Supreme Court Upholds Discharge of Accused in Murder Case Citing Natural Death in Post-Mortem Report


LI Network

Published on: January 19, 2024 at 12:00 IST

The Supreme Court upheld the discharge of individuals accused in a murder case, emphasizing the significance of the expert testimony provided by the doctor who conducted the post-mortem examination.

On Thursday, January 18, the apex court set aside the findings of the High Court, highlighting the importance of considering the expert’s assessment when determining the guilt of the accused.

The Bench, comprised of Justices Abhay S. Oka and Ujjal Bhuyan, noted that the post-mortem report revealed no injuries on the chest or any other part of the deceased woman’s body. The private complaint, filed by the respondent’s father, alleged that the deceased wife had been assaulted with a stick and kicks on her chest and stomach, leading to her demise. In contrast, the accused maintained that the death was natural.

The crux of the case centered on the expert testimony of the doctor who performed the post-mortem examination. The report explicitly stated that the death was natural, coupled with the absence of external injuries on the deceased’s body. Relying on this evidence, the trial court discharged the accused of the alleged offense.

Challenging the discharge order, the deceased wife’s husband filed a revision application before the High Court. The High Court, in turn, allowed the revision application and remanded the matter back to the trial court.

Disagreeing with the High Court’s findings, the Supreme Court reviewed the material evidence on record and asserted that the trial court had not conducted a mini-trial. The Court, underlining the importance of the expert evidence, concluded that the death was not homicidal but natural.

The judgment highlighted the contradiction in the husband’s deposition, where he claimed that one of the accused had hit the deceased with a stick on her chest and the other had kicked her repeatedly. However, the post-mortem examination did not reveal any injuries on the chest or other parts of the body.

In its final decision, the Supreme Court set aside the High Court’s judgment and restored the trial court’s judgment. The court criticized the High Court for overlooking the doctor’s evidence and emphasized the importance of the expert’s testimony in reaching a just conclusion. The appeals were accordingly allowed.

Case Title: Ramalingam & Ors. v. N. Viswanathan

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