2008 Murder Case:’ Justice Must Prevail, Trial Court Can’t Be Swayed’

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Srinagar—The J&K High Court set aside life sentence of Raj Mohammad Piswal, a man from Baramulla district who was accused of killing his ex-wife in 2008.

A division bench of Justices Mohammad Qayoom Mir and Ali Mohammad Magrey came down heavily on police investigators for lack of commitment even as it observed that the trial court cannot be swayed by gruesome murder. 

“The investigating agency has not shown that commitment, may be because of lack of skill of investigation. In the process they appear to have hoodwinked the case in order to show that a murder case is solved,” court said, adding, “The murder of deceased has remained a mystery which has been compounded by the unskilled investigation. Quite shocking that a gruesome murder of a young lady has remained to be unearthed and in the process inhuman criminal whosoever it was responsible for killing the deceased has gone unpunished.”  It also said trial court appears to have been swayed by the gruesome murder but “Court of law can’t afford to be swayed.”

Raj Mohammad Piswal had filed an appeal against the Sessions Judge, Baramulla verdict in June 2012. 

As per the prosecution, police registered a case on a complaint from Abdul Gaffar Ahangar, second husband of the deceased on 28 April 2008. He submitted that his mother, Mst. Mukhti, and his wife, Mst. Sakina, went to a nearby forest for getting firewood.

Ahangar said Piswal with the intention to kill his wife was hiding in the forest and abruptly caught hold of his wife and attacked her with an axe repeatedly and killed her.

On the basis of complaint, police registered as FIR (No.14/2008) at police station Panzullah.

On completion of investigation, charge sheet (challan) was presented to the effect that during investigation Piswal was established to have committed the offence punishable under Section 302 RPC.

“The trial court has fallen in error while appreciating the evidence vis-à-vis disclosure statement and the recovery memo. In a most casual fashion and in a most irresponsible manner, has discarded the testimony of (witness) Karamdin Khatana who has stated that the weapon of offence was not recovered from his house, at the same time trial court has lost sight of an important aspect i.e. as to why IO had cited (only one witness) alone as a witness to  why IO has not cited any other person as witness when he himself has stated that many persons were present at the time of recovery,” the court said.  

“Casual appreciation” of evidence by trial court is totally disturbing because it is of essence for reaching to any conclusion, the court said.

“The trial court has unfortunately erroneously laid much stress on disclosure statement ignoring that the recovery memo has not been proved at all. Such type of appreciation runs contrary to the basic object of Sections 25, 26 and 27 of the Evidence Act,” the court said and set aside the trial court’s order convicting and sentencing Piswal to life imprisonment.

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