criminal trial

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Criminal trial  - Each criminal trial is but a quest for search of the truth - The duty of a judge presiding over a criminal trial is not merely to see that no innocent person is punished, but also to see that a guilty person does not escape - One is as important as the other - Both are public duties which the Judge has to perform.  19.09.2018 / (2018)2 SCeJ 1453

 

Criminal trial - Corroborative evidence being a voluntary extra judicial confession  considering the nature of relationship between the witness and the appellant - Normally the evidence of the wife, husband, son or daughter of the deceased, is given great weightage on the principle that there is no reason for them not to speak the truth and shield the real culprit -  We see no reason why the same principle cannot be applied when such a witness deposes against a closely related accused - According to normal human behavior and conduct, a witness would tend to shield and protect a closely related accused - It would require great courage of conviction and moral strength for a daughter to depose against her own mother who is an accused - There is no reason why the same reverse weightage shall not be given to the credibility of such a witness.  Held,  PW4 is the daughter of the appellant. She has deposed that two days prior to the occurrence the appellant had threatened the witness to leave PW1 else she would get his family members killed. Soon after the occurrence having reached the house of her inlaws she stepped out on the verandah. The appellant who was standing on her own verandah told the witness that she had got the deceased killed because the witness did not listen to her and that her husband would be killed next. In cross-examination she reiterated the same. The statement, in our opinion, can be considered as a corroborative evidence being a voluntary extra judicial confession, considering the nature of relationship between the witness and the appellant. 19.09.2018 / (2018)2 SCeJ 1453

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Witness – Evidence - It is a well settled position of law that the testimony of a witness cannot be discarded in toto merely due to the presence of embellishments  or  exaggerations -  It is not uncommon for witnesses to make exaggerations during the course of evidence - But merely because there are certain exaggerations, improvements and embellishments, the entire prosecution story should not be doubted - Moreover, minor variations in the evidence will not affect the root of the matter, inasmuch as such minor variations need not be given major importance, inasmuch as they would not materially alter the evidence/credibility of the eye witnesses as a whole - Criminal Trial.  (Ranjit Singh v. State of Punjab, (1974) 4 SCC 552).   (2018)2 SCeJournal 1390

Criminal trial - Ocular  testimony and Medical evidence - With regard to the conflict between the ocular  testimony and the medical evidence, in our considered opinion, the High Court has ignored the fact that lathis were also used while assaulting along with sharp edge weapons - It  is  by  now well settled that the medical evidence cannot override the evidence of ocular testimony of the witnesses - If there  is  a  conflict between the ocular testimony and the medical evidence, naturally the ocular testimony prevails - In other words,  where  the eye witnesses account is found to be  trustworthy  and credible, medical opinion pointing to alternative possibilities is not accepted as conclusive . (2018)2 SCeJournal 1390


Criminal prosecution - Whether in a criminal prosecution, it will be in consonance with the principles of justice, fair play and a fair investigation, if the informant and the investigating officer were to be the same person -  In such a case, is it necessary for the accused to demonstrate prejudice, especially under laws such as NDPS Act, carrying a reverse burden of proof - In a criminal prosecution, there is an obligation cast on the investigator not only to be fair, judicious and just during investigation, but also that the investigation on the very face of it must appear to be so, eschewing any conduct or impression which may give rise to a real and genuine apprehension in the mind of an accused and not mere fanciful, that the investigation was not fair - In the circumstances, if an informant police official in a criminal prosecution, especially when carrying a reverse burden of proof, makes the allegations, is himself asked to investigate, serious doubts will naturally arise with regard to his fairness and impartiality - It is not necessary that bias must actually be proved - It would be illogical to presume and contrary to normal human conduct, that he would himself at the end of the investigation submit a closure report to conclude false implication with all its attendant consequences for the complainant himself - The result of the investigation would therefore be a foregone conclusion - Constitution of India, Article 21. (2018)2 SC eJournal 1314

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FIR - Non-reporting of essential facts which were known to the informant in the FIR -  

(2018)2 SCeJ 1296 : SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

AUGUST 03, 2018

 

 

FIR - Non-reporting of essential facts which were known to the informant in the FIR -  Although we accept that FIR need not be an encyclopedia of the crime, but absence of certain essential facts, which were conspicuously missing in the present FIR, point towards suspicion that the crime itself may be staged – Case that in the intervening night some unknown persons committed dacoity in the house of informant and also in the adjoining house of his uncle- MJ wherein in the course of dacoity, the dacoits fired gun shot towards MJ who died - PW-1, 2, 3, 4, 8, 10 & 12 belong to the same family of the deceased and reside in the same house – Informant of this case is the nephew of deceased who lives in an adjacent house -  In the FIR, he has failed to mention the name of PW-1, who is a significant person as per the prosecution as he had allegedly identified the accused-who were the dacoits responsible for the aforesaid crime – Informant states that he was aware of presence of PW-1 during the incident but he failed to mention his name in the FIR - Such non-mentioning of presence of PW-1, who was a material witness in this case, creates further suspicion on the hypothesis portrayed by the prosecution - Informant was aware of the names of dacoits who had killed the deceased but failed to name them in the FIR which was also lodged  after a lapse of 3 hours - Despite sufficient time for the informant to gather necessary information, which he did, the names of two accused respondents have conspicuously been missing, which also formed an additional factor for the High Court to acquit accused respondents. 

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Test Identification Parade - Inadequacy of  -

(2018)2 SCeJ 1296 : SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

August 03, 2018

 

Test Identification Parade - Inadequacy of  - Though it is a case of the prosecution that the dacoits were armed with a gun, the country made pistol, lathis and bamboos etc., but none of these weapons were recovered from the accused persons except a piece of dhoti, blouse and nose stud, other articles alleged to have been stolen by the dacoits were not recovered - Accused were not subjected to T.I.P. -  In this context we may note that in cases like present one T.I.P. acquires significance and lack of conduction of the same cannot be ignored - It is well settled that non-conduction of T.I.P. may not itself be fatal to the prosecution case but certainly it must be weighed in by the Court while considering the facts and circumstances of each case – Criminal Trial.

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Lack of recovery and identification of stolen articles 

(2018)2 SCeJ 1296 : SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

AUGUST 03, 2018

 

Criminal Trial - Lack of recovery and identification of stolen articles -  These articles which were recovered from M which have been identified only by 3 PWs  - Although, number of witnesses including the family members witnessed the aforesaid dacoity, only three persons could individually identify three different objects separately which this Court finds suspicious to believe in – In the light of facts and circumstances cannot lend any credibility to the alleged allegations regarding dacoity.

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STATEMENT OF CO-ACCUSED  ONLY 

Update 3rd August, 2018

Criminal trial – Statement of co-accused  only - Apart from the statements of co-accused there is no material suggesting involvement of the appellant in the crime in question -  Appellant is entitled to be acquitted of the charges

 Held,

 We are thus left with only one piece of material that is the confessional statements of the co-accused as stated above - On the touchstone of law laid down by this Court such a confessional statement of a co-accused cannot by itself be taken as a substantive piece of evidence against another co-accused and can at best be used or utilized in order to lend assurance to the Court - In the absence of any substantive evidence it would be inappropriate to base the conviction of the appellant purely on the statements of co-accused - The appellant is therefore entitled to be acquitted of the charges leveled against him.

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Sentencing GUIDELINES

1st August, 2018 -  Supreme Court

Sentence  -  Sentencing guidelines  - Currently, India does not have structured sentencing guidelines that have been issued either by the legislature or the judiciary - However, the Courts have framed certain guidelines in the matter of imposition of sentence - A Judge has wide discretion in awarding the sentence within the statutory limits -   Since in many offences only the maximum  punishment is prescribed and for some offences the minimum punishment is prescribed, each Judge exercises his discretion accordingly - There cannot, therefore, be any uniformity - However, this Court has repeatedly held that  the Courts will have to take into account certain principles while  exercising  their  discretion  in  sentencing,  such  as proportionality, deterrence and rehabilitation -  In a proportionality analysis, it is necessary to assess the seriousness of an offence in order to determine the commensurate punishment for the offender - The seriousness of an offence depends, apart from other things, also upon its harmfulness -  The principle  governing  the  imposition  of  punishment  will depend upon the facts and circumstances of each case -  However, the sentence should be appropriate, adequate, just, proportionate and commensurate with the nature and gravity of the crime and the manner in which the crime is committed - The gravity of the crime, motive for the crime, nature of the crime and all other attending circumstances have to be borne in mind while imposing the sentence - The Court cannot afford to be casual while imposing the sentence, inasmuch as both the crime and the criminal are equally important in the sentencing process - The Courts must see that the public does not lose confidence in the judicial system - Imposing inadequate sentences will do more harm to the justice system and may lead to a state where the victim loses confidence in the judicial system and resorts to private vengeance.   (2018)2 SCeJ 1283

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 1st August, 2018 -  Supreme Court

Indian Penal Code, Sections 325 and 323 – High Court reduced the sentence from 3 years’ rigorous imprisonment for the offences under Section 325, IPC and 6 months’ rigorous imprisonment under Section 323, IPC to the period already undergone of 6 days – Fight emanating from due to old enmity relating to a land dispute causing grievous injuries  -  Accused had filed appeal questioning his conviction and sentence before the High Court, but during the course of arguments he did not press the appeal filed against the judgment of conviction, praying only for reduction of sentence -  High Court accepting such request reduced the sentence to the period already undergone of 6 days - Trial Court and the High Court have taken a lenient view by convicting the accused for offences under Sections 325 and 323, IPC - Absolutely no reasons, much less valid reasons, are assigned by the High Court to impose the meagre sentence of 6 days - Such imposition of sentence by the High Court shocks the judicial conscience of this Court - It is brought to our notice that the parties have forgotten their differences and are living peacefully since 25 years, we impose a sentence of 6 months’ rigorous imprisonment and a fine of Rs. 25,000/- against the accused -  While doing so, we have taken into consideration the aggravating as well as mitigating factors under the facts of this case.  (2018)2 SCeJ 1283

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Criminal investigation - Preliminary enquiry – General Diary - Preliminary enquiry and the consequent Source Report filed by the Officer were done without entering the same in the General Diary  - The absence of entries in the General Diary concerning the preliminary enquiry would not be per se illegal -  Non­maintenance of General Diary may have consequences on the merits of the case, which is a matter of trial  - Our attention is not drawn to any bar under any provision of CrPC barring investigating authority to investigate into matter, which may for some justifiable ground, not found to have been entered in the General Diary right after receiving the Confidential Information - Held, as the concept of maintaining General Diary has its origin under the Section 44 of Police Act of 1861 as applicable to States, which makes it an obligation for the concerned Police Officer to maintain a General Diary, but such non­ maintenance per se may not be rendering the whole prosecution illegal - However, on the other hand, we are aware of the fact that such non­maintenance of General Diary may have consequences on the merits of the case, which is a matter of trial - The explanation of the genesis of a criminal case, in some cases, plays an important role in establishing the prosecution’s case -  That the binding conclusions reached in the paragraph 120.8 of Lalitha Kumari, (2014) 2 SCC 1 is an obligation of best efforts for the concerned officer to record all events concerning an enquiry - If the Officer has not recorded, then it is for the trial court to weigh the effect of the same for reasons provided therein - A court under a writ jurisdiction or under the inherent jurisdiction of the High Court is ill equipped to answer such questions of facts - Police Act, 1861  Section 44. Held,  Our conclusion herein is strengthened by the fact that CrPC itself has differentiated between irregularity and illegality. The obligation of maintenance of General Diary is part of course of conduct of the concerned officer, which may not itself have any bearing on the criminal trial unless some grave prejudice going to the root of matter is shown to exist at the time of the trial. Conspicuous absence of any provision under CrPC concerning the omissions and errors during investigation also bolsters the conclusion reached herein. Moreover, the requirement of the preliminary enquiry is well established by judicial precedents as a check on mushrooming false prosecution against public servants by persons who misuse the process of law for their personal vengeance. Such preliminary check would be beneficial and has been continuously approved by catena of judgments of this Court. (2018)2 SCeJ 1212

 


Framing of charges

Criminal trial – Framing of Chares  - Distinct charges should have been framed with respect to each of the deceased  - In the case on hand where three persons died, the charge under Section 302 must have been framed on three counts against specifically named accused with respect to each of the deceased - Assuming for the sake of argument, that all the 17 persons are accused of causing the death of each one of the three deceased, distinct charges should have been framed with respect to each of the deceased - It is also necessary that the court should record a specific finding as to the guilt of the accused under Section 302 IPC qua the death of a named deceased - If different accused are prosecuted for causing the death of the three different deceased, then distinct charges should have been framed specifying which of the accused are charged for the offence of causing the death of which one of the three different deceased - Charges should also have been proved clearly indicating which of the accused is charged for the offence under Section 302 simpliciter or which of the accused are vicariously liable under Section 149 IPC for causing the death of one or more of the three deceased. 

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Criminal trial – Framing of defective charges  - Legal consequences of framing defective charges or omission in charges - An erroneous or irregular or even absence of a specific charge shall not render the conviction recorded by a court invalid unless the appellate court comes to a conclusion that failure of justice has in fact been occasioned thereby.

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Criminal law - Doctrine of vicarious liability - The doctrine is well known in civil law especially in the branch of torts, but is applied very sparingly in criminal law only when there is a clear legislative command.

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Criminal trial – Procedure – Framing of Issues  - The Sessions Court purported to frame 'issues' - a practice statutorily mandated under the Code of Civil Procedure as one of the ingredients of the adjudication of a suit - But, we are informed that in the State of Gujarat the practice of framing "issues" is prevalent even in the trial of a criminal case -  'Issues' are not the same as "charges" -  They are not framed prior to the commencement of trial - They are only 'identified' at the time of writing the judgment.      

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Criminal trial -  The question is whether this court would be justified in reversing the finding of acquittal in the case on hand on the grounds that (i) the framing of charges is egregiously erroneous and not in accordance with the provisions of the CrPC; or (ii) the courts below failed to record appropriate findings with respect to the various offences which the accused are said to have committed; or (iii) the 1st appellate court's reasoning in declining to reverse a finding of acquittal recorded by the trial court is defective? The answer to the question, in our opinion, should be in the negative.

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Criminal trial - Evidence Act, S. 33 -  In Sessions Case No. X , no evidence was recorded independently -  On the other hand, the evidence recorded in Sessions Case No. Y was marked as evidence in Sessions Case No. X- The Indian Evidence Act, 1872 does not permit such a mode of proof of any fact barring in exceptional situations contemplated in Section 33 of the Indian Evidence Act.

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Criminal trial -  Defective trial  - (i) the framing of charges is egregiously erroneous and not in accordance with the provisions of the CrPC; or (ii) the courts below failed to record appropriate findings with respect to the various offences which the accused are said to have committed; or (iii) the 1st appellate court's reasoning in declining to reverse a finding of acquittal recorded by the trial court is defective?  - We should have recorded a conclusion that there is a failure of justice in the case on hand looked at from the point of view of either the victims or even from the point of view of the convicted accused - The most normal consequence thereafter should have been to order a fresh trial, but such a course of action after a lapse of 26 years of the occurrence of the crime, in our opinion, would not serve any useful purpose because as already indicated some of the accused have died in the interregnum - We are not sure of the availability of the witnesses at this point of time - Even if all the witnesses are available, how safe it would be to record their evidence after a quarter century and place reliance on the same for coming to a gist conclusion regarding the culpability of the accused? -  That the only course of action available to this court is that the victims of the crime in this case are required to be compensated by the award of public law damages in light of the principles laid down by this Court in Nilabati Behera (Smt) alias Lalita Behera (Through the Supreme Court Legal Aid Committee) v. State of Orissa & Others, (1993) 2 SCC 746 - In the circumstances, the families of each of the deceased should be paid by the State an amount of Rs. 25,00,000/- ( Rupees Twenty Five Lacs Only) each and the injured witnesses, if still surviving, otherwise their families are required to be paid an amount of Rs.10,00,000/- ( Rupees Ten Lacs Only) each. 

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Sentence  -  Sentencing guidelines  - Currently, India does not have structured sentencing guidelines that have been issued either by the legislature or the judiciary - However, the Courts have framed certain guidelines in the matter of imposition of sentence - A Judge has wide discretion in awarding the sentence within the statutory limits -   Since in many offences only the maximum  punishment is prescribed and for some offences the minimum punishment is prescribed, each Judge exercises his discretion accordingly - There cannot, therefore, be any uniformity - However, this Court has repeatedly held that  the Courts will have to take into account certain principles while  exercising  their  discretion  in  sentencing,  such  as proportionality, deterrence and rehabilitation -  In a proportionality analysis, it is necessary to assess the seriousness of an offence in order to determine the commensurate punishment for the offender - The seriousness of an offence depends, apart from other things, also upon its harmfulness -  The principle  governing  the  imposition  of  punishment  will depend upon the facts and circumstances of each case -  However, the sentence should be appropriate, adequate, just, proportionate and commensurate with the nature and gravity of the crime and the manner in which the crime is committed - The gravity of the crime, motive for the crime, nature of the crime and all other attending circumstances have to be borne in mind while imposing the sentence - The Court cannot afford to be casual while imposing the sentence, inasmuch as both the crime and the criminal are equally important in the sentencing process - The Courts must see that the public does not lose confidence in the judicial system - Imposing inadequate sentences will do more harm to the justice system and may lead to a state where the victim loses confidence in the judicial system and resorts to private vengeance.

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Indian Penal Code, Sections 325 and 323 – High Court reduced the sentence from 3 years’ rigorous imprisonment for the offences under Section 325, IPC and 6 months’ rigorous imprisonment under Section 323, IPC to the period already undergone of 6 days – Fight emanating from due to old enmity relating to a land dispute causing grievous injuries  -  Accused had filed appeal questioning his conviction and sentence before the High Court, but during the course of arguments he did not press the appeal filed against the judgment of conviction, praying only for reduction of sentence -  High Court accepting such request reduced the sentence to the period already undergone of 6 days - Trial Court and the High Court have taken a lenient view by convicting the accused for offences under Sections 325 and 323, IPC - Absolutely no reasons, much less valid reasons, are assigned by the High Court to impose the meagre sentence of 6 days - Such imposition of sentence by the High Court shocks the judicial conscience of this Court - It is brought to our notice that the parties have forgotten their differences and are living peacefully since 25 years, we impose a sentence of 6 months’ rigorous imprisonment and a fine of Rs. 25,000/- against the accused -  While doing so, we have taken into consideration the aggravating as well as mitigating factors under the facts of this case.

 

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(2018)2 SCeJ 1157

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Criminal trial  - It is by now well settled that the Appellate Court hearing the appeal filed against the judgment and order of acquittal will not overrule or otherwise disturb the Trial Court’s acquittal if the Appellate Court does not find substantial and compelling reasons for doing so - However, if the view taken by the Trial Court while acquitting the accused is one of the possible views under the facts and circumstances of the case, the Appellate Court generally will not interfere with the order of acquittal particularly in the absence of the aforementioned factors.  

 

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The golden thread which runs through the web of administration of justice in criminal cases is that if two views are possible on the evidence adduced in the case, one pointing to the guilt of the accused and the other to his innocence, the view which is favourable to the accused should be adopted. (2018)2 SCeJ 1157 - SUPREME COURT e@journal @Rs 1000 per annum -

 

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 NAVJOT SIDHU JUDGEMENT

DELIVERED ON 15.5.18 / REPORTED ON 15.5.18

 

- Related witness

- Planted witness

- Corroboration 

- Opinion of medical board distinguished 

(2018)2 SCeJ 1112

Criminal Trial – Related witnesses  - The fact that PWs are related to the deceased is not in dispute -  The existence of such relationship by itself does not render the evidence of PWs untrustworthy -  This Court has repeatedly held so and also held that the related witnesses are less likely to implicate innocent persons exonerating the real culprits - Admittedly, the incident took place in broad daylight in a busy area -  Obviously, the incident would have been witnessed by many others -  Submission of the accused that the non­examination of any person other than PWs renders the evidence of PWs untrustworthy cannot be accepted  - The mere fact that some more witnesses, who would have witnessed the occurrence, were not examined does not render the evidence of related PWs untrustworthy -  In fact, in a matter like this, examining any other witness who was supposed to have witnessed the offence would increase the burden of the prosecution to establish that such a witness is not a chance witness. 

 

Criminal trial -- Corroboration is not required for every fact sought to be proved by the prosecution -  If a fact is proved by some credible evidence, to insist upon further corroborating material would only make the enforcement of criminal law an absurdity. 

 

Criminal Trial – Planted witnesses  - Incident occurred at 12.30 PM - From the facts , it follows at least by 3 p.m. PWs  were present and actively associated with the above­mentioned events- If they were to be planted as eye­witnesses, it must have happened between 12.30 and 3.00 p.m. - That means in a gap of two and a half hours between 12.30 p.m. to 3.00 p.m., the investigating officer must have identified PWs   to be witnesses who would act to the dictation of the investigating agency and support the version of the prosecution and plant them - Such a theory in our opinion would be a fantastic piece of fiction and it pre­supposes that PW­5 for some unknown reasons bore an enmity to A1 to plan such a deep plot to implicate A­1 in the crime-  In the process, we must not forget that A­1, even by the date of the occurrence, was some kind of a celebrity - We would find it difficult to believe such a version - The general tendency – if we do not take leave of common sense – is to turn a blind eye to the violations of law committed by celebrities.            

 

 

 Criminal trial  - CD - Complainant moved application praying that the content of a CD be received as additional evidence, containing some interview given by the accused to some TV channel -  The said CD is said to contain certain statements which would go in the opinion of the de facto complainant to prove the guilt of the accused - For receiving such material on record at this stage, in our opinion, requires the examination of too many questions of law including questions of the interpretation of some of the provisions of the Constitution -  Assuming for the sake of argument that this Court in exercise of its extra­ordinary jurisdiction can receive such evidence, necessarily such an exercise requires the giving of an opportunity to the first accused before such evidence is taken on record - In our opinion, all that is avoidable for the reason: even if it is assumed that the first accused admitted to his participation in the occurrence, (a fact which we have already concluded independent of his own confession alleged in the TV show) in the light of the medical evidence on record, he cannot be held guilty of causing the death -  We, therefore, see no reason to entertain the application - Such admissions, if any do not help improve the case of the de facto complainant.

 

 

Criminal trial -  Death - Medical board  -  “the head injury in itself could be sufficient to cause death in the ordinary course of nature” - The statements made in (Ex PA) and the evidence of PW1 that the head injury itself could be sufficient to cause the death in the ordinary course of nature are mere ipse dixit - Neither any specific details regarding the volume of the subdural hemorrhage are available on record, nor any medical opinion that the subdural hemorrhage caused the compression of the brain that caused the death -  There is no evidence of any concomitant brain injury - The post­mortem report and the evidence of PW2 are silent in this regard - The pathologist’s report is clear about the absence of any pathology in brain -  Such being the evidence on record, the conclusion of the High Court that death is caused by subdural hemorrhage but not cardiac arrest, in our opinion, is not based on any evidence on record and is a pure conjecture - Because to find a man guilty of culpable homicide, the basic fact required to be established is that the accused caused the death -  But, as noticed above, the medical evidence is absolutely uncertain regarding the cause of death.

 

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(i) Criminal trial  -  A theory of "accused last seen in the company of the deceased" is a strong circumstance against the accused while appreciating the circumstantial evidence - In such cases, unless the accused is able to explain properly the material circumstances appearing against him, he can be held guilty for commission of offence for which he is charged.

(ii) Criminal Procedure Code, Section 313 -  The appellant, , failed to explain any circumstances brought out in the evidence and merely denied his involvement in the crime - It was necessary for the appellant to have explained the circumstances appearing against him in the proceedings under Section 313 of the Code.

Held,

We find from the evidence eight circumstances appearing against the appellant. These circumstances are: First motive was against the deceased due to his not agreeing to the proposal of marriage of Kumar with his daughter; Second, the appellant and Kumar, both being the cousins, knew each other very well; Third, both went together to the house of the deceased to invite him for a dinner at Kumar’s house; Fourth, all the three had dinner together at Kumar’s house; Fifth, Murugan died immediately after dinner; Sixth, Kumar gave his confessional statement; Seventh, recovery of weapon and cloths at the instance of Kumar; and Eighth, the dead body was found lying near iron cot where Murugan(deceased) had last dinner with Kumar and the appellant

 

(2018)2 SCeJ 1042

 

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criminal trial - index

  •  
  • 1.      Criminal investigation - Preliminary enquiry – General Diary - Preliminary enquiry and the consequent Source Report filed by the Officer were done without entering the same in the General Diary  - The absence of entries in the General Diary concerning the preliminary enquiry would not be per se illegal -  Non­maintenance of General Diary may have consequences on the merits of the case, which is a matter of trial  - Our attention is not drawn to any bar under any provision of CrPC barring investigating authority to investigate into matter, which may for some justifiable ground, not found to have been entered in the General Diary right after receiving the Confidential Information - Held, as the concept of maintaining General Diary has its origin under the Section 44 of Police Act of 1861 as applicable to States, which makes it an obligation for the concerned Police Officer to maintain a General Diary, but such non­ maintenance per se may not be rendering the whole prosecution illegal - However, on the other hand, we are aware of the fact that such non­maintenance of General Diary may have consequences on the merits of the case, which is a matter of trial - The explanation of the genesis of a criminal case, in some cases, plays an important role in establishing the prosecution’s case -  That the binding conclusions reached in the paragraph 120.8 of Lalitha Kumari, (2014) 2 SCC 1 is an obligation of best efforts for the concerned officer to record all events concerning an enquiry - If the Officer has not recorded, then it is for the trial court to weigh the effect of the same for reasons provided therein - A court under a writ jurisdiction or under the inherent jurisdiction of the High Court is ill equipped to answer such questions of facts - Police Act, 1861  Section 44. Held,  Our conclusion herein is strengthened by the fact that CrPC itself has differentiated between irregularity and illegality. The obligation of maintenance of General Diary is part of course of conduct of the concerned officer, which may not itself have any bearing on the criminal trial unless some grave prejudice going to the root of matter is shown to exist at the time of the trial. Conspicuous absence of any provision under CrPC concerning the omissions and errors during investigation also bolsters the conclusion reached herein. Moreover, the requirement of the preliminary enquiry is well established by judicial precedents as a check on mushrooming false prosecution against public servants by persons who misuse the process of law for their personal vengeance. Such preliminary check would be beneficial and has been continuously approved by catena of judgments of this Court. (2018)2 SCeJ 1212
  • 2.      Criminal law - Doctrine of vicarious liability - The doctrine is well known in civil law especially in the branch of torts, but is applied very sparingly in criminal law only when there is a clear legislative command. (2018)2 SCeJ 1183 DOWNLOAD 
  • Criminal prosecution - Whether in a criminal prosecution, it will be in consonance with the principles of justice, fair play and a fair investigation, if the informant and the investigating officer were to be the same person -  In such a case, is it necessary for the accused to demonstrate prejudice, especially under laws such as NDPS Act, carrying a reverse burden of proof - In a criminal prosecution, there is an obligation cast on the investigator not only to be fair, judicious and just during investigation, but also that the investigation on the very face of it must appear to be so, eschewing any conduct or impression which may give rise to a real and genuine apprehension in the mind of an accused and not mere fanciful, that the investigation was not fair - In the circumstances, if an informant police official in a criminal prosecution, especially when carrying a reverse burden of proof, makes the allegations, is himself asked to investigate, serious doubts will naturally arise with regard to his fairness and impartiality - It is not necessary that bias must actually be proved - It would be illogical to presume and contrary to normal human conduct, that he would himself at the end of the investigation submit a closure report to conclude false implication with all its attendant consequences for the complainant himself - The result of the investigation would therefore be a foregone conclusion - Constitution of India, Article 21. (2018)2 SC eJournal 1314 DOWNLOAD JUDGEMENT
  • 3.      Criminal Procedure Code, Section 313 -  The appellant, , failed to explain any circumstances brought out in the evidence and merely denied his involvement in the crime - It was necessary for the appellant to have explained the circumstances appearing against him in the proceedings under Section 313 of the Code. Held We find from the evidence eight circumstances appearing against the appellant. These circumstances are: First motive was against the deceased due to his not agreeing to the proposal of marriage of Kumar with his daughter; Second, the appellant and Kumar, both being the cousins, knew each other very well; Third, both went together to the house of the deceased to invite him for a dinner at Kumar’s house; Fourth, all the three had dinner together at Kumar’s house; Fifth, Murugan died immediately after dinner; Sixth, Kumar gave his confessional statement; Seventh, recovery of weapon and cloths at the instance of Kumar; and Eighth, the dead body was found lying near iron cot where Murugan(deceased) had last dinner with Kumar and the appellant. (2018)2 SCeJ 1042
  • 4.      Criminal Proceedings - Court however caution the police authorities to be careful in future so as not to meddle in civil matters as it seeks to give a wrong signal as if civil disputes are better settled through intervention of police, rather through the forums which are already seized of the matter - This is not as if a particular case may never have a criminal aspect, but certainly the present case is not one where even the basic norms were satisfied nor were any material facts disclosed - Securitization and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Security Interest Act, 2002 (54 of 2002). (173) PLR 2)
  • 5.      Criminal Trial - Acquittal -  Concurrent finding of acquittal - The Additional Sessions Judge was right in granting him benefit of doubt - The view which favours the accused/appellant has to be considered and we discard the opposite view which indicates his guilt - We are also of the view that the High Court should not have interfered with the decision taken by the Additional Session Judge, as the judgment passed was not manifestly illegal, perverse, and did not cause miscarriage of justice - In absence of any manifest illegality, perversity and miscarriage of justice, High Court would not be justified interfering with the concurrent finding of acquittal of the accused merely because on re-appreciation of evidence it found the testimony of PWs to be reliable whereas the trial Court had taken an opposite view. (2016)3 SCEJ 562
  • 6.      Criminal Trial - Co-accused was acquitted of the charges  Plea  hence the benefit of the same be also extended to the appellant - Negated  -  Eevidence on record in no uncertain terms proves that it was the appellant who was the aggressor and hit the deceased - When the evidence directly attributes the appellant for commission of the act then we fail to appreciate as to how and on what basis we can ignore this material evidence duly proved by the eyewitnesses - Such was not the case so far as co-accused is concerned - The prosecution witnesses too did not speak against the co-accused and hence he was given the benefit of doubt. (2016)3 SCEJ 752
  • 7.      Criminal Trial - Complainant shall be treated as an accomplice and therefore, his evidence shall be corroborated in material particulars before placing reliance thereupon - A person who had become nervous would not have ventured to receive bribe in the presence of a stranger - Chatting through mobile between accused and the complainant has been properly explained by the accused - Where recovery of bribe amount would not establish the charges under the Prevention of Corruption Act - The demand of bribe and acceptance of the same by the accused will have to be established by the prosecution. (181) PLR
  • 8.      Criminal trial -- Corroboration is not required for every fact sought to be proved by the prosecution -  If a fact is proved by some credible evidence, to insist upon further corroborating material would only make the enforcement of criminal law an absurdity. (2018)2 SCeJ 1112
  • 9.      Criminal Trial - Courts in India are now normally taking the view that endeavour should be taken to promote conciliation and secure speedy settlement of disputes relating to marriage and family affairs such as, matrimonial disputes between the couple or/and between the wife and her in-laws - Court must exercise its inherent power under Section 482 Cr.P.C. to put an end to the matrimonial litigations at the earliest so that the parties can live peacefully. (183) PLR (Del.)
  • 10.  Criminal Trial - Cr.P.C., Section 313  Accused in their replies made under Section 313 Cr.P.C. have not denied their presence in the occurrence  - Appellants-accused  belong to different villages - Their names are found mentioned with their residential village in the complaint which was lodged at the earliest point in time -  PWs have testified about the participation of both the above accused in the occurrence and have identified them also -  Nothing is put in the cross-examination of the prosecution witnesses either denying their presence or absence of any role played by them in the assembly -  Not even a suggestion is made in this regard - It is also relevant to point out that these accused in their replies made under Section 313 Cr.P.C. have not denied their presence in the occurrence -  Presence in the occurrence place is established. (2016)3 SCEJ 815
  • 11.  Criminal Trial - Delay in recording of Statements of alleged eye witnesses - Were recorded after 3 days of the occurrence - No explanation is forthcoming as to why they are not examined for 3 days - It is also not known as to how the police came to know that these witnesses saw the occurrence - The delay in recording the statements casts a serious doubt about their being eye-witnesses to the occurrence - Suggests that the investigating officer was deliberately marking time with a view to decide about the shape to be given to the case and the eye-witnesses to be introduced - PW in view of their unexplained silence and delayed statement to the police, does not appear to us to be wholly reliable witnesses -  No corroboration of their evidence from any other independent source either -  Find it rather unsafe to rely upon their evidence only to uphold the conviction and sentence of the appellants -  Case against the appellants has not been proved beyond reasonable doubt. (2016)3 SCEJ 414
  • 12.  Criminal trial - Delay of 8 days on the part of the investigating agency to make arrest  - All the accused were arrested on 05.07.1995 from their home  - Prosecution has failed to explain the delay of 8 days on the part of the investigating agency to make arrest of all the accused-appellants, when the incident occurred on 27.06.1995 and allegedly PW-8  in his statement under Section 161 of Cr.P.C. had already revealed the identity of all the culprits involved in the incident -  Prosecution tried to explain the delay in making arrest by pressing upon the ground that the accused  were absconding - If they were really absconding, then they should have remained absconding -  Their arrest from their home casts a shadow of doubt on the prosecution story rendering the same to be concocted and dubious. (2016)3 SCEJ 202
  • 13.  Criminal trial - Evidence Act, S. 33 -  In Sessions Case No. X , no evidence was recorded independently -  On the other hand, the evidence recorded in Sessions Case No. Y was marked as evidence in Sessions Case No. X- The Indian Evidence Act, 1872 does not permit such a mode of proof of any fact barring in exceptional situations contemplated in Section 33 of the Indian Evidence Act. (2018)2 SCeJ 1183 DOWNLOAD
  • 14.  Criminal Trial - Eye witness  - Inconsistency of statements - Inconsistency with the statement given by P.W. in the F.I.R and the statement given in the Court -  Do not find this to be fatal to the prosecution case - Cannot rule out the possibility of post incident trauma and shock which might have been caused to the injured eye witness -In such a situation one cannot expect the witness to depose about every detail with accuracy -  Testimony of an injured eye witness has to be given much credence - The testimonies of the prosecution witnesses have been fully corroborated by the medical reports of the doctors who examined the deceased and the injured witness - Therefore, we hold that the testimonies of the prosecution witnesses are fully reliable and there has been no improvement made.  Held, that when other evidence, such as medical evidence, supports the prosecutions case, the difference in what is stated in the F.I.R. and in Court as regards the weapon of offence is a very insignificant contradiction, Dharmendrasinh alias Mansing Ratansinh v. State of Gujarat, (2002) 4 SCC 679, relied.  (2016)3 SCEJ 588
  • 15.  Criminal Trial - FIR  Delay in lodging - Occurrence had taken place at about 2.00 p.m. on 9.10.1983 and the complaint had been lodged at about 6.15 p.m. on the same day, on which the case came to be registered -  As mentioned in the FIR, the police station was situated at a distance of 54 kms. from the occurrence place -  In such circumstances there is no delay in lodging the complaint  Criminal Trial. (2016)3 SCEJ 815
  • 16.  Criminal trial – Framing of Chares  - Distinct charges should have been framed with respect to each of the deceased  - In the case on hand where three persons died, the charge under Section 302 must have been framed on three counts against specifically named accused with respect to each of the deceased - Assuming for the sake of argument, that all the 17 persons are accused of causing the death of each one of the three deceased, distinct charges should have been framed with respect to each of the deceased - It is also necessary that the court should record a specific finding as to the guilt of the accused under Section 302 IPC qua the death of a named deceased - If different accused are prosecuted for causing the death of the three different deceased, then distinct charges should have been framed specifying which of the accused are charged for the offence of causing the death of which one of the three different deceased - Charges should also have been proved clearly indicating which of the accused is charged for the offence under Section 302 simpliciter or which of the accused are vicariously liable under Section 149 IPC for causing the death of one or more of the three deceased. (2018)2 SCeJ 1183 DOWNLOAD   
  • 17.  Criminal trial – Framing of defective charges  - Legal consequences of framing defective charges or omission in charges - An erroneous or irregular or even absence of a specific charge shall not render the conviction recorded by a court invalid unless the appellate court comes to a conclusion that failure of justice has in fact been occasioned thereby. (2018)2 SCeJ 1183 DOWNLOAD 
  • 18.  Criminal Trial - Had accused demanded bribe and accepted the  same through co-accused - He would not have the guts to throw a challenge to the top brass of the Police Department to subject him to the lie detection test. (181) PLR
  • 19.  Criminal Trial - High court has observed that when the accused-appellants started assaulting the forest officers, none of the officers, who were unarmed, dared to go near the culprits with a view to catch them, thus, placing the accused  in a dominating position - On the other hand, it has further observed that the accused-appellants had dropped the said wooden log to make their bullock cart light in weight with a view to move swiftly -  This Court finds the aforesaid reasons assigned by the High Court to be incorrect - Once the accused-appellants were in a dominating position, none of the forest officers could go near them for the purpose of nabbing them. Thus, there can be no justification for leaving behind the said wooden log - They could have easily carried it away with them, if they had the intention of doing so - The prosecution has failed to explain the reason behind the accused  not taking away the said wooden log with them. (2016)3 SCEJ 202
  • 20.  Criminal Trial - In case of failure in prosecution, the Investigating Officer/agency should also be held responsible - If ultimately the prosecution fails, the persons assigned investigation and prosecution may be liable for action. (175) PLR
  • 21.  Criminal Trial - Interested witnesses  -The ground pleaded before us by the counsel for the accused appellant, that the testimonies of P.W. should not have been considered, as they were interested witnesses - Holds no teeth - Testimonies of interested witnesses are of great importance and weightage -  No man would be willing to spare the real culprit and frame an innocent person. This view has been supplemented by the decision of this Court in Mohd. Ishaque v. State of West Bengal,3 (2013) 14 SCC 581. (2016)3 SCEJ 562
  • 22.  Criminal Trial - Lack of firearm by patrolling team - All forest officers were deployed on patrolling duty to keep a check on the then increasing forest offences -  Incident, like in the instant case, could reasonably be anticipated -  Under such circumstances, they should have been armed with weapons atleast for their own safety -  As per record, when the incident occurred all the forest officers were found to be without weapons -  Cannot be believed that the forest officers on patrolling duty were without any weapon - High Court has erred in observing that the Forest Department being poorly equipped failed to provide weapons to meet the situations, like in the instant case. (2016)3 SCEJ 202
  • 23.  Criminal Trial - Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act, 1999, Section 3  - The High Court was, therefore, right in holding that Section 3 of the MCOCA could not be invoked only on the basis of the previous charge sheets for Section 3 would come into play only if the respondents were proved to have committed an offence for gain or any pecuniary benefit or undue economic or other advantage after the promulgation of MCOCA - Offences which the respondents are alleged to have committed after the promulgation of MCOCA were not proved against them -  Commission of offences prior to the enactment of MCOCA does not by itself constitute an offence under MCOCA . Held, Registration of cases, filing of charge sheets and taking of cognizance by the competent court in relation to the offence alleged to have been committed by the respondents in the past is but one of the requirements for invocation of Section 3 of the MCOCA. Continuation of unlawful activities is the second and equally important requirement that ought to be satisfied. It is only if an organised crime is committed by the accused after the promulgation of MCOCA that he may, seen in the light of the previous charge sheets and the cognizance taken by the competent court, be said to have committed an offence under Section 3 of the Act. (2016)3 SCEJ 960
  • 24.  Criminal Trial - Non-recovery  - Non-recovery of the weapon used by the accused appellants and recovery of the blood stained shirt after six days of the date of the incident -  However, merely on the basis of these circumstances the entire case of the prosecution cannot be brushed aside when it has been proved by medical evidence corroborated by testimonies of the prosecution witnesses that the deceased died a homicidal death - When there is ample unimpeachable ocular evidence and the same has received corroboration from medical evidence, non-recovery of blood stained clothes or even the murder weapon does not affect the prosecution case . Manjit Singh and Anr. v. State of Punjab and Anr. ***, (2013) 12 SCC 746, relied. (2016)3 SCEJ 588
  • Criminal trial - Ocular  testimony and Medical evidence - With regard to the conflict between the ocular  testimony and the medical evidence, in our considered opinion, the High Court has ignored the fact that lathis were also used while assaulting along with sharp edge weapons - It  is  by  now well settled that the medical evidence cannot override the evidence of ocular testimony of the witnesses - If there  is  a  conflict between the ocular testimony and the medical evidence, naturally the ocular testimony prevails - In other words,  where  the eye witnesses account is found to be  trustworthy  and credible, medical opinion pointing to alternative possibilities is not accepted as conclusive . (2018)2 SCeJ 1390
  • 25.  Criminal Trial – Planted witnesses  - Incident occurred at 12.30 PM - From the facts , it follows at least by 3 p.m. PWs  were present and actively associated with the above­mentioned events- If they were to be planted as eye­witnesses, it must have happened between 12.30 and 3.00 p.m. - That means in a gap of two and a half hours between 12.30 p.m. to 3.00 p.m., the investigating officer must have identified PWs   to be witnesses who would act to the dictation of the investigating agency and support the version of the prosecution and plant them - Such a theory in our opinion would be a fantastic piece of fiction and it pre­supposes that PW­5 for some unknown reasons bore an enmity to A1 to plan such a deep plot to implicate A­1 in the crime-  In the process, we must not forget that A­1, even by the date of the occurrence, was some kind of a celebrity - We would find it difficult to believe such a version - The general tendency – if we do not take leave of common sense – is to turn a blind eye to the violations of law committed by celebrities.     (2018)2 SCeJ 1112       
  • 26.  Criminal trial – Procedure – Framing of Issues  - The Sessions Court purported to frame 'issues' - a practice statutorily mandated under the Code of Civil Procedure as one of the ingredients of the adjudication of a suit - But, we are informed that in the State of Gujarat the practice of framing "issues" is prevalent even in the trial of a criminal case -  'Issues' are not the same as "charges" -  They are not framed prior to the commencement of trial - They are only 'identified' at the time of writing the judgment. (2018)2 SCeJ 1183 DOWNLOAD
  • 27.  Criminal trial - Punishment - High Court in part maintaining conviction but reducing the sentence awarded by the trial court for the period already undergone subject to depositing further compensation of Rs.2,000/- to the widow mother of the deceased - Trial Court sentenced him to undergo six months and two years rigorous imprisonment respectively with fine of Rs.2500/- - Court must not only keep in view the rights of the victim of the crime but also the society at large while considering the imposition of appropriate punishment - Meagre sentence imposed solely on account of lapse of time without considering the degree of the offence will be counter-productive in the long run and against the interest of the society.   (S.C.) (177) PLR
  • 28.  Criminal trial - PW the first informant stated that he witnessed the incident while he was standing in the first floor gallery of his building which was abutting the Pandal where the incident took place -  He also deposed that he had identified A1 and A12 in the Test Identification Parades  - But it is not clear whether he could have witnessed the incident from the first floor as the setting up of the Pandal was completed and the work of putting tarpaulin over the Pandal was done and only the decoration of the frill was going on -  It is doubtful whether PW could have witnessed the incident in the state of commotion when everyone was running for shelter due to firing. (2016)3 SCEJ 351
  • 29.  Criminal Trial - Quantum of sentence  - It is the duty of the Court awarding sentence to ensure justice to both the parties and therefore undue leniency in awarding sentence needs to be avoided because it does not have the necessary effect of being a deterrent for the accused and does not re-assure the society that the offender has been properly dealt with - It is not a very healthy situation to leave the injured and complainant side thoroughly dissatisfied with a very lenient punishment to the accused  High court reduced the sentence for imprisonment which was R.I. for 10 years for the offence punishable under Section 307 as well as Section 307 read with Section 34 of the IPC to a period already undergone by the respondents which was of one year and nine months only The order of punishment imposed by the High Court suffers from the vice of being over-lenient even in absence of any mitigating circumstance -  Apex court held the sentence of rigorous imprisonment for three years in place of period already undergone as awarded by the High court . (2016)3 SCEJ 444
  • 30.  Criminal trial - Related witnesses - Admissibility of a statement by related witnesses - There is no bar on the admissibility of a statement by related witnesses supporting the prosecution case, but it should stand the test of being credible, reliable, trustworthy, admissible in accordance with law and corroborated by other witnesses or documentary evidence of the prosecution - It is the quality of the witness that matters and not the quantity, when the related witness was examined and found credible -  In such a case non-examination of an independent witness would not be fatal to the prosecution case  - Evidence . Held, that in the present case, however, the prosecution witnesses PW-4 and PW-5, contradict each other, and their statements are not corroborated by any independent witness in spite of the incident happening in the market place, with shops on both sides of the road. Therefore, in our view, as the testimonies of PW-4 and PW-5 are not completely reliable, this is a fit case where corroboration by an independent witness was required. The case of the prosecution also weakens on the ground that the only independent witness PW-8 turned hostile. (2016)3 SCEJ 554
  • 31.  Criminal Trial – Related witnesses  - The fact that PWs are related to the deceased is not in dispute -  The existence of such relationship by itself does not render the evidence of PWs untrustworthy -  This Court has repeatedly held so and also held that the related witnesses are less likely to implicate innocent persons exonerating the real culprits - Admittedly, the incident took place in broad daylight in a busy area -  Obviously, the incident would have been witnessed by many others -  Submission of the accused that the non­examination of any person other than PWs renders the evidence of PWs untrustworthy cannot be accepted  - The mere fact that some more witnesses, who would have witnessed the occurrence, were not examined does not render the evidence of related PWs untrustworthy -  In fact, in a matter like this, examining any other witness who was supposed to have witnessed the offence would increase the burden of the prosecution to establish that such a witness is not a chance witness. (2018)2 SCeJ 1112
  • 32.  Criminal Trial - Stand of the C.B.I. coupled with the absence of any material with the petitioner or detailed facts being set out in the petition, there was hardly any occasion for directing investigation by the C.B.I. of that matter - Merely because the original petitioner was unhappy with the department, could not be a ground to take cognizance of his petition and put the burden on the other officers to face C.B.I. enquiry. (173) PLR 
  • 33.  Criminal Trial - Statements of alleged eye witnesses  Disbelieved - In the complaint, the names of the assailants are not mentioned and also the names of the persons who were present during the occurrence are not mentioned - PW slipping away unnoticed by the others particularly after the alleged attack is utterly unbelievable - It appears unreal - They are not strange to expect and they did not render any help for shifting the injured to the hospital nor had the courtesy to go inside the hospital to ascertain the condition and also did not inform the occurrence to the police - The aspect of fear is without any foundation and is not supported by any evidence of act or conduct. (2016)3 SCEJ 414
  • 34.  Criminal Trial - Suspicious circumstances - Instead of confronting with the forest officers, who were on patrolling duty in jeep, the accused  would have tried to conceal their presence either by hiding themselves or by running away -  The forest officers, including the driver of the jeep, were 10 in number and on the other hand, accused  were 4 -  Difficult to believe that the forest officers made no frantic efforts to nab the culprits when they allegedly assaulted them - The forest officers could have easily apprehended the culprits had they tried, as they outnumbered them  Same was not done and have ebenshown to have been nabbed form their homes after 8 days  Suspicious circumstances. (2016)3 SCEJ 202
  • 35.  Criminal Trial - Suspicious circumstances  - Informant party of forest officials , comprising of about 10 forest officials in a jeep, intercepted a bullock cart - It was alleged that  the accused herein were present on the said cart and transporting stolen teak wood log clandestinely and illegally, without a pass or permit - It was further alleged that an altercation ensued - When the injuries sustained by the deceased were more serious in nature than the     injuries sustained by other two forest officers, which were minor in nature, then the deceased should have been taken to hospital first or atleast along with other two injured forest officials, who were taken to hospital in the first instance  Suspicious circumstances. (2016)3 SCEJ 202
  • 36.  Criminal trial - Test Identification Parade - No doubt, law with regard to the importance of TIP is well settled that identification in court is a substantive piece of evidence and TIP simply corroborates the same - Prosecution witness identified the accused-appellants in court for the first time, during trial, in the year 1997-98 and the incident occurred in the year 1995 -  After considering some undisputed facts like occurrence of incident at night, at a place with improper lighting and all the accused-appellants were not known to the forest officers, except one present at the place of incident, there should have been TIP conducted at the instance of the investigating officer - Therefore, the identification of the accused-appellants by the prosecution witness for the first time after a gap of more than 2 years from the date of incident is not beyond reasonable doubt, the same should be seen with suspicion. (2016)3 SCEJ 202
  • 37.  Criminal trial - Test identification parade  Incident of 12.8.1995 - When the incident of firing occurred in the circumstances wherein much time was not available for the eye-witnesses to clearly see the accused -  In such a situation, it was of much more importance that the Test Identification Parades were to be conducted without any delay - The first Test Identification Parade was held after about 1= months of the incident and the second Test Identification Parade was conducted after more than a year of the incident -  Even if it is taken into account that A12 was arrested after a year and within one month thereafter the test Identification Parade was conducted, still it is highly doubtful whether the eye-witnesses could have remembered the faces of the accused after such a long period - Accused was arrested by the first week of September, 1996 and the Test Identification Parade was conducted on 4.10.1996 -  It is too large a gap for the witness to have remembered the face of the accused - Though the incident took place in broad daylight, the time for which the eye-witnesses could see the accused was not sufficient for them to observe the distinguishing features of the accused, especially because there was a commotion created after the firing and everyone was running to shelter themselves from the firing.  (2016)3 SCEJ 351
  • 38.  Criminal Trial - Test identification parade  PW stated that in the Test Identification Parade he had identified four persons out of 10-12 persons standing in the row  - Special Executive Officer deposed that he conducted 2 Test Identification Parades on the same day - In the first Parade, he placed A1 and one more accused who died later and in the second, he placed A3 and A4 for identification - At no point of time, 4 accused were put together for identification for PW to identify out of the whole group - Also, PW1 stated that he had seen the deceased receiving a bullet injury on his forehead but as per the postmortem report, there was no injury on the forehead of the deceased as he had been attacked from behind -Makes the testimony of PW even more vulnerable. (2016)3 SCEJ 351
  • 39.  Criminal Trial - That in case there are two views which can be culled out from the perusal of evidence and application of law, the view which favours the accused should be taken - It has been recognized as a human right by this Court.  (2016)3 SCEJ 562
  • 40.  Criminal trial - The golden thread which runs through the web of administration of justice in criminal cases is that if two views are possible on the evidence adduced in the case, one pointing to the guilt of the accused and the other to his innocence, the view which is favourable to the accused should be adopted. (2018)2 SCeJ 1157 
  • 41.  Criminal trial -  Death - Medical board  -  “the head injury in itself could be sufficient to cause death in the ordinary course of nature” - The statements made in (Ex PA) and the evidence of PW1 that the head injury itself could be sufficient to cause the death in the ordinary course of nature are mere ipse dixit - Neither any specific details regarding the volume of the subdural hemorrhage are available on record, nor any medical opinion that the subdural hemorrhage caused the compression of the brain that caused the death -  There is no evidence of any concomitant brain injury - The post­mortem report and the evidence of PW2 are silent in this regard - The pathologist’s report is clear about the absence of any pathology in brain -  Such being the evidence on record, the conclusion of the High Court that death is caused by subdural hemorrhage but not cardiac arrest, in our opinion, is not based on any evidence on record and is a pure conjecture - Because to find a man guilty of culpable homicide, the basic fact required to be established is that the accused caused the death -  But, as noticed above, the medical evidence is absolutely uncertain regarding the cause of death. (2018)2 SCeJ 1112
  • 42.  Criminal trial -  Defective trial  - (i) the framing of charges is egregiously erroneous and not in accordance with the provisions of the CrPC; or (ii) the courts below failed to record appropriate findings with respect to the various offences which the accused are said to have committed; or (iii) the 1st appellate court's reasoning in declining to reverse a finding of acquittal recorded by the trial court is defective?  - We should have recorded a conclusion that there is a failure of justice in the case on hand looked at from the point of view of either the victims or even from the point of view of the convicted accused - The most normal consequence thereafter should have been to order a fresh trial, but such a course of action after a lapse of 26 years of the occurrence of the crime, in our opinion, would not serve any useful purpose because as already indicated some of the accused have died in the interregnum - We are not sure of the availability of the witnesses at this point of time - Even if all the witnesses are available, how safe it would be to record their evidence after a quarter century and place reliance on the same for coming to a gist conclusion regarding the culpability of the accused? -  That the only course of action available to this court is that the victims of the crime in this case are required to be compensated by the award of public law damages in light of the principles laid down by this Court in Nilabati Behera (Smt) alias Lalita Behera (Through the Supreme Court Legal Aid Committee) v. State of Orissa & Others, (1993) 2 SCC 746 - In the circumstances, the families of each of the deceased should be paid by the State an amount of Rs. 25,00,000/- ( Rupees Twenty Five Lacs Only) each and the injured witnesses, if still surviving, otherwise their families are required to be paid an amount of Rs.10,00,000/- ( Rupees Ten Lacs Only) each. (2018)2 SCeJ 1183 DOWNLOAD
  • 43.  Criminal trial -  The question is whether this court would be justified in reversing the finding of acquittal in the case on hand on the grounds that (i) the framing of charges is egregiously erroneous and not in accordance with the provisions of the CrPC; or (ii) the courts below failed to record appropriate findings with respect to the various offences which the accused are said to have committed; or (iii) the 1st appellate court's reasoning in declining to reverse a finding of acquittal recorded by the trial court is defective? The answer to the question, in our opinion, should be in the negative. (2018)2 SCeJ 1183 DOWNLOAD
  • 44.  Criminal trial  - CD - Complainant moved application praying that the content of a CD be received as additional evidence, containing some interview given by the accused to some TV channel -  The said CD is said to contain certain statements which would go in the opinion of the de facto complainant to prove the guilt of the accused - For receiving such material on record at this stage, in our opinion, requires the examination of too many questions of law including questions of the interpretation of some of the provisions of the Constitution -  Assuming for the sake of argument that this Court in exercise of its extra­ordinary jurisdiction can receive such evidence, necessarily such an exercise requires the giving of an opportunity to the first accused before such evidence is taken on record - In our opinion, all that is avoidable for the reason: even if it is assumed that the first accused admitted to his participation in the occurrence, (a fact which we have already concluded independent of his own confession alleged in the TV show) in the light of the medical evidence on record, he cannot be held guilty of causing the death -  We, therefore, see no reason to entertain the application - Such admissions, if any do not help improve the case of the de facto complainant. (2018)2 SCeJ 1112
  • 45.  Criminal trial  - It is by now well settled that the Appellate Court hearing the appeal filed against the judgment and order of acquittal will not overrule or otherwise disturb the Trial Court’s acquittal if the Appellate Court does not find substantial and compelling reasons for doing so - However, if the view taken by the Trial Court while acquitting the accused is one of the possible views under the facts and circumstances of the case, the Appellate Court generally will not interfere with the order of acquittal particularly in the absence of the aforementioned factors.  (2018)2 SCeJ 1157 
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  • 46.  Criminal trial  -  A theory of "accused last seen in the company of the deceased" is a strong circumstance against the accused while appreciating the circumstantial evidence - In such cases, unless the accused is able to explain properly the material circumstances appearing against him, he can be held guilty for commission of offence for which he is charged. (2018)2 SCeJ 1042