Mumbai: Observing that the entire evidence in a case cannot be discarded if the ‘motive’ has not been proved, the Aurangabad bench of the Bombay High Court recently quashed a man’s acquittal order and sentenced him to lifetime imprisonment. The HC said that in cases where only the accused and victim are present at the crime scene, there will never be evidence on motive.

A division bench of Justice Tanaji Nalawade and Justice Sunil Kotwal was hearing an appeal filed by the Maharashtra government challenging the acquittal of Syed Rahim (25). He was booked for killing his wife, tampering evidence and attempting to disappear.

Rahim was acquitted by the Beed sessions court as the prosecution had failed to prove the ‘motive’ for the murder. The sessions court had also held that only because Rahim was present in the room when his wife was found dead, it cannot be said that he killed her.

It is the case of the prosecution that for about six months no ill-treatment was meted out to the deceased but after that Rahim and his parents started harassing her by saying that she was not able to cook food properly and she was not serving food to them on time. The accused were also beating her on petty counts. The wife had disclosed about such ill-treatment to her father and other relatives.

It was in April 2000, when Rahim’s wife had allegedly committed suicide by setting herself on fire. However, the post-mortem report revealed that the victim wife was strangulated before her death and it also mentioned of the ligature marks on her neck. The autopsy report also highlighted the several contusion marks on her person.

After scrutinising the material on record, Justice Nalawade said, “It was necessary for Rahim to explain as to why there was no hue and cry from the deceased if she had set fire to herself. It was also necessary for him to explain as to how there was ligature mark circling the neck.”

“It is true that motive is relevant circumstance when the prosecution case rests entirely on circumstantial evidence. But that does not mean that entire evidence needs to be discarded when no evidence is given on motive or when evidence on motive is not believable,” Justice Nalawade said.

The court further said that motive is not necessary to prove in cases involving only the accused and victim. “In a case of present nature, the accused who commits murder only knows as to what happened at the relevant time which moved him to commit such crime. If there was nobody in the vicinity to know the relations between the victim and the accused or when there was nobody to know these two persons there will never be evidence on motive in such cases,” the court said.

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