WOMEN AND IDENTIFICATION OF STOLEN PROPERTY
WOMEN AND IDENTIFICATION OF STOLEN ARTICLES
EARABHADRAPPA ALIAS KRISHNAPPA Vs. STATE OF KARNATAKA
1983 AIR SC 446 = 1983 SCR (2) 552= 1983 SCC (2) 330 1983 SCALE (1)254
“Our attention was drawn to the testimony of P.W. 13Narayanareddy who, during his cross-examination, stated that ornaments similar to the gold rope chain and the pair of gold bangles were available everywhere and that other ornaments were also in his house. From this it is sought to be argued that the seized ornaments cannot be treated to be
stolen property as they are ordinary ornaments in common use. Nothing really turns on this because P.W. 2 Smt. Bayamma, mother-in-law of the deceased, her husband P.W. 13 Makarappa and son P.W. 4 G.M. Prakash have categorically stated that the seized ornaments belonged to the deceased Smt. Bachamma. There is no reason why the testimony of these witnesses should not be relied upon particularly when P.W. 2 Smt. Baymma was not cross-examined at all as regards her identification of the seized ornaments and clothes as belonging to the deceased. Even if the seized ornaments could be treated to be ornaments in common use, this witness could never make a mistake in identifying the seized six silk sarees (M.Os. 10 to 15). It is a matter of common knowledge that ladies have an uncanny sense of identifying their own belongings, particularly articles of personal use in the family. That apart, the description of the silk
sarees in question shows that they were expensive sarees with distinctive designs. There is no merit in the contention that the testimony of these witnesses as regards the identity of the seized articles to be stolen property cannot be relied upon for want of prior test identification. There is no such legal requirement.
This is a case where murder and robbery are proved to have been integral parts of one and the same transaction and therefore the presumption arising under illustration (a) to s. 114 of the Evidence Act is that not only the appellant committed the murder of the deceased but also committed robbery of her gold ornaments which form part of the same
transaction. The prosecution has led sufficient evidence to connect the appellant with the commission of the crime. The sudden disappearance of the appellant from the house of P.W.3 on the morning of March 22, 1979 when 562
it was discovered that the deceased had been strangulated to death and relieved of her gold ornaments, coupled with the circumstance that he was absconding for a period of over one year till he was apprehended by P.W. 26 at village Hosahally on March 29, 1980, taken with the circumstance that he made the statement Ex. P-35 immediately upon his arrest leading
to the discovery of the stolen articles, must necessarily raise the inference that the appellant alone and no one else was guilty of having committed the murder of the deceased and robbery of her gold ornaments. The appellant had no satisfactory explanation to offer for his possession of the stolen property. On the contrary, he denied that the stolen property was recovered from him. The false denial by itself is an incriminating circumstance. The nature of presumption under illustration (a) to s. 114 must depend upon the nature of the evidence adduced. No fixed time limit can be laid down to determine whether possession is recent or otherwise
and each case must be judged on its own facts. The question as to what amounts to recent possession sufficient to justify the presumption of guilt varies according as the stolen article is or is not calculated to pass readily from hand to hand. If the stolen articles were such as were not
likely to pass readily from hand to hand, the period of one year that elapsed cannot be said to be too long particularly when the appellant had been absconding during that period. There was no lapse of time between the date of his arrest and the recovery of the stolen property.