Circumstantial evidence must be backed by motive

In one such criminal case against several accused, the trial court acquitted all accused for the offence punishable under various sections of IPC, including 302 (punishment for murder).

Published: 14th January 2019 06:08 AM  |   Last Updated: 14th January 2019 06:08 AM   |  A+A-

Express News Service

HYDERABAD: The law in India is well settled that in a case based on circumstantial evidence, motive has a role to play. If the prosecution fails to prove the same then the case against the accused will not sustain before the court of law. 

In one such criminal case against several accused, the trial court acquitted all accused for the offence punishable under various sections of IPC, including 302 (punishment for murder). After conducting full-fledged trial, the trial judge came to the conclusion that the prosecution has failed to establish the guilt of the accused beyond reasonable doubt.

Aggrieved by the order of acquittal passed by the trial court, the State government moved the High Court. After hearing the case, the High Court found fault with the acquittal order of the trial court, and convicted all the accused before it for the offence and sentenced them to undergo life imprisonment. Dissatisfied, the accused filed appeals before the Supreme Court challenging the High Court order. 

The case of the appellants-accused is that the entire story laid out by the prosecution has been concocted to falsely implicate them. The dead body of the deceased was found in a field which was about two kilometers away from the house of the deceased, and there was no eye-witness to the factum of those accused committing the murder. Besides, all the prosecution’s witnesses are interrelated and there was no independent witness to support the case. There was also no Test Identification Parade conducted and all the accused persons were not familiar to the witnesses.  

On the other hand, the government counsel said that the trial court’s judge disbelieved all evidence of prosecution’s witnesses for no valid cause. The minor discrepancies in the depositions were given undue importance and the acquittal order was passed against the accused. 

After hearing the case and perusing the material on record and earlier judgments of the Apex court, the Supreme Court bench comprising Justice NV Ramana and Justice S Abdul Nazeer found from the impugned judgment that the High Court had mis-construed certain aspects of the case. As per the record, the alleged incident occurred at 9 pm and not at 7.30 pm as assumed by the High Court. Though there were no eye-witnesses, the High Court held that the eye-witnesses had sufficient light to identify the accused persons, the bench pointed out. 

The bench said that the facts and circumstances of the case showed clearly that the guilt of the accused persons was not proved beyond reasonable doubt and allowed the appeals by setting aside the order passed by the High Court. 

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