Supreme Court Reiterates That the Principle of Evidence Favoring the Accused to Be Considered

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A Full Bench of the Supreme Court acquitted the Accused overruling the Trial Court and the High Court’s conviction for murder. Relevant evidence could not be established.

Brief facts of the case

The Appellant Accused was held guilty of murder by the High Court of Chhattisgarh. However, his co-accused was acquitted by the same Court.

The Appellant Accused has challenged the verdict through the present appeal.

Appellant’s Arguments

The weapons recovered from the house of the Accused were not linked to the murder. The only eye-witness had poor eyesight, and the crime occurred on a cloudy evening.

The past land dispute cannot be a direct motive for the murder since it was resolved more than two years before this crime.

The minor injuries found on the body of the Accused is indicated to be caused by thorny shrubs.

Arguments by the State

The land dispute is very much relevant. The victim was tried for the murder of Sildhar, the brother of the accused. Hence, the Accused had the motive for the crime. Also, the weapons of assault were recovered from the place pointed out by the accused.

The eye-witness heard the deceased cry out and saw him being assaulted by the accused.

Court’s Observation

The Court noted that the recovered weapons had not been proven to be linked to the present murder.

It stated that the evidence by a Test Identification Parade (TIP) is not a substantive piece of evidence but can only be used along with Court’s statements. The police could not have been present during such identification. Further, the TIP also shows a mismatch in the number of lungis.

The Court also noted that the recovered lungi could not be distinguished to belong to the accused.

The sole eye-witness knew the victim, but he did not take any active steps to report the incident to the police or inform any of the family members. His reaction and conduct do not match the ordinary reaction of a person who knew the deceased victim and his family. His poor vision and hearing capacity makes his testimony unreliable.

The Court observed that the victim’s father stated that the land dispute was finally decided. Also, the brother of the Accused, Sildhar, was murdered when the land dispute was pending.

Thus, a direct motive of the Accused cannot be established.

This is because if two views are possible in a case, one pointing to the accused’s guilt and the other to his innocence, the view favourable to the accused should be adopted.

Court’s Decision

The Bench acquitted the Appellant Accused due to the absence of evidence against him. It overruled his conviction by the High Court and Trial court.

Click here to view the judgment.


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