In Supreme Court of India
(2000) 6 SCC 286
Vasa Chandrasekhar Rao
Ponna Satyanarayana & Anr
Date of Judgement
5th May, 2000
G Pattanaik, S Variava
The case that we discuss today is a landmark judgment in the legal history of India. The case Vasa Chandrasekhar Rao vs. Ponna Satyanarayana & Anr is landmark due to the fact it examined the rule of hearsay and section 6 of Evidence Act which forms relevancy of facts forming part of same transaction. Section 6 states that facts which do not form an issue usually but are so connected with the fact in issue a forming same part of the same transaction are relevant whether they occurred at the same time, place, or at different time and place. Hearsay rule is an exception to Res Gestae. In this case the question that was to be tackled was that information given by one person to another via telephonic conversation would form a part of same transaction? The accused here in this case murdered his wife and daughter; the Session judge sentenced him to life imprisonment for life; an appeal was made making the accused acquitted for the charge of murder making him liable under section 498A that is cruelty towards wife by husband or relatives and sentenced him for 3 years of rigorous imprisonment with 1000/- rupees fine then an appeal was made to SC by the father of the deceased. This high courts’ decision is being questioned by the state as well as the father of the deceased.
1. Whether the circumstances would be sufficient to prove murder?
2. Whether the telephonic conversation can be regarded under section 6 of Indian Evidence Act?
3. Whether High Court can acquit an accused when substantial evidence is provided?
1. Accused had married Padmavati in June, 1985 and out of their marriage a daughter was born Suneetha.
2. Earlier the accused was living with his parents but after sometime shifted his family to Palakol and earned a livelihood by doing tailoring work.
3. Due to financial problems the accused was forcing his wife to get money from her parents also he was suspicious about the character of his wife.
4. When they were at Palakol, Padmavati’s mother came to visit her only to find out that she was being tortured by her husband.
5. After seeing all this, mother brought her daughter Padmavati to her own house where she gave birth to female child Suneetha.
6. Father of Padmavati made several efforts for the return of his daughter to her matrimonial home.
7. On 11.01.1991 Padmavati and her daughter returned to the house of the accused where the parents of the accused were also residing.
8. At about 6 p.m on the same day a telephone was received from the father of the accused by the family member of the deceased Padmavati stating that the accused has killed Padmavati and his daughter Suneetha.
9. On reaching the place of occurrence father of deceased saw dead bodies of Padmavati and her daughter and a blood stained knife was also there.
10. Evidence of the doctors who conducted autopsy on the dead bodies indicated that both of the dead bodies were stabbed several times and the death was due to this fact only.
11. Neighbour of the accused saw the accused coming out of the house in blood stained clothes and on being question by him he stated ‘ that he has murdered his wife and daughter’.
12. All this led to the Session judge framing the accused for the crime of murder since it was proven beyond reasonable doubt and convicted him for life imprisonment.
13. An appeal was made to HC wherein the HC acquitted the accused for murder and framed him under section 498A that is cruelty to wife and stated that the murder was not proven beyond reasonable doubt.
14. Following all this an appeal was made before the SC by the state as well as the deceased father for the acquittal of the accused in murder.
1. The High Court committed serious error in not considering all the inculpating evidences provided.
2. Due to this fact the accused cannot be acquitted for the charge of murder and the judgment cannot be sustained.
3. According to the learned counsel, the circumstances that were established completed the entire chain and the charge of murder is fully satisfied by such evidences.
4. Such acquittal is erroneous.
1. The learned counsel for the respondent contended that all the evidences were re-appreciated.
2. High court came to the conclusion that the charge of murder was not beyond reasonable doubt and therefore acquitted the accused.
3. The decision of the HC cannot be interfered by SC in exercise of powers conferred under Article 136 of constitution.
Significance of the Judgement:
1. The SC held that since the actual witnesses did not support the case during the initial trial. The question for consideration is whether the circumstances would be enough to bring home the charge of murder.
2. The Court held that where the prosecution wants to prove the guilt of the accused by circumstantial evidence, it is necessary to establish that the circumstances from which a conclusion is drawn should be fully proved provided that the circumstances should be conclusive in nature; all the facts so established, should be consistent only with the conclusion of the guilt and inconsistent with the innocence; and the circumstances should not give any room of possibility of guilt of any person other than the accused.
3. Keeping this principle in mind the court held that such circumstances were established in this case. On 11.01.1991 when the deceased Padmavati and daughter Suneetha were left at the house of accused, this establishes that the accused and deceased were together around 6 p.m, the father of the accused called the father of the deceased and informed him that the accused has killed the deceased.
4. Father of the deceased reached the spot and found the deceased lying with stab wounds. Neighbour contended in court that around 4:30 p.m he heard some cries from the house of the accused father and when he went their he saw the accused coming out from the house in blood stained clothes and on being questioned he confessed that he had murdered his wife and daughter.
5. When all these circumstances were put before the accused under section 313 of CrPC, he did not deny any of the accusation and this brings the charge of murder.
6. Another question which was being tackled by the court was that the telephonic conversation by the accused father to the father of the deceased stating that the accused has killed the deceased would come under section 6 of Evidence Act.
7. Since the father of the accused did not support the prosecution during trial, the statement of the deceased father would be regarded as hearsay but section 6 is an exception to such hearsay evidence provided that such facts should be relevant to the fact in issue in such a manner that they form part of the same transaction.
8. Since no inference could be made as to when the father of the accused informed the father of the deceased about the murder as to immediately after the murder or during the commission of murder therefore such an evidence is not admissible.
9. After examining all the evidences and excluding the telephonic conversation it was held by the SC that the murder was proven beyond reasonable doubt and the HC committed a serious error in acquitting the accused of murder and the accused is charged under section 302 of IPC and is sentenced to imprisonment for life.
10. This decision of SC made it clear as to when a telephonic conversation could be admissible under section 6 of Evidence Act.
11. When the conversation held is so important that it cannot be neglected provided that it forms the same part of the transaction of the facts in issue and such evidence is confirmed; if such an evidence is not confirmed or proved then it cannot be admissible in regards of hearsay evidence.
12. Therefore this judgment made it clear about Res Gestae which is section 6 of Evidence Act and hearsay exception to such an act.
Edited by Shuvneek Hayer
Approved & Published – Sakshi Raje