• Legis Scriptor

Ammini and others v. State of Kerala

Authored by - Aman Porwal

Keywords - Ammini and others v. The State of Kerala, Criminal Conspiracy, Murder, High Court of Kerala, Section 302 of Indian Penal Code, Section 10 of Indian Evidence Act, IPC, The Supreme Court of India.


Jealousy, fear, avenge, conspiracy, and murder. This case is primarily about these five terms. Four accused and three people, including two children were murdered. In this case, the judicial interpretation made by the High Court of Kerala is the key takeaway. The three of four accused in this case were convicted under Section 120 B(1), Section 302 read with Section 34 of the Indian Penal code, 1860.The remaining accused was convicted under Section 411 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860. An appeal was filled in this case under Section 2(a) of the Supreme Court (Enlargement of Criminal Appellate Jurisdiction) Act, 1970. This case was also cited in many cases as in Bhagwan Singh v. State of Madhya Pradesh[1], Showkhat Ali and others v. The State of Kerala[2]


This case is a classic example of interpretation of law by the different hierarchy of courts. This case revolves around a family of four people including two children and a business of four partners. The personal enmity of people in business had resulted into the death of three people after multiple attempts. The judgement held by the Trial Court lead to the interpretation of Section 10 of Indian Evidence Act, 1872 by the High Court of Kerala.


Tomy, Francis, Merli & Josephine are partners in three business entities namely, Rani Silk House, Maharani Textiles, and Rani Cut Piece Centre. In 1975, Francis died and Ammini joined the first two firms namely Rani Silk House and Maharani Textiles. However, Ammini was not allowed to join the third firm by Tomy because Francis withdrew all his capital before his death.Ammini was also assisted by Tomy financially. In 1979,Ammini fell ill and her neighbor Kartikeyan was seen coming to the hospital. Ammini and Kartikeyan were having an illicit affair.Merli is the wife of Tomy.Merli told Tomy about the illicit intimacy with Kartikeyan. Ammini was furious over Tomy and his family. In 1980, Ammini fell humiliated when at one instance,Ammini visited Maharani textiles and Tomyasked the salesman to give Ammini cheaper goods. Ammini and Kartikeyan tried black magic to deal with Tomy but they failed. In addition to this, multiple attempts were made to kill Tomy. Thomas also joined the conspiracy to kill Tomy. There were multiple attempts made to kill Tomy. The first attempt was made by Ammini and Johny (his family) by putting insecticide inTomy’s horse,but they failed. The second attempt was made by Thomas for One Lakh Rupees by the use of chloroform and insecticide on Merli and along with both the children but failed due to the presence of Josephine. After these failed attempts, Ammini, Johny, and Tomas made asuccessful attempt by forcefully giving cyanide (a dangerous poison) to Merli and both the children. After a few hours, Tomy came and saw his family dead. Tomy asked for his neighbors for help.

The Trial Court held that there is not enough evidence to support murder by the four accused, even after the confessions made by Thomas (accused no. 4). The Trial Court ordered the acquittal of all the parties accused in the case.


In this case, the Trial Court said that confession can only be used against the same person who confessed about the crime and not against any other accused.

The High Court corrected the judgement declared by the Trial Court and changed the view made by Trial Court in respect to Section 10 of the Indian Evidence Act. The Court stated that there was a reasonable ground to believe that two or more than two persons have conspired about to commit an offence. Anything said, done or written by any of such persons in reference to their common intention, after the time when such intention was first entertained by any one of them, is a relevant fact.High Court also added that in this case that confession made by Thomas could be used against the other accused also.


The High Court of Kerala changed the view of Trial Court in regard to many aspects. Since Trial Court has not found any motive behind the murder of Merli and her two kids, it also denied the number of theories and evidences presented by the prosecution before the Court. The High Court of Kerala corrected the Trial Court and supported the evidence which were presented by the prosecution to the Trial Court. Subsequently,High Court found reasonable grounds to convict the four accused namely, Ammini, Kartikeyan, Johny, and Thomas. The High Court also found sufficient evidence to get to the conclusion that all four accused are involved in a criminal conspiracy and murder Merli and her children. The High Court of Kerala Convicted accused Ammini, Johny, and Thomas under section 120-B(1), Section 302 read with Section 34 of Indian Penal code, and Kartikeyan under Section 411 of Indian Penal Code. The Supreme Court of India also dismissed the appeal filed by the accused under Section 2(a) of the Supreme Court (Enlargement of criminal appellate jurisdiction) Act, 1970.

Concepts Highlighted

In this case, the interpretation made by the High Court of Kerala regarding Section 10 of the Indian Evidence Act,1872 is the biggest takeaway throughout the case. The High Court stated that if a person admitted the crime and the same crime is conspired by two or more persons including the person who admitted, with the same intention, then the admission of the crime by that person can be used against the other accused. Hence, there were four accused, in which one accused named Thomas admitted the crime, then the admission made by Thomas was allowed to be used against the other three accused also.

[1] Criminal Appeal No. 163 Of 1986 [2] 2008 (1) KLJ 923