Published on: June 28, 2022 at 18:16 IST
The conviction and life sentence given to a woman for allegedly throwing her two-month-old daughter into a river while she was suffering from epilepsy and some respiratory issues has recently been overturned by the Karnataka High Court.
Kavitha was found not guilty by a Division Bench of Justices KS Somashekar and Shivashankar Amarannavar after spending the past 6 years in custody for committing an offence under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code. The court directed her immediate release from prison if she was not needed in any other case.
Based on the complaint made by the child’s father, Manjunatha, the criminal law was initiated.
The accused refuted the evidence against her as the prosecution questioned 15 witnesses. She did not, however, present any defence witnesses.
The Trial Court ultimately concluded that the prosecution had proven its case against the accused for the offence punishable under section 302 of the IPC, heavily relying on the evidence of the child’s doctor, the doctor who performed her autopsy, and the Investigating Officer. It noted that based on the facts and the evidence shown to it, the only conclusion that can be formed from the full sequence of events is that the accused threw the child into the river where she was later found dead.
In the appeal, the woman’s counsel, RP Chandrashekar, stated that the complaint’s original initiators—her husband and the child’s father—had become hostile. Additionally, it was alleged that the prosecution’s case to show that she was responsible for her baby’s death was unsupported by the doctor’s evidence.
Furthermore, it was argued that the witnesses examined by the prosecution, who had been examined to support the last seen theory, had also turned hostile and did not support the prosecution.
The High Court highlighted that the weight of the Court’s opinion must be decided by the quality of the evidence, not the quantity. Additionally, it stated that a witness’s solitary statement can only be taken into account if the court concludes that it represents the truth and the correct side of the story.
The court held, “Therefore, in this appeal it requires intervention. If not intervened by re-appreciation of evidence and also revisiting judgment of conviction and order of sentence, certainly there shall be some substantial miscarriage of justice to the accused, who is gravamen of the accusations.”