up and treated for gynecological  problems. There  was some  bitterness for non payment  of agreed  amount of  dowry but  for  such  non



payment, the deceased was not harassed or tortured. The High Court after  considering the letters written by the deceased to her  parents has  held that  despite unhappiness  of  the accused for  not paying the agreed amount of dowry, there is nothing in  the letters  to suggest  that the  deceased  was tortured or  assaulted or  not allowed  to  go  her  parents house.      Mr. Kumar  has submitted that the motive of the accused for murdering the deceased has not been established in  this case. In a case of direct evidence, absence of motive on the face of  clinching evidences  against the  accused, may lose its importance  but in  a case of circumstantial evidence it has great importance. Even if it is assumed that the accused was not  satisfied on receipt of the substantial part of the dowry amount and had insisted for further payment, it cannot be safely  presumed that she had been harbouring ill feeling to such  an extent  which had  impelled her  to  murder  the daughter-in-law.      Mr. Kumar  has also  submitted that  the intra muscular injection of  50 mg.  phenargan was given to the deceased at 8.00 to  8.30 A.M.  According to  the  doctor  holding  post mortem, the  approximate time  of death  was 1.30  p.m.  The accused has  state that  at 2.30  p.m. when  she got up from sleep she  had noticed  her daughter-in-law lying dead. From the evidences adduced, it is quite evident that about 5 to 5 1/2 hours  elapsed between the time when injection was given to the  deceased and  time of  her death. The effect of such phenargan injection completely vanishes within 5 to 6 hours. Hence, there is no difficulty in holding that at the time of committing suicide, the deceased was free from the effect of phenargan injection and was physically capable of committing suicide by self strangulation.      Mr. Kumar  has submitted  that even  though suicide  by self strangulation  is uncommon, there are instances of such suicide, Mr.  Kumar has  further submitted  that  PW.11  the doctor holding  post-mortem examination  has deposed that he had noticed  injuries on  the deep  structure  of  the  neck muscles.  Such   injury,   according   to   Modi’s   Medical Jurisprudence and  Toxicology, will  be absent  as a rule in the case  of suicide  by  self  strangulation.  The  opinion contained in  Modi’s Medical Jurisprudence and Toxicology is always regarded  as of  high authoritative  value. At least, such presence  of injuries  on deep structure of neck muscle raises reasonable  doubt as  to whether  death  was  due  to homicidal  strangulation  by  someone  or  suicide  by  self strangulation and  the benefit  of doubt  should go  to  the accused. The  High Court  has, therefore, rightly given such benefit of doubt in favour of the accused.      Mr. Kumar  has contended that unless the possibility of suicide by  self strangulation  is ruled out and possibility of someone entering the house through the back door is ruled out, the  accused cannot  be held account of suicide by self strangulation out  is was a case of murder by strangulation. Mr. Kumar  has contended  that whether  the  back  door  was closed from  inside or not ought to have investigated by the police. Such important fact about the actual position of the back door  could not  have been   missed to be stated by the doctors, P.W.s  6 and 7, to the police. At least, the police should have  put questions  to ascertain the position of the back door  to the  said  witnesses  at  the  time  of  their examination  under  Section  161  Criminal  Procedure  Code. Absence of  such investigation  by the  police, coupled with the fact  that no  such statement  about the position of the back door  was made  by P.W.6  and 7  to the  police, raises serious doubt as to the actual position of the back door. It



is not  unlikely that the doctors failed to notice such fact and it  a later  date when they deposed in the case, a wrong statement was made by the doctors because of lapse of memory with   the passage  of time.  Precisely for such reason, the High Court  has entertained  doubt about the actual position of the back door at the time of commission of the offence.      Mr. Kumar  has  submitted  that  the  accused  had  not suppressed the  factum of  death even  for some time and  to attempt to  conceal proof  of the incident of murder. On the contrary, being  impelled by the normal reaction of a loving mother-in-law, she raised alarm immediately, on noticing her daughter-in-law, she  raised alarm  immediately, on noticing her  daughter-in-law,   she  raised  alarm  immediately,  on noticing her  daughter-in-law dead,  and the  doctors in the Hospital rushed  to her quarter and had occasions to examine the deceased.  The accused  also  promptly  brought  to  the notice of  the Sambalpur Town Police about the said death of her daughter-in-law  had committed  suicide, such  fact  was fairly stated  to the  police. Such conduct of the appellant has been  even raise  any suspicion about the guilty complex of the  accused. Mr.  Kumar has submitted that by indicating very cogent  reasons by  analyzing the evidences of the case the High  Court has  acquitted the  accused. Such  order  of acquittal, therefore,  should not be interfered with by this Court.      We are,  however, unable  to accept  the submissions of Mr. Kumar.  We are  also unable  to agree  that the impugned order of  acquittal passed  by the  High Court was justified in   the facts  of the  case. The  letters  written  by  the deceased, since  exhibited at  the  time  of  trial  of  the Sessions case, clearly reveal that the deceased had suffered sufficient mental  trauma for non payment of dowry amount of Rs. 8,000/-.  In her  letter (Ext.17) written to the father, the deceased  clearly indicated  that for non payment of the said demand  for a  sum  of  rs.  8,000/-  at  the  time  of marriage, she  had to face many things in her in-law’s place and she  would be  happy if  the amount was sent quickly. In another letter  dated 28.11.1982  written by the deceased to her brother  Buda, she expressed that nobody was knowing her misery and she did not know what to do. She only knew now to suffer by  getting pain  in her  hands and  legs. In  letter dated 5.9.1982  (Ext.17/4) written  by the  deceased to  her mother, she  stated that  she was  trying to  go to home but that was  not welcome  and effective.  The mother  must have already heard  about the  mother-in-law how  angry  she  was then. Her  husband had  advised her  to wait  two  to  three months for  going to  her parents  house. The  elder brother when came  to her, assured that the rest of amount would  be paid within 2 to 3 months,  but she was not aware as to what had happened  to such  payment. The  mother was requested to tell the  father about  such payment, otherwise she would be treated badly.  In another letter written shortly before the death, on  26.12.1982 to  her sister-in-law (Ext. 17/6), the deceased wrote  that nobody  should blame  anybody about the marriage affairs. What had been written in her face that had happened. She  had to hear so many irony (presumably meaning words of  taunts) in  her in-law’s  place. The sister-in-law would have  known all  these from mother, second brother and sister. She  also   wrote that sister-in-law would not worry for the deceased but one ought  to try how the problem could be solved.  Such letters, in our view, clearly indicate that the deceased  had suffered  humiliations in    the  in-law’s house for  non-payment of dowry amount and it was made clear that unless the mother-in-law would be treated badly.      From the  evidence it has been clearly established that



on the  date of  death, the  deceased had  undergone D and C operation in  the Maternity  Hospital at 10.30 A.M. For such purpose between  8.00 to  8.30 A.M.  she was  given  50  mg. phenargan injection  (intra muscular). The C and D operation was performed  at about  10.30  A.M.  Although  the  accused intended to  take away  the deceased  after the operation to her quarter,  she was  advised not  to take her immediately. Within an  hour after  the operation,  the accused had taken the deceased  to her quarter. There is evidence that shortly after taking  the deceased  to her quarter. The accused came to hospital  and took  some medicine but there is nothing on record to  indicate what  medicine had  been  taken  by  the accused. The  trial court  has indicated  that  it  was  not unlikely that  some sedatives had been taken by the accused. Be that  as it may, it has been clearly proved that at about 2.30 p.m.  the accused  raised alarm  from her  quarter.  On hearing such  alarm, the  lady doctor of the hospital (PW.7) had been  to the  quarter of   the  accused  and  found  the deceased lying on a cot in the room with sheet placed on her body. She  examined  the  deceased  and  found    her  dead. Thereafter,   P.W.6 another  doctor also came and found that the deceased  were wearing  a blouse,  saree  and  petticoat without the string. None  of the doctors noticed the wearing apparel of  the deceased  disarranged or  disorganised. Both the said doctors categorically deposed that the back door of the room  was closed  from inside.  The High  Court, in  our view, has,  without  any  basis,  entertained  doubt  as  to whether at  the time of death, the said back door was closed from inside  or not simply because the investigating officer did not  cause enquiry  about the  position of the back door and the  doctors (PWs.6  and 7)  had  not  stated  in  their statements to  the police  under Section  161 Crl. Procedure Code that  the door  was closed from inside. The omission to make statement  to   the police  about the  position  of the back door,  when no  enquiry about  the same was made to the doctors, is  quite natural. Both the doctors are respectable and disinterested  witnesses. There  is nothing on record to indicate that  the back  door was  closed from  inside. Such evidence, in  our view,   should not have been  discarded by the High Court on an unacceptable reasoning.      It has been clearly established that if the quarter was closed from  inside, there  was no possibility of any person entering the  quarter. It  was  only  the  accused  who  was staying in  the quarter  with the deceased who had undergone an operation  shortly before  her death,  because admittedly the husband was out of station for a few days. Even if it is assumed that  the effect  of phenargan injection had gone by 1.00 to  1.30 p.m.,  which according    to  the  opinion  of P.W.11, the  doctor holding post mortem examination, was the possible time  of death,  it can be reasonably held that the deceased by  that time  was likely  to be down and not quite normal in  view of  the fact  that she  had been  under deed sedation and  had also  underwent an  operation even if such operation was a minor one.      In our  view, the  case of  committing suicide  by self strangulation by  the deceased  must be  ruled out.  Both in Modi’s Medical  Jurisprudence and Toxicology and in Taylor’s Principles and  Practice of Medical Jurisprudence,  to which our attention  was drawn  by Mr.  Ranjit Kumar,  it has been clearly indicated that suicide by self strangulation is very rare. For  committing suicide  by  self  strangulation,  the person committing  suicide must take aid of a contrivance so as to  ensure application of sufficient force until death by strangulation. Without  such contrivance,  sufficient  force cannot be  applied because initially with the application of



force,  insensitivity  will  develop  for  which  the  hands pulling the  ends of  the string  must get  loosened. In the instant case,  no contrivance  was noticed  either by PWs. 6 and 7  who had  come to  examine the deceased by hearing the alarm. The  accused has also not seen any contrivance at the place of  incident and  in her  statement under  Section 313 Criminal Procedure  Code,   she has  not disclosed any fact, which was within her special knowledge, in support of a case of suicide by self strangulation.      It has  been deposed  by the lady doctors (PWs.6 and 7) that the  deceased was  lying on a cot with a sheet covering her. PW.6  has   categorically stated  that  the  sheet  was covering the  body of  the deceased  from head  to  toe.  On removing the  sheet, she  had noticed  that the deceased was wearing saree,  blouse and  petticoat and she did not notice that such wearing apparel was disarrayed or disorganised. It is not  the case  of the  accused  that  after  finding  her daughter-in-law dead,  she had  organised the  dress of  the deceased and  then covered  the dead body with a sheet. If a person had  committed suicide,  she would not be found lying properly dressed  in a normal composure. There would be some movement of the body with consequential change in the matter of placement of various limbs of the body on the bed.      In the  instant case,  it has  been clearly established that the  death occurred on account of strangulation. Simply because the  doctor (P.W.11)  noticed injuries  on the  deep muscle of  the neck  of the  deceased at the time of holding post mortem, it cannot be held that such injuries noticed by the doctor  had convincingly  established that it was a case of death  by self  strangulation, according  to the  learned author,  is  a  rare  incident.  Such  view  has  also  been expressed in  Taylor’s Principle  and  Practice  of  Medical Jurisprudence. It  is not  unlikely that  for want  of large number of  cases of  suicide by  strangulation to be studied carefully, various  features associated  with  such  suicide could not  be indicated more precisely. That apart, opinions of expert,  which  though  deserve  due  consideration  with respect, cannot  be held absolutely conclusive particularly, when other  evidences  clearly  established  give  a  contra indication.      It may  also a  indicated here that both in Modi’s book on  medical  jurisprudence  and  Taylor’s  book  on  medical jurisprudence, it  has been  categorically stated  that  for committing suicide  by self  strangulation,  the  aid  of  a contrivance to maintain force till death is got to be taken, otherwise,  it   is  not  possible  to  maintain  the  force required. The  absence of such contrivance clearly rules out any possibility  of suicide  by self  strangulation. In  the aforesaid fact,  excepting the  accused no  other person had any opportunity  whatsoever  to  cause  the  murder  of  the deceased. The  circumstantial evidence  in   this  case  are absolutely clinching  in establishing  the complicity of the accused in  committing the  murder of the deceased. The view taken by the High Court is clearly against the weight of the evidence and  cannot be  held to  be a  possible view  which could have been taken.      We, therefore,  find no hesitation in setting aside the impugned order  of acquittal  passed by  the High  Court and upholding the  conviction and  sentence passed  against  the accused by  the learned  Sessions Judge, Sambalpur. The bail bonds of  the accused  would stand   cancelled. She would be taken to  custody forthwith  to serve  out the  sentence  of imprisonment for life. The appeal is accordingly allowed.      Before we part, we place on record our appreciation for



the valuable  assistance given  to the  Court by  Mr. Ranjit Kumar,  the   learned  counsel  for  the  accused-respondent appointed as  amicus curatie.  He fairly  place all relevant facts  and   depositions  adduced   in  the   case  for  our consideration.