The Gujarat High Court denied the appeal of Vishrambhai Shingabhai Suvera (petitioner), an ex-Central Reserve Police Force employee who murdered his nephew, Shailesh. A division bench of Justice Vipul M Pancholi and Justice Sandeep N Bhatt upheld the Trial Court judgement and appreciated the prosecution for proving the murder case beyond a reasonable doubt.
In 2011, Suvera using his licensed double barrel gun, fired rounds at the villagers of Kundla gathered at the agricultural field of Laljibhai Kamajibhai to celebrate Dhuleti. He pulled out the cartridges, which were kept in the belt worn around his waist, loaded his gun with the same and moved towards the crowd. At that time, his nephew Shailesh persuades him not to fire any more rounds. Then Suvera aimed his gun toward and fired one round, which hit Shailesh’s abdomen taking his life.
The APP, HS Soni, submitted that this is a case of direct evidence, where the alleged offence happened in broad daylight in the presence of several persons. Notably, out of them, some were witnesses and injured witnesses. Hence, the accused committed offences punishable under Sections 302 and 307 of the IPC and Section 25(1B)(a) of the Arms Act.
Then the bench relied on a detailed analysis of the direct evidence consisting of the clothes of the deceased, clothes of the injured witnesses and the accused, seizure of empty shells, live cartridges and statements of the 20 prosecution witnesses.
The Petitioner Advocate, Kunal B Dave, submitted that Dr Kamlesh Bhagwanbhai Parmar-PW-1, Exhibit-14, who had carried out the post-mortem of the deceased, did not specifically opine that the death of the deceased was a homicidal one.
Referring to the entire evidence on record, the bench relied on Vineet Kumar Chauhan vs State Of U.P, and observed:
“It cannot be laid down as a general proposition that in every case where a firearm is allegedly used by an accused person, the prosecution must lead the evidence of a Ballistic Expert to prove the charge, irrespective of the quality of the direct evidence available on record. It needs little emphasis that where direct evidence is of R/CR.A/767/2013 CAV JUDGMENT DATED: 03/08/2022 such an unimpeachable character, and the nature of injuries, disclosed by post-mortem notes is consistent with the direct evidence, the examination of Ballistic Expert may not be regarded as essential. However, where direct evidence is not available or that there is some doubt as to whether the injuries could or could not have been caused by a particular weapon, examination of an expert would be desirable to cure an apparent inconsistency or for the purpose of corroboration of oral evidence”.
Thus considering the depositions of the prosecution witnesses and the documentary shreds of evidence produced by the Prosecution, the High Court dismissed the present appeal and appreciated the reasoning given by the Trial Court.
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