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Ruling that a trial cannot afford to be swayed by gruesome murder, the High Court on Tuesday set aside a judgment sentencing a man from Baramulla district to rigorous imprisonment for life in connection with killing his ex-wife in 2008. 

“Trial court appears to have been swayed by the gruesome murder but Court of law can’t afford to be swayed. Justice has to be administered in accordance with law,” a division bench of Justices Muhammad Yaqoob Mir and Ali Mohammad Magrey said, setting aside the trial court verdict. 

Convict Raj Muhammad Piswal had approached the high court and appealed against the verdict of Sessions Judge Baramulla given in 2012. 

The court also reproached the investigating agency, observing it has not shown the “commitment”. 

“In the process they appear to have hoodwinked the case in order to show that a murder case is solved. The murder of deceased has remained a mystery which has been compounded by the unskilled investigation,” the court said, picking holes in the investigation. 

As per the prosecution, police registered a case on a complaint by Abdul Gaffar Ahangar, husband of the deceased woman on 28 April 2008. He submitted that his mother, Mst Mukhti, and his wife, Mst Sakina, went to a nearby forest for getting firewood. 

Accused Piswal with the intention to kill his ex wife, was hiding in the forest and attacked her with an axe repeatedly and killed her, Ahangar said. 

On the basis of complaint, police registered case (FIR No.14/2008) at police station Panzullah. 

On completion of investigation, it presented charge-sheet to the effect that during investigation it was established that Piswal has committed an offence punishable under Section 302 RPC. 

Observing that trial court has fallen in error while appreciating the evidence vis-à-vis disclosure statement and the recovery memo, the bench said: “It (trial court) in a most casual fashion and in a most irresponsible manner, has discarded the testimony of (witness) Karamdin Khatana who has stated that the weapon of offence was not recovered from his house”. 

“At the same time trial court has lost sight of an important aspect i.e. as to why IO had cited only one witness, why IO has not cited any other person as witness when he himself has stated that many persons were present at the time of recovery,” the court said.

The court held that “casual appreciation” of evidence by trial court was totally disturbing because it was of essence for reaching to any conclusion.

“The trial court has unfortunately erroneously laid much stress on disclosure statement ignoring that the recovery memo has not been proved at all. Such type of appreciation runs contrary to the basic object of Sections 25, 26 and 27 of the Evidence Act,” the court said, and setting aside trial court order whereby Piswal was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment.