Human child sacrifice shocks conscience of civilised society:Allahabad High Court

The Allahabad High Court while dismissing an appeal said that Human/child sacrifice has been practiced on a number of different occasions and in many different cultures.

Human/child sacrifice is typically intended to bring good fortune and to appease the Gods, which in our opinion, shocks the conscience of the civilized society and is to be condemned by one and all, to curb such social evils.

The Division Bench of Justice Rajiv Gupta and Justice Mohd Azhar Husain Idrisi passed this order while hearing a Criminal Appeal filed by Rajendra Prasad Gaur.

The criminal appeal has been filed against the order dated 12.08.2004 passed by Additional District and Sessions Judge (F.T.C), Sonbhadra in Sessions Trial, arising out of Case under Sections 302 IPC, Police Station Babhani, District Sonbhadra, whereby the appellant has convicted for the offence under Sections 302 IPC and awarded the sentence of life imprisonment with a fine of Rs 5,000/- with default stipulation.

The prosecution story is that in front of the house of one Ramadhar Dubey, there is a ‘Bramh Baba Sthan’, where every year during Navratra a fair is held, in which, exorcism is practiced and ‘Bhabooti’ is given to the victims by the priest.

On 10.04.2003, the first informant Amerika Prasad along with his wife Gangotri, daughter Kusum, son-in-law Ram Dular and his infant child aged about 11 months Rameshwar, had reached in the fair for treatment of his wife through practice of exorcism, as his wife was suffering from mental sickness.

It is further stated that on 12.04.2003, at about 10:00 a.m., he along with his wife and other family members were having their meals at a distance of 10-15 paces from ‘Bramh Sthan’ and his infant child Rameshwar, aged about one year, was playing there. A large crowd had assembled there. Out of the said crowd, a person aged about 26-27 years wearing vest and underwear, having a knife in his hand came and picked up his fondling child and after moving 10 paces ahead kept the child on the ground and started stabbing him with a knife. The first informant along with his son-in-law and other family members, in order to rescue his child, tried to apprehend him, however, the appellant made his escape good.

It is further alleged that he immediately rushed to provide medical treatment to the infant child, however, on the way, the infant child breathed his last. Many people present in the fair, at the scene of occurrence, had informed him that in order to offer ‘human sacrifice’ his child had been killed. He has brought the corpse of the child, which is kept in front of the road. The first informant reached the police station and gave a written scribe (Tahrir) to the Head Moharrir to lodge the report.

The Court observed that,

Having considered the rival submissions made by counsel for the parties and having gone through the material on record and the evidence adduced, it is evident that the incident is said to have taken place in the broad daylight in presence of parents, sister and brother-in-law of the deceased, who was an infant child aged about one year by assaulting him with a knife. The FIR, admittedly, has been promptly lodged in the police station and the manner and place of incident has been cogently and unerringly established by the prosecution. Though the factum of enmity has been pleaded by the appellant in his statement recorded under Section 313 Cr.P.C but no evidence in this respect has been led. The nature of injury as pointed out by the Doctor in the post-mortem report clearly indicates that it could have been caused by the knife or a ‘summi’, a pointed object like a knife.

The identity of the appellant had already been disclosed by the witnesses and therefore, there was no question of holding the test identification parade of the appellant for determining his identity as pleaded by the counsel for the appellant.

The testimony of all the four eye-witnesses, except minor contradictions, do not suffer from any shortcomings to doubt their credibility. Their presence at the scene of the incident is quite natural and being a broad daylight incident has been witnessed by them. It is a well settled principle of law that, if the evidence has a ring of truth, the discrepancies, inconsistencies and infirmities cannot be a ground for rejecting the evidence. Moreover, it is important to note that in this case, all the eye-witnesses are rustic witnesses.

“The basic principle of appreciation of evidence of a rustic witness who is not educated and comes from a poor strata of society is that the evidence of such a witness should be appreciated as a whole. The rustic witness as compared to an educated witness is not expected to remember every small detail of the incident and the manner in which the incident had happened more particularly when his evidence is recorded after a lapse of time. Further, a witness is bound to face shock of the untimely death of his near relative(s). Therefore, the court must keep in mind all these relevant factors while appreciating evidence of a rustic witness.

Moreover, the instant case is a classic case of blind faith and unfortunate realities of our times still prevalent in remote areas.

Considering the entire aspect of the matter and taking a holistic view of the circumstances in which the offence has been committed, we are of the view that the judgment and order passed by the trial court is well considered and discussed and the trial court has rightly held that the prosecution has succeeded to prove the guilt of the accused appellant beyond reasonable doubt, as such, the impugned judgment and order passed by the trial court is liable to be upheld and the appeal has no force and it is, accordingly, liable to dismissed”, the Court further observed while dismissing the appeal.

“The conviction and sentence against the accused-appellant vide impugned judgment and order dated 12.08.2004 is hereby confirmed. The appellant is in jail. He is directed to serve out the sentence imposed upon him by the trial court”, the order reads.

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