"The prima facie material collected by the prosecution justifies the framing of additional charge under section 302 (murder) of IPC.
"The revision petition is disposed of with a direction to the trial court to frame additional charge under section 302 of IPC," Justice Indermeet Kaur said while deciding two separate pleas of Ilyasi and his mother-in-law Rukma Singh.
Singh had in her plea sought inclusion of the additional charge of murder against Ilyasi for the death of her daughter on January 11, 2000.
On the other hand, Ilyasi, who had been facing trial for the last 14 years under the comparatively milder sections including 304B (dowry death) of the IPC, had moved the court against a decision of police to form a fresh medical panel to ascertain the nature of his wife's death.
While dismissing his plea as being without merit, Justice Kaur said "the opinion of the newly-constituted medical board would in fact assist the court in coming to a conclusion as to whether death of the victim was suicidal or homicidal." Ilyasi had alleged that the setting up of the medical board was illegal as it was being done after filing of charge sheet and framing of charges for the offence of dowry death.
Additional Public Prosecutor Fizani Hussain had argued that setting up of the medical board was part of the police' power under the statute to carry out further investigation even after filing of the charge sheet. Anju had been rushed to a hospital on January 11, 2000 with fatal stab wounds allegedly received by her at her East Delhi residence.
Ilyasi, who had shot into limelight after hosting TV crime show - 'India's Most Wanted', was arrested on March 28, 2000 and later, charges were framed against him in the case after his sister-in-law and mother-in-law alleged that he used to torture his wife for dowry.
The court, while directing framing of the additional charge of murder, also took into account the dissenting opinion of Dr LC Gupta, who was part of the earlier three- member panel set up to ascertain the nature of the victim's death.
Based upon the injuries on the victim's body, two of the doctors had opined that her death was a suicide while Dr Gupta had said homicide cannot be ruled out.
Justice Kaur noted that the dissenting view was available before the trial court at the time of framing of charges when only a prima facie view needs to be taken. "There is no doubt that the dissenting opinion of Dr L C Gupta dated August 30, 2001, holding that homicide cannot be ruled out was available even prior to filing of the charge sheet and this was material available with the sessions court at the time of framing of the first charge...," the court said.
It also noted that the testimonies of the victim's two sisters were "prima facie sufficient" to frame the additional charge of murder.
"In the view of this court, testimonies of prosecution witness 18 and 20 (sisters of the victim) recorded on oath are relevant facts which are prima facie sufficient to constitute the framing of additional charge under section 302 of IPC," the court said.
In his plea, Ilyasi had contended that when the trial is at its fag end, police, without getting sanction from the lower court, constituted a medical board to examine afresh the reasons of his wife's death.
Rukma Singh had moved high court against the trial court's February 19, 2011, order rejecting her plea to invoke the additional murder charge against her son-in-law Ilyasi.
Police had chargesheeted Ilyasi on March 29, 2003, and the court later framed charges against him under sections 498A (subjecting a married woman to cruelty) and 304B (dowry death) of the IPC.