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. DOWNLOAD

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.   DOWNLOAD

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

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

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