10 June 2024


High Court of Delhi

Sunil and Ors. Vs. State




Suspicion howsoever strong cannot substitute proof

Present appeals are against the judgment passed by the learned Additional Sessions Judge arising out of FIR registered at Police Station ('PS'), convicting the Appellants for the offences under Sections 34 and 363 of Indian Penal Code, 1860 (IPC), Sections 377 and 511 of IPC read with Section 34 of IPC and Sections 34 and 302 of IPC. The appeals are also directed against the order on sentence.

The DNA analysis could, at best, be a corroborative piece of evidence and could not be considered to be a substantive piece of evidence. The unreliability of this evidence is apparent in the present case. While the FSL report dated 16th April, 2014 stated that, the DNA profile could not even be generated from the degraded semen stain, the second report dated 30th May, 2014 stated the opposite.

From the orders in the trial proceedings, it is plain that the trial judge was very concerned that the DNA evidence was not presented before the Court even till 20th March, 2014 although the prosecution evidence had been closed on the first day itself i.e. 23rd May, 2013. This anxiety on the part of the trial Judge led her into placing undue reliance on this evidence to hold that, it conclusively connected the accused with the crime.

In State of Tamil Nadu v. Rajendran, the Supreme Court held that, in a case of circumstantial evidence, the cumulative effect of all the circumstances proved, must be such as to negative the innocence of the accused and to bring home the charge beyond reasonable doubt. It has been held by a series of decisions of this Court that, the circumstances proved must lead to no other inference except that of guilt of accused.

In Brajesh Mavi v. The State, the Supreme Court observed that, not only the prosecution must prove and establish the incriminating circumstance(s) against the accused beyond all reasonable doubt but the said circumstance(s) must give rise to only one conclusion to the exclusion of all others, namely, that it is accused and nobody else who had committed the crime.

The medical evidence showed no sign of any attempt at unnatural sex with the deceased much less an attempt at such act. Further, certain vital pieces of evidence like the CDRs of the mobile phones used by PW-15 and the accused was not developed and this constituted a serious lapse in the investigation. There was also no evidence whatsoever, that the accused forcibly abducted the victim so as to attract the offence of kidnapping under Section 363 of IPC.

Finally, the prosecution has also failed to prove the motive for the crime. The inference drawn by the trial Court that, the victim put up a stiff resistance to his being sodomised is not supported one bit by the medical evidence or for that matter, any other evidence. In a case of this nature, when all other circumstances have not been satisfactorily proved, the failure to prove motive adds to the doubt created about the guilt of the accused.

The circumstances proved do not form a complete chain. Those that have not been satisfactorily proved or not proved make it difficult for the Court to conclude that the circumstances proved point unerringly to the guilt only of the two accused and no one else. It is trite that, suspicion howsoever strong cannot substitute proof.

There has been a serious miscarriage of justice as a result of the manner of conducting the trial by the earned trial Judge. The Court grants both accused the benefit of doubt and acquits them of the offences under Section 363/34 of IPC, Sections 377/511 read with Section 34 of IPC and Sections 302/34 of IPC. The impugned judgment of the trial Court and the subsequent order on sentence are set aside. The accused are directed to be released forthwith unless wanted in some other case. The appeals are allowed.


State of Tamil Nadu v. Rajendran MANU/SC/0606/1999
: (1999) 8 SCC 679, Brajesh Mavi v. The State MANU/SC/0514/2012
: (2012) 7 SCC 45

Tags : Conviction Circumstantial evidence Proof

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