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Indian Case Summary

State Of Karnataka vs Basavegowda Alias Chandra on 4 December, 1996 – Case Summary

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In the case of State of Karnataka vs Basavegowda Alias Chandra on 4 December 1996, the Karnataka High Court was presented with a situation that involved a serious assault and robbery. The respondent-accused, Basavegowda alias Chandra, was the husband of the complainant, Bhagyamma. The case was centered around an incident that occurred approximately ten days after their marriage, on April 30, 1987.

Facts of the Case

The accused had taken Bhagyamma to the Burudala Bore forest under the pretense of attending a friend’s wedding. Once there, he threatened to kill her unless she handed over all her jewelry, valued at around Rs. 11,000. Fearing for her life, Bhagyamma complied. The accused then assaulted her with a large stone, causing her to scream. Despite her cries, the accused continued his assault until two individuals approached, prompting him to flee. Bhagyamma was subsequently taken to a hospital, where the police recorded her complaint and arrested the accused. The stolen jewelry was allegedly recovered from the accused’s possession.

Issues and Court Observations

The primary issue was whether the testimony of Bhagyamma alone was sufficient to prove the prosecution’s case beyond a reasonable doubt, especially since the majority of witnesses had turned hostile. The court, after assessing the evidence, concluded that Bhagyamma’s testimony was credible and remained unshaken despite extensive cross-examination.

The court also considered the medical evidence, which corroborated Bhagyamma’s account of the assault. The injuries she sustained, including a fractured rib, were consistent with her description of the attack. The court also noted the recovery of the stolen jewelry from the accused, which further substantiated Bhagyamma’s account.

The defense argued that Bhagyamma had subsequently divorced the accused and remarried, suggesting that she was unhappy with the marriage and had fabricated the charges. The court, however, found no evidence to support this claim and dismissed it.

Court’s Decision

The court set aside the order of acquittal, convicting the accused of the offense punishable under Section 325, IPC (causing grievous hurt) and sentencing him to rigorous imprisonment for two years. The accused was also convicted under Section 384, IPC (extortion), with a similar sentence. The sentences were to run concurrently, and the accused was entitled to a set-off for the period he had already undergone. The court also ordered the cancellation of the accused’s bail bond if he had not undergone the requisite sentence.

This case highlights the importance of a victim’s testimony in criminal proceedings, particularly in instances where other witnesses turn hostile. It also underscores the court’s commitment to ensuring justice, even in the face of adversities such as witness hostility and attempts to discredit the victim’s account.