CHENNAI: When an accused has to be acquitted from a criminal case for want of evidence, the trial courts should refrain from using expressions like ‘charges not proved beyond reasonable doubt’ or ‘giving the benefit of doubt’, the Madras High Court has ruled.
Justice S Nagamuthu gave the ruling while passing orders on a revision petition from one Kalivaradhan, challenging the orders of a lower court in Panrutti.
“Where there is no evidence at all against the accused, the trial courts shall not employ the expressions such as ‘not proved beyond reasonable doubt’ or ‘accused is acquitted by giving the benefit of doubt”, the Judge observed.
The petitioner had applied for Constable Grade-II post. During verification it was found that he had faced a criminal case but acquitted by the Judicial Magistrate-II in Panruti on December 31, 2012 for want of evidence. He approached the High Court with the present revision petition seeking to expunge the expressions made by the lower court. Otherwise, the selection for the post of Constable would be in jeopardy, he said and sought to declare the acquittal as a ‘honourable’ one.
Allowing the petition, Justice Nagamuthu observed that a perusal of the trial court judgment showed that no witnesses had spoken anything incriminating against the accused. Therefore, the trial court should have acquitted him by recording an order of acquittal without adding any adjectives such as “not proved beyond reasonable doubt” or “by giving the benefit of doubt”, the judge said.
Rejecting the contention of the Additional Public Prosecutor that an acquitted person does not have a right of revision, Justice Nagamuthu said Sec 397 of the Code of Criminal Procedure paves the way for such a person to challenge the adverse remarks.