Accused In Triple Murder Case Got Acquitted: Kerala HC

Accused In Triple Murder Case Got Acquitted: Kerala HC

The Hon’ble Bench comprising of Hon’ble  Justice K. Vinod Chandra and Justice M.R. Anitha in a  Criminal Appeal filed by the accused set aside conviction and sentence passed against the accused by Hon’ble  Sessions Court, Kollam in a case where the accused has caused the death of her mother and two daughters.

Arguments advanced by the Counsel are as follows:

  • Learned counsel for accused P.K. Varghese in his arguments thrust upon the ground of infirmity in the investigation is not conducting an inquiry as to the mental state of the accused despite there being evidence to the factum of the accused having been subjected to treatment for mental problems.
  • It is further contended that the prosecution witness, the brother of the accused during questioning spoke of his sister had suffered from mental illness which the Investigating Officer also admitted during cross-examination alongside admission of his knowledge of the history of mental illness in the family of the accused. 
  • Further, it is contended that various aspects highlighted from the evidence give rise to a reasonable doubt about the mental condition of the accused at the time of occurrence, which would entitle her for benefit of the exception and consequent acquittal; for this argument, counsel relied on Shibu versus. State of Kerala (2013 KHC 393: 2013 (4) KLT 323).

Arguments advanced by the prosecution are as follows:

  • It is argued by learned counsel for the prosecution that though protection under Sec.84 IPC was stated as one of the grounds for assailing the conviction and sentence in the memorandum of Appeal, at the time of argument the learned counsel for the accused fairly conceded that the accused could not discharge the burden cast upon her Under Sec.105 of Evidence Act.
  • Further, counsel relied on Hari Singh Govind versus. State of M.P. (AIR 2009 SC 31: 2008 KHC 4870) where the Hon’ble  court held that ” in a broad angle to distinguish legal insanity and medical insanity and matters which should be weighed by Courts while dealing with Sec.84 IPC which enunciates the fundamental principle of criminal law that to constitute an offense actus reus and mens rea must concur.”

Order of Hon’ble Court is as follows:

  • The Hon’ble Court Citing Judgement of Hon’ble apex court in DevidaIn Devidas Loka Rathode, in which the Hon’ble Apex Court set aside the concurrent findings of guilt against the accused under Secs 302 and 324 Indian Penal Code, 1860 (hereinafter referred to as “IPC,1860”) upholding his defense under Sec.84 IPC, 1860 held that given the previous history of insanity of the accused, it was the duty of an honest investigator to subject the accused to a medical examination immediately and place that evidence before the Hon’ble Court and if it is not done, it creates serious infirmity in the prosecution case and benefit of the doubt has to be given to the accused.
  • Further, the Hon’ble Bench relied on Joseph Mathai @ Jose in which the Hon’ble Kerala High court held that if the previous history of insanity is revealed during investigation, the Investigating Officer must subject the accused to a medical examination and place that evidence before Court. Failure of the same creates serious infirmity in prosecution cases and the benefit of the doubt has to be given to the accused.
  • Lastly, the Hon’ble Bench held that the mindless killing of an old lady and two minor children that too the mother and daughters of the accused, ought to have cautioned the Investigating Officer and there should have been an inquiry held and the accused subjected to a psychiatric evaluation, immediately after the occurrence failure of which can be seen in the present case for which the accused is acquitted.
Tejaswi Goda
I'm Tejaswi Goda pursuing a B.A.LL.B course from the University College of Law, Osmania University. My subjects of interests are Human rights law, Constitutional law, Property laws, Criminal laws, Environment laws. Grabbing information, Researching and writing are activities which I'm most interested in. Reading books is my most favourite hobby. Above all working for climate change management is most prominent for me.