First Case File Of The Planning Forum,St Stephen’s College’s Moot Court Competition “Error and Trial: Justice and Jury”

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The Planning Forum, St. Stephen’s College, proudly announces the return of its Moot Court Competition Р“Error and Trial: Justice and Jury” to be held on 14th and 15th of October, 2017.

The competition is an initiative to introduce a moot court styled competition for non-law students. The aim of the competition is to give non-law students an idea of the courtroom battles in the country and perhaps push them towards considering their skills and abilities in the field of law. We will follow a semi-moot court format and will have participants from all backgrounds of academia sans law.

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The two day event shall see a two-legged preliminary round on the first and the semi-finals and final on the second. There will be two case problems argued throughout the tournament, one each on either day.

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The first of the two case problems is as follows:

Sumit is a 6 year old boy who lives in X Block, Flat 62-A,  Malviya Nagar, New Delhi. His father, Mr. Anil Mishra, is a chemist who has a store in Lado Sarai, and his mother, Mrs. Pooja Mishra, is a waiter at a resto pub in Hauz Khas village. Sumit is a student at Shri Balram School, Gurgaon, and is an ace swimmer for a person his age. The maid, Asmita, also lives in the same house and has been with the family ever since Sumit was born. Sumit was loved by all in his family, and had an insurance policy worth INR. 25 lakhs.

On 1st January, 2017, Sumit was found unconscious in the bathtub of his room, by the maid, Asmita, at 11 am, while Anil and Pooja had gone for work. Asmita immediately called for the ambulance, and then informed Pooja and Anil over the phone. Asmita accompanied Sumit in the ambulance, who gained his senses partially and was talking to the doctor in the ambulance. When the ambulance arrived at AIIMS at 11:45 am, Sumit was in his senses but was frothing in the mouth, and was immediately taken to the I.C.U.  While Sumit was in the I.C.U, his mother reached AIIMS and was able to meet Sumit. 20 minutes later, a team of Delhi Police, which had been alerted by the ambulance service provider, also arrived at the AIIMS trauma centre’s ICU. Sumit gave a statement to the police under medical supervision. However, at 12:50 pm, Sumit suffered a multiple organ failure and succumbed. Anil only arrived at 01:15 pm. Sumit was declared dead by then, and the post-mortem as well as viscera report revealed traces of poison in his stomach as well as symptoms of ‘dry drowning’.

On the basis of statements recorded of witnesses, the police filed a charge sheet against Anil Mishra and Asmita, and the trial court found Asmita guilty of the offence under Sec. 302 IPC, and Anil under Sec. 302 r/w 120 B IPC, and sentenced both to life imprisonment. Against the order of conviction, Anil and Asmita have now filed an appeal in the High Court of Delhi, inter-alia, on the following grounds:-

A. That multiple and inconsistent dying declarations vitiate the prosecution case.
B. That the witness, being a child, was not a reliable witness.
C. That the ingredients of conspiracy have not been proved, and thus, assuming arguendo, even if Asmita is found guilty, Anil is entitled to be released.

The Petitioners must forward arguments in support of the aforesaid grounds, and the Respondent state must forward arguments seeking that the Trial court decision be upheld at the next date of hearing, wherein the case is listed for final arguments. The parties are free to take more grounds if required based on the facts of the case, but the aforesaid grounds must be addressed.

Statement 1: Ms. Asmita

“I had gone out for vegetable shopping to Neb Sarai area at 9 am from Malviya Nagar and returned around 10:45 am on that day. I was preparing the vegetables for cooking lunch around 11 am, when I went to check if Sumit had finished bathing. I found him floating on the surface of the bath-tub, unconscious. I immediately called the ambulance and then informed Madam ji and Anil ji. In the ambulance, Sumit baba regained consciousness, and stated that he had seen a green coloured bottle in the bathroom, and he thought that it was going to be tasty, so he drank some of it before entering the bath-tub. After that he stated that he did not remember when he fell asleep. While talking, his mouth started frothing.

Sir and Madam have a healthy relationship and they do not have any fights whatsoever. They are both nice people.” (Witness was weeping through her statement)

Statement 2: Mr. Anil Mishra

“I left for my shop as usual at around 9 am. I got a call from Asmita at 11:15 am telling me that Sumit was being taken to AIIMS. I rushed to AIIMS, but due to traffic, could not make it in time. (Witness cries) I have failed as a father. I have nothing more to say. I hope my child will forgive me.”

Statement 3: Mrs. Pooja Mishra

“I left for  Khas that morning around 10 am. It was New Year’s morning so the restaurant had to be set up, so we were required to reach earlier than the usual time of 12 noon. At around 11:10 am, I got a call from Asmita, who informed me that Sumit was unconscious and was being taken to AIIMS. I rushed to AIIMS. While I was there trying to comfort Sumit, the police recorded a statement of Sumit. I was shocked to hear from Sumit that Asmita had given her a green bottle to drink from before he went for his bath, and that he fell asleep in the bath-tub. I never thought Asmita would poison my son, although she was a witch who had poisoned my marriage already.”

Statement 4: Dr. Barua

“I was attending to the patient Sumit in the ambulance and was talking to him. The child told me that he had seen a green bottle next to his bath-tub and in his curiosity had consumed the contents of the bottle, and kept the bottle next to the bath-tub. The maid Asmita was continuously comforting the child and did not for a second leave the child unattended in the ambulance. She really seemed to love the child.”

Statement 5: Mr. Valsu Tamtu

“I am the next door neighbour of the Mishras. It is a tragedy that was waiting to happen. The continuous fights between the couple, and Mr. Mishra’s infamous affair with his maid had become the talk of our colony. Just that none of us expected that their son would have to pay the price. Actually, all of this is a fall-out of demonetisation. Ever since the Mishras lost all that money, it was evident that their lives were turning for the worse.”

Statement 6: Mr. Bajirao Singham, SHO Malviya Nagar PS

“The incident happened on 1st January morning. It is a very busy day for the cops, so we took some time to reach AIIMS. We reached around noon. The child recorded a statement, wherein he stated that the maid Asmita had given him the green bottle and asked him to drink from it. It became clear to us after the post-mortem and viscera report that the death was caused by poisoning, so we arrested Asmita. We scanned the call data records of Anil, Pooja and Asmita, and found that Asmita used to call Anil with much greater frequency and for longer time durations than she called Pooja. On the day of the incident, the CDR record reveals that Anil and Asmita were in the same locality in Press Enclave Marg from 9:15 to 9:45 am. The testimony of Mr. Tamtu regarding the affair between Asmita and Anil, and the regular fights between the couple, was the final nail in the coffin, after which we decided to arrest Anil also. I sent a team to the house that very day and we recovered the green bottle from the shelf on top of the mirror inside the bathroom. It was a regular insect killer as revealed by the Forensic Sciences Laboratory, and was from Anil’s own shop, as was evident from the bottle’s cap. The bottle had the fingerprints of Sumit, as well as Pooja and Asmita. We could not ascertain when the bottle was purchased as the wrapper on its body had been washed off. During interrogation, Asmita admitted to having an affair with Anil, but stated that she was innocent and that they had not killed Sumit. We think the motive for the killing is the money from the insurance company. It is God’s justice that after the Trial court’s judgment, the insurance company has decided that the mother should be given the amount, and not that father who killed the child, as is their policy against those persons who are involved in any illegal activity to make a claim for the policy amount.”

Relevant Laws

The relevant laws for this case are the Indian Penal Code and the Indian Evidence Act. The Code of Criminal Procedure, though not essential, may be resorted to. Arguments must be backed by judgments which endorse the position argued. An argument, without having the seal of the Supreme Court’s or a High Court’s¬† authority expressed through a judgment, is not binding on the jury.¬† The relevant judgments can be searched from¬†indiankanoon.org.

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Shivam Malhotra
A social media enthusiast who is in love with this digital world! Wrote the first article for DU Express in May 2016.

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