Shimla: Turning down a plea about insanity that had led to acquittal of a murder accused before a trial court, the Himachal Pradesh High Court today handed out a rigorous life term sentence after holding the accused guilty of the heinous crime.
Session court Shimla in its May 29, 2004 judgment had acquitted accused Rajinder Singh for the murder of Madan Singh, whose naked body with its head and face smashed by a stone was found before a shop in Deed village of Theog division on May 7, 2003.
The shop owner Balak Ram, a key prosecution witness, had led evidence to show that Rajinder Singh and Madan had entered into a drunken brawl and he had telephoned the victims family from his residential phone to inform them about the fight.
On coming back to the shop where the duo had been left fighting, the naked body of Madan, in a pool of blood, was discovered.
The accused was caught hiding at a distance from his residence, the following day. On being medically examined and on finding body injuries on him, Madan was charged with murder.
However, the “trial court acquitted the accused, mainly on the grounds, that there was no eye witness and this was a case of circumstantial evidence, the circumstances had not been proved and linked in such a fashion that it would lead to the irresistible conclusion that it was the accused alone who had committed the murder.”
Before handing out a life term sentence to the accused, the High Court division bench of Justice Deepak Gupta and Justice Rajiv Sharma observed that though the main defence of the accused was insanity but there was no evidence to prove the fact that he was insane and was entitled to benefit under section 84 of Indian Penal Code.
The accused was married, had children, worked with other family member and lived at home. Only on one occasion was the accused treated by a doctor who had not made a clear cut diagnosis that the patient was suffering from paranoid schizophrenia.
In view of the above circumstances we are of the considered opinion that the learned trial Court gravely erred in holding that the accused was entitled to the benefit of Section 84 of IPC, the judges observed before convicting the accused in a judgment delivered on September 17.
The convict was produced before the court today for the quantum of sentence to be handed out and the judges pronounced a rigorous imprisonment for life for the crime committed under Section 302 of IPC.