Murder By Administering Poison; Mode & Manner of Proof

On the fateful day accused forcibly administered poison to the deceased in order to kill her.

The deceased was crying “Give me salty water. I do not want to die.”

A witness heard the shrieks and cries of the deceased and extreme weeping of her child.

During the course of administration of poison deceased struggled as such sustained injuries on her face, lips and neck.

Accused in his statement under section 313 Cr.PC did not deny the factum of the deceased having died due to poison.

The trial court came to the conclusion that the circumstantial evidence brought on record contained positive proof, credible sequence of events, factual truth linking the accused with commission of offence by means of forcible administration of organo phosphorus poison to the wife.

The nature of injuries which was found on the person of the deceased were ante-mortem.

All injuries were on the front portion of the body and could be caused while she was lying on the bed.

Such injuries could be found in cases of smothering and strangulation and forcible administration of poison.

The injuries suffered by the victim on her lips, chin, throat and neck could be caused by the accused while administering poison forcibly.

The accused did not take the deceased to the hospital and stated that nothing had happened to her and that she would be alright very soon. It was the duty of the accused being a doctor to immediately rush her to the hospital.

The accused wanted the victim to breathe her last and thus delayed taking her to the hospital. It was not a case of self-poisoning considering the nature of injuries found on the deceased.

The domestic articles and luggage were scattered in the room.

Child was crying and his small empty bottle which contained the organo phosphorus poison was found lying there.

Its cap used as stopper was also lying and a pungent poisonous odour was present in the room.

Chain of circumstances is complete and proves the guilt to the hilt. Purchase of poison by the accused stands established.

It was in possession of the accused stands established.

It is not disputed that the deceased died due to poisoning.

The accused had treated the victim with utmost cruelty, kicking her in the womb when she was carrying 8 months’ child.

Nature of injuries found on deceased indicates that it was a case of forcible administering poison to the victim while she has resisted.

He being a doctor knew the consequences of organo phosphorus poisoning and in spite of that he did not take the victim to the hospital despite requests being made by various witnesses.

Modi’s Medical Jurisprudence indicates that one of the symptoms after taking organo phosphorous poison can be convulsion also.

The deceased might have scratched her face and neck as itching and irritation which take place due to poisoning.

The High Court has unnecessarily doubted the deposition of the autopsy surgeon who has clearly opined that the nature of injuries indicated positively the administration of poison forcibly to the victim.

Such injuries could be caused while administering poison forcibly when victim was trying to save herself from that.

The injuries on her lips, chin, throat and neck etc. as held by the trial court, were caused while administering the poison forcibly is a strong circumstance against the accused which cannot be brushed aside lightly.

Injuries were on the front part of the body which indicates that the deceased was subjected to violence before she succumbed due to poisoning.

Yet another circumstance which casts a grave doubt on the accused is that though he was fully aware that the condition of the victim was precarious and she was struggling for life due to organo phosphorous poisoning.

Accused was well-aware that the victim was suffering from organo phosphorous poisoning, the bottle was also lying open. There was a bad odour of ‘nuvan’ poison in the room.

The accused had purchased Nuvan poison from shop for a consideration of Rs.50/- on the pretext of killing flies etc. The trial court held that in summers there was no necessity to purchase a deadly poison for killing the flies.

The Supreme Court of India has considered this case today in State of Himachal Pradesh Vs. Rajiv Jassi and held that the High Court has gravely erred in reversing the well-reasoned judgment of conviction and order of sentence recorded by the trial court.

While allowing the e appeal and setting aside the impugned judgment and order passed by the High Court the Apex Court restored the trial court verdict.

The accused is directed to surrender failing which he shall be taken into custody forthwith.

The learned counsel appearing on behalf of the accused submitted that the child now 17 years old and is residing with the accused, as such we should take a lenient view.

A bench comprising of V. Gopala Gowda and Arun Mishra JJ. observed that it cannot be a ground so as to show any leniency in such kind of offence, particularly when the accused had not cared and caused death of his wife who was also a doctor and at the same time she was pregnant, carrying 8 months male child whose foetus was recovered from her womb.

He had kicked the womb also that is why swelling in womb was found.

In the circumstances, accused is not entitled to any lenient treatment as it can only be within legal parameters.


The Apex Court has considered in Sharad Birdhichand Sarda v. State of Maharashtra, AIR 1984 SC 1622 case of murder by administering poison and dealt with mode and manner of proof in such cases.

Four circumstances are to be examined before recording a conviction.

  • (i) There was a clear motive for the accused to administer poison to the deceased,
  • (ii) the deceased died of poison said to have been administered,
  • (iii) that the accused had poison in his possession and
  • (iv) that he had an opportunity to administer the poison to the deceased.

The prosecution alleged that the husband administered the poison to her whereas defence took the plea that there was a strong possibility of her having been ill-treated, being sensitive and impressible, she might have committed suicide out of depression and frustration arising from an emotional upsurge.

The aforesaid tests stand satisfied in the instant case and the prosecution has proved the case beyond periphery of doubt.

The conduct of the accused and gesture of the victim at the crucial time as projected in the case, medical evidence, evidence as to purchase of poison unerringly point towards the guilt of the accused.