Anant Chintaman Lagu V. The State Of Bombay (12)


I come now to the last reason on which the Courts below found that it must have been the appellant who procured the alteration in the case paper. It has been said that no one else was interested in getting that done. I take it that this does not mean a finding that the appellant was interested in getting the alteration made for then of course his guilt would already have been assumed. What it means is that if it is not possible to find reasonably that any one else was interested in getting the alteration made, then it would fit in with the theory that the appellant had committed the crime and therefore was interested in getting the alteration made. The real question is, can it be reasonably said on the evidence that there was no one other than the appellant who could be interested in getting the alteration made ? I think it cannot. On the facts established and without making any assumption one way or the other, it seems to me very probable that it was Dr. Anija who was interested in preventing the postmortem examination and therefore in making the interpolations on the case paper. I will now state m reasons for this view.

560 I have earlier stated that Dr. Anija examined the urine of the patient at 6-30 a.m. on November 13. There is an entry with regard to it in the case paper, which reads 'Sugar + + + Albumin-Acetone + + There is little reason to doubt that Dr. Anija did examine the urine at that time for sugar, for otherwise she was not likely to have started the insulin injections. She gave two of these, one at 6-30 a.m. and the other at about 9 a.m. Dr. Variava's recollection is that when the case paper was shown to him about 11 a.m. the entry “Sugar + + + Albumin-” was there but the entry ” Acetone + + ” was not there and that Dr. Anija told him that she had not examined the urine for acetone. The entry ” Acetone + + ” was clearly interpolated in the case paper later. It wasbecause she had not tested the urine for acetone but had none the less started the treatment for diabetic coma that Dr. Variava had taken her to task and asked her to test the urine for acetone. All this clearly shows that Dr. Anija had interpolated the entry ” Acetone + + ” at some later time.

The trial Court thought that Dr. Mouskar having invented the theory of diabetic coma ” must have also thought it necessary to make entries regarding the presence of acetone + +. in the case record ” to support this false diagnosis.

This is nobody's case. Such a finding would necessarily mean that Dr. Mouskar was in conspiracy with the appellant to hide the crime by creating evidence in support of natural death of the patient. The findings of the trial Court that Dr. Mouskar was innocent and that he had procured Dr. Anija to make the -entry ” Acetone + + ” cannot stand together.

The latter ending must be rejected as it is purely inferential. The High Court did not find that the entry ” Acetone + + ” had been made by Dr. Anija at the persuasion of Dr. Mouskar. But it appears to have taken the view that Dr. Anija having been induced by Dr. Mouskar to state diabetic coma as the cause of death, herself incorporated before the papers were submitted to the Coroner an entry with regard to the examination of the urine in the case paper and in that entry included ” Acetone + + “. Whether the High Court is right in its view that the entire entry as to the result 561 of urine test at 6-30 a.m. of November 13, 1956, had been made in the case paper later is a matter which I need not discuss. The only question is who made the entry ” Acetone + + ” and when. I may state here that the papers were sent to the Coroner at the time Of the postmortem examination, namely,, on November 22, 1956. According to the High Court, therefore, the entry ” Acetone + + ” had been made by Dr.

Anija on her own and Dr. Mouskar had nothing to do with it and that Dr. Anija made the entry not at about 1 p.m. on November 13, 1956, when she crossed out the direction for postmortem examination and wrote out diabetic coma as the cause of death but almost nine days later. The High Court did not accept that part of Dr. Mouskar's evidence where he said that he was positive that the entry ” Acetone + + ” was in the case paper when it reached him at 1 p.m. on November

13. Earlier he had said that he had not read the case paper fully when it first came to him. Dr. Mouskar was plainly making a mistake. It is nobody's case that it was then there. Even on the prosecution case it was added sometime later, that is, when after the receipt of the case paper Dr.

Mouskar had been persuaded by the appellant to procure a cancellation as to the direction for postmortem examination.

We then come to this that the entry ” Acetone + +” had been made by Dr. Anija on her own. If she did this, she must have had some reason for it. I cannot imagine that reason being anything else excepting to create evidence in support of her diagnosis of diabetic coma. The next lie which Dr.

Anija spoke and which I wish now to refer, is the false story of her telephone talk with Dr. Variava at about 7 a.m.

She said that she then informed Dr. Variava about the condition of the patient and that she had started insulin injection and further that Dr. Variava told her to continue the treatment. I have earlier said that this statement was a clear falsehood and given reasons for this view. It is nobody's case, and it could not be, that Dr. Mouskar had asked her to tell this lie. Why then did she do so? Again, the only possible reason that I can think of is the same that I have given earlier, namely, that she was keen on 'creating evidence in support of the line of treatment that she had given to 562 the patient. She had been treating the patient as a case of diabetic coma. It is clear from her evidence and of course from that of Dr. Variava, that he had reprimanded her for adopting that line of treatment without having tested the urine for acetone. She had clearly made a mistake in the treatment of the case and this might have put her in a difficulty with the hospital authorities and also in her future professional career. It was clearly her interest to see that her mistake was not finally established as a result of the postmortem examination which had been directed by Dr.

Variava. In these circumstances, she was under a great temptation to prevent the postmortem examination which might have revealed her mistake. It must be remembered that she had just started on her professional career and was a very young person. I am unable therefore to hold that, apart from the appellant there was no one else who could have been interested in crossing out the direction as to postmortem examination and inserting diabetic coma as the cause of death. In the circumstances that I have mentioned, it seems quite probable that Dr. Anija had made the alteration in the case paper entirely on her own and to save herself from the possible effects of her mistake. It also seems probable to me that Dr. Anija had made the alterations on November 15, when Dr. Mouskar had sent the case paper through the ward boy for ascertainment of the cause of death.

I have earlier said that Dr. Anija had falsely introduced Dr. Saify as the person who had told her that Dr. Mouskar had wanted the direction as to postmortem examination to be crossed out and diabetic coma to be stated as the cause of death. I have also said that Dr. Mouskar did not support Dr. Anija as to the presence of Dr. Saify in the hospital on the day in question. Why then did Dr. Anija introduce the name of Dr. Saify ? I have said that the Courts below have not been able to find any explanation as to why Dr. Anija introduced the name of Dr. Saify. It seems to me that when the alteration which she had made on her own, was found out in the course of the investigation, she had to give some explanation as to why she had made it. She thought of saying that she did it under the orders of Dr. Mouskar who was very 563 much her senior and whom she was bound to obey. But she also realised that Dr. Mouskar was sure to deny that he had asked her to make the alteration and as against his, her evidence was not likely to be accepted. It was therefore that she hit upon the idea of interposing Dr. Saify in between her and Dr. Mouskar in the hope that Dr. Saify being also a very young person, there was some chance of her evidence being accepted as against his. Apart from that there does not appear to be any other explanation as to why Dr. Anija introduced the name of Dr. Saify. She had clearly forgotten while inventing this story that Dr. Saify was away on leave but that of course makes no difference for if she had remembered it, she might have named somebody else, probably Dr. Shah or Dr. Patel who worked in Unit No. 2 of the Hospital. Then it has to be remembered that Dr. Anija admitted to the police that she had written out the words ” Diabetic coma ” on the letter from the police of November 15, asking for the cause of death and this she later denied.

All this would make more probable the view that it was Dr.

Anija who in order to prevent the detection of the mistake made by her in the treatment of Laxmibai had the endorsement “Asked for post-, mortem ” crossed out and inserted in the case paper diabetic coma as the cause of death and that she had not been asked by Dr. Mouskar to make the alteration in the case paper.

I think it right to state here that it cannot be said that Dr. Shah was also to blame for the wrong diagnosis of diabetic coma. Dr. Anija said that pursuant to her call the Registrar came at about 8-45 a.m. and approved of her diagnosis and advised a further insulin injection of 40 units. She also said that the Registrar wrote on the case paper the words “Inj. Insulin 40 units Iv. glucose 20 c.c.” By ” the Registrar ” she was of course referring to Dr.

Saify. It is clear from the call book that it was Dr. Shah, who was the Registrar of Unit No. 2 who had been sent for by Dr. Anija. Dr. Shah said in his evidence that he must have gone to the patient pursuant to the call but he had no recollection of the case at all. He denied that the entry ” Inj. Insulin 40 units Iv. glucose 20 c.c.”was in his hand writing. Dr. Patel who was 564 officiating as the Registrar of Unit No. 1 in the absence of Dr. Saify on leave, also denied that that entry was in his handwriting. Dr. Shah said from the sequenceof time noted in the call book and the case paper, that he must have gone to the ward before 6-30 a.m. According to Dr. Shaw he could not have seen the case paper when he called because he was not the Registrar of Unit No. 1. He admitted that he must have advised Dr. Anija, about the case. What the advice was we do not know. It is clear however that Dr. Anija had started treating the case as diabetic coma and given 40 units of insulin before she sent for the Registrar. Indeed according to her, the Registrar, who must have been Dr.

Shah, arrived at 8.45 a.m. So we get that Dr. Anija started treatment of diabetic coma and gave insulin prior to 6-30 a.m. and her statement that the Registrar wrote down the direction for a second insulin injection of 40 units at 8-45 a.m. is false. It is therefore clear that the treatment given to the unconscious Laxmibai had been under the judgment of Dr. Anija alone. It would follow that Dr.Shah had no responsibility for that treatment. This is also supported by the fact that Dr. Anija did not tell Dr.

Variava that Dr. Shah had also thought it to be a case of diabetic coma.

There is another circumstance against the appellant which must now be noticed, and that is that the appellant left the hospital soon after the death of Laxmibai without showing the least care as to what happened thereafter. This conduct considered with the appel. lant's letter of November 14, 1956, stating falsely that ” Indumati's ” brother would come to take over her body and further considered with the subsequent conduct of the appellant in fraudulently misappropriating the deceased Laxmibai's money clearly indicates that immediately after the death of Laxmibai the appellant had conceived the idea of misappropriating her properties. It has been suggested that it would be somewhat strange that the dishonest intention cropped up in the appellant's mind so suddenly and therefore it is reasonable to think that he had entertained that design even during the lifetime of Laxmibai. The Courts below have accepted that suggestion. I cannot say that that is an unreasonable view to take.

565 But supposing the appellant had during Laxmibai's lifetime cast a covetous eye on her properties, would that be enough to justify a finding that her death had been an unnatural death ? I do not think it would. The design may provide a motive for murder; but the murder, that is, in this case an unnatural death, cannot be proved by it. That design does not exclude the possibility that Laxmibai died a natural death and the appellant made full use of the opportunity thereby provided to carry his design into effect.

I think I should mention here one other aspect of the case.

The trial Court observed that the symptoms found in the record as to the last illness and death of Laxmibai all clearly pointed to the conclusion that death was due to hypoglycemia and that hypoglycemia might be one of the possible causes of her death. The trial Court however held that there was nothing to show in the symptoms that hypoglycemia could have been of spontaneous origin though the matter was not very clear. It would seem that the trial Court thought that the hypoglycemia had been induced by two injections of insulin given by the appellant to Laxmibai sometime on November 12. The trial Court for this purpose relied on the evidence of Shantabai a maid servant employed by Laxmibai, who said that on November 12, the appellant gave Laxmibai two injections. This maid servant was deaf and dumb and her evidence must be of doubtful value.

However that may be, there is nothing to show that death was caused by hypoglycemia brought about by the two injections given by the appellant, assuming that he had given them. It has to be remembered that in the hospital Laxmibai was given two further injections of insulin of 40 units each. It may be that these injections really caused her death. That is a possibility which on the finding of the trial Court cannot be brushed aside. Now, if that is so, then clearly the appellant is not responsible for the death of Laxmibai. He had done nothing to induce Dr. Anija or any of the other doctors in the hospital to give more insulin to Laxmibai.

There is no evidence to that effect. Dr. Anija was clear in her evidence that she never consulted Dr. Lagu regarding the diagnosis that death was due to diabetic. I need not further into this aspect of the 566 matter for all that I wish to point out is that the trial Court had thought that hopoglycemia might be the cause of death. The High Court, thought that it was not possible in view of the absence of evidence about the time taken for insulin to induce hypoglycemia to hold that death was due to hypoglycemia induced by a massive dose of insulin. It seems to me that if there was no evidence, that was the fault of the prosecution and not of the appellant. In all cases and particularly in a case of this kind, it is the duty of the prosecution to prove that the death was an unnatural death and exclude by evidence completely, the possibility of death having been caused by some instrumentality other than the appellant. This is another reason for saying that it has not been clearly established in this case that Laxmibai's death was an unnatural death or has been caused by the appellant. I have so long been discussing the facts which are supposed to lead towards the guilt of the appellant. I propose now to deal with some of the facts which seem to be in his favour. The prosecution case is that the appellant had in the train administered to her an undetectable poison which caused her death. Now, if the appellant had done that, he must have made a plan for it before he started on the journey to Bombay with her from Poona. It seems unlikely that if he had done that, he would have made no effort to keep it a secret that he was taking her to Bombay. The evidence is clear that he made no such effort. The next fact that has to be faced by the prosecution is that the railway compartment would be a most unusualplace in which to administer a poison. The appellant could not have expected that there would be a compartment for Laxmibai and himself in which there would be no other passenger. Indeed the trial Court thought that there must have been other passengers in that compartment. That being so, it becomes improbable that the appellant had planned to poison her in the train. Again, it has been proved as a fact by Dr. Sathe himself that the appellant had made an appointment with him for November 13. Was it necessary for him to have done this if he knew that Laxmibai would die before the hour fixed with Dr. Sathe ? Further, if he had administered 567 a poison to Laxmibai, would he have taken her to a. public hospital? That would have been impossible unless the appellant was perfectly certain that the poison was absolutely undetectable. That requires a great deal of knowledge of poisonous drugs which there is no evidence to think the appellant possessed. But assume that the appellant was so certain that the poison would never be detected, why then should he have worried about the postmortem examination at all? If it is found that the appellant had not prevented the postmortem examination being held, there would be very little on which to base his conviction for the murder of Laxmibai by poisoning. Nor can it be said that the appellant was not sure whether the poison would be detected or not, but none the less took the risk of taking the unconscious Laxmibai to the G. in the hope that if any difficulty arose, he could rely on Dr. Mouskar to help him. There is no evidence on which we can hold that Dr. Mouskar would have helped him if any suspicion as to Laxmibai's death having been caused by poision had arisen. It has to be remembered that Dr.

Mouskar was not doing the work of a physician in the hospital but was in charge only of the administration. All these are very strong circumstances indicating that the appellant had not administered any poison to Laxmibai on the train. Very cogent reasons would be required to dispel the presumption in favour of the appellant arising from them. I find no such reasons in the case.

In the net result the circumstances appear to me to be these. First, the appellant had a design during Laxmibai's lifetime to misappropriate her properties. This only supplies the motive for causing her death but does not prove that the death which occurred, was an unnatural death.

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