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-Report by Arun Bhattacharya

The Supreme Court of India on Thursday 23rd of February, 2023 had to resolve a bizarre case of appeal by a by a mother who had allegedly strangulated her five-year old child in desperation and desire to live separately. The aforementioned matter has been dealt in VAHITHA versus STATE OF TAMIL NADU. 


A wife having to live without her husband finds herself in desperate need to live separately and not with her mother-in-law. Out of desire to remove the only obstacle in her way of liberation that in this case happens to be her five-year old child, strangulates and murders the child causing asphyxia. Trial court had found the woman to be guilty under the offence of Murder and sentenced her accordingly. Thehonourable High court also reiterated the stand taken by the lower court hence being aggrieved by the same; she filed the present appeal under a Special Leave Petition before the apex court of the nation.


The appellant highlighted many of the discrepancies in the prosecution’s case specifically focussing on the fact that there was no motive for the appellant to commit such a heinous act. (Here it must be noted that motive is something which prompts a person to take action, intention is the act done in order to achieve the motive and knowledge is merely the awareness of the consequences of such acts.) Appellant tried to establish her plea of alibi as to the absence of her during the death of the child and that she was elsewhere with her fatherand was arrested at the bus stand while she was returning after hearing the news of her child’s demise. 


The prosecution/respondents clarified that the evidences were satisfactory as to prove the guilt of the appellant beyond reasonable doubt and since it was established by the witnesses that the appellant was the person with whom the deceased child was last seen, the conviction by the learned Trial Court and the High Court was justified.


The Apex Court while referring to the guidelines as enshrined in Sharhad Bidhichand Sharda analysed the matter on the basis of circumstantial evidences rejected the plea of alibi by the appellant citing clear contradictions in the testimonies of the hostile witnesses and upheld the prosecution’s argument regarding motive of the appellant as to the desire to live separately.

Thus upholding the decision taken by the learned Trial Court and the honourable High Court, the Apex Court dismissed the appeal.


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