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Indian Case Summary

R.Shaji vs State Of Kerala on 10 December, 2009 – Case Summary

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In the case of R. Shaji vs State of Kerala on 10 December 2009, the Kerala High Court was presented with a gruesome murder case involving a law enforcement officer and four other individuals. The case was heard by Justice K. Balakrishnan Nair and Justice P. Bhavadasan.

Facts of the Case

The victim, Praveen, was initially employed by the first accused, R. Shaji, who was a Deputy Superintendent of Police. Praveen left his employment under Shaji due to certain reasons and started working at a mattress shop in Ettumanoor. On 15th February 2005, Praveen went missing. His father, P.W.1, lodged a missing person report on 18th February 2005. In the following days, various parts of a human body were found in different locations, which were identified by P.W.1 as belonging to his son, Praveen.

Issues and Court Observations

The court had to determine whether the body parts found were indeed those of Praveen and whether the evidence presented was reliable and admissible. The court also had to consider whether the recoveries made based on the confession statement given by the first accused were legally and factually sound. The case was built on circumstantial evidence, and the court had to ensure that the circumstances were fully established and were consistent only with the hypothesis of the guilt of the accused.


The court found the first and second accused guilty of the offences punishable under Sections 302, 201 and 364 read with Section 120B of the Indian Penal Code. The first accused was acquitted of the offences punishable under Section 506(ii), 466 and 471 IPC. The first accused was sentenced to life imprisonment and a fine of Rs.1,00,000/-, while the second accused was sentenced to life imprisonment and a fine of Rs.5,000/-. Both were also sentenced to rigorous imprisonment for other offences. The sentences were to run concurrently.

The case is a stark reminder of the importance of circumstantial evidence in criminal proceedings. It also underscores the need for the prosecution to establish all the links in the chain of evidence to secure a conviction based on circumstantial evidence.