Last seen evidence - Doctrine of last seen, if proved, shifts the burden of proof onto the accused, placing on him the onus to explain how the incident occurred and what happened to the victim who was last seen with him - Failure on part of the accused to furnish any explanation in this regard, as in the case in hand, or furnishing false explanation would give rise to a strong presumption against him, and in favour of his guilt, and would provide an additional link in the chain of circumstances - Criminal Trial - IPC, S. 302, 364 and 201.Held, Evidence of PWs 1 and 2 proves the circumstance relating to the last seen evidence beyond reasonable doubt, apart from other circumstances - Both of them in their evidence, as mentioned supra, have consistently and cogently deposed that the deceased was last seen along with the accused, who took the deceased away upon the orders of Accused No. 1. No explanation, much less any plausible explanation has come from the accused in their statements under Section 313 of the Cr.P.C rebutting the strong evidence against them - Though the burden had shifted onto the accused to explain the said circumstance as to when they left the company of the deceased, no explanation was adduced in that regard by the accused herein - Hence, an adverse inference has to be drawn against the accused. It may be noted that such non-explanation by the accused provides an additional link in the chain of circumstances. 2019 SCeJournal 471
Circumstantial evidence - Last seen evidence - PW12 and PW20, are the last seen witnesses who saw the entry and the exit of the accused persons from the crime scene, respectively - Deposed by the witnesses that soon after the bodies were found, they had dis-cussed amongst themselves about the participation of the accused persons based on the fact that one saw them enter the house of the deceased and the other saw them coming out of the house and leaving the area in a hurried manner - They stated that they had conveyed this piece of valuable information to the complainant right before he filed the first information - However, there is no whisper of such an important fact anywhere in the first information, nor the FIR - Complainant has also stated that he learnt about the presence of the accused persons from the verbal dialogue between him and the said witnesses - If PW12 and PW20 had really seen the accused as deposed, the same would have been reflected in the FIR, and the absence of such a crucial piece of information that complainant learnt right before filing the first information casts a dark shadow of suspicion over the testimony of the last seen witnesses - Moreover, PW12 and PW20 deposed that they were present at the spot when the bodies were found - However, their statements were not taken by the police on the same day, rather they were taken subsequently on the next day - There was deliberate delay in recording the statements of these important witnesses with regard to the last seen circumstance - Hence, the statements of PW12 and PW20 were clearly an afterthought. . 2019 SCeJ 89
Criminal trial – Chance witness - Witness in his testimony for the first time asserts that he saw the accused coming out of the house of the deceased, as opposed to walking hurriedly away - He could not remember how many people came out holding bags, and how many came out empty handed, along with the fact that he did not usually take the route in front of the house/shop of the deceased to reach his house from his shop, which shows that he is a chance witness - Keeping in mind that this witness was related to the deceased, and appears to be a chance witness with material discrepancies in his account, we are inclined to discard his evidence as to the last seen circumstance. . 2019 SCeJ 89
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.
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