Wife Died In Her Matrimonial Home; 4 Broad Categories

Death of a Wife : The Delhi High Court in the decision reported as Mukesh Vs. State, (2010) 2 JCC 1563 authored by Pradeep Nandrajog, J. noted the various decisions of the Supreme Court on the issue of onus on the accused under Section 106 of the Indian Evidence Act and held:

Having examined the decisions of the Supreme Court on the point of death of a wife in her matrimonial house, we deem it appropriate to classify the said judicial decisions into undernoted 4 broad categories for the reason we are finding considerable confusion in the minds of the subordinate Judges as to the correct position of law:

I

  • In the first category fall the decisions where it is proved by the prosecution that the husband was present in the house when the wife suffered a homicidal death and rendered no explanation as to how his wife suffered the homicidal death.

# See the decisions on Death of a Wife reported as

  1. State of Rajasthan v. Parthu (2007) 12 SCC 754
  2. Amarsingh Munnasingh Suryavanshi v. State of Maharashtra AIR 2008 SC 479
  3. Ganeshlal v. State of Maharashtra (1992) 3 SCC 106
  4. Prabhudayal v. State of Maharashtra (1993) 3 SCC 573
  5. Dynaneshwar v. State of Maharashtra (2007) 10 SCC 445
  6. Trimukh Maroti Kirkan v. State of Maharashtra (2006) 10 SCC 681
  7. Bija v. State of Haryana (2008) 11 SCC 242
  8. State of Tamil Nadu v. Rajendran (1999) 8 SCC 679;

II

  • In the second category are the decisions where the prosecution could not prove the presence of the husband in the house when the wife suffered a homicidal death but the circumstances were such that it could be reasonably inferred that the husband was in the house and the husband failed to render any satisfactory explanation as to how his wife suffered a homicidal death.
  • The circumstances wherefrom it could be inferred that the husband was in the house would be proof that they lived in the house and used to cohabit there and the death took place in such hours of the night when a husband was expected to be in the house i.e. the hours between night time and early morning.

See the decisions reported as

  1. State of U.P. v. Dr. Ravindra Prakash Mittal(1992) 3 SCC 300
  2. Narendra v. State of Karnataka (2009) 6 SCC 61.

III

  • In the third category would be proof of a very strong motive for the husband to murder his wife and proof of there being a reasonable probability of the husband being in the house and having an opportunity to commit the murder.
  • In the decision reported as Udaipal Singh v. State of U.P. (1972) 4 SCC 142 the deceased wife died in her matrimonial home in a room where she and her husband used to reside together.
  • The accused- husband had a very strong motive to murder the deceased which was evident from the letter written by him to his mistress, which letter clearly brought out the feeling of disgust which the accused had towards the deceased.
  • The accused had the opportunity to commit the murder of the deceased as there was evidence to show the presence of the accused in the village where the house in which the deceased died was situated at the time of the death of the deceased.
  • Noting the facts that the accused had a strong enough motive and an opportunity to murder the deceased, noting that there was no evidence that the appellant was seen in his house by anybody, the Supreme Court convicted the accused.

IV

  • In the fourth category are the decisions where the wife died in her matrimonial house but there was no evidence to show presence of the husband in the house at the time of the death of the wife and the time when the crime was committed was not of the kind contemplated by the decisions in category II and was of a kind when husbands are expected to be on their job and there was either no proof of motive or very weak motive being proved as in the decision reported as Khatri Hemraj Amulakh v. State of Gujarat AIR 1972 SC 922 and State of Punjab v. Hari Kishan 1997 SCC Cri. 1211.

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