17 June 2024


Supreme Court

Raju Manjhi Vs. State of Bihar




Accused is not conferred with any right to claim test identification parade

In instant case, the Accused pleaded not guilty and claimed to have been implicated falsely, therefore, wanted to be tried. At the trial, the prosecution in support of its case examined eleven witnesses. Relying upon the incriminating material as well as depositions and confessional statements of the Accused, the Trial Court concluded that, the prosecution could prove the guilt of the Accused beyond reasonable doubt. Accordingly, the Trial Court convicted the Accused for the offence punishable under Section 396 of Indian Penal Code, 1860 (IPC) and sentenced them to suffer rigorous imprisonment for life and also to pay a fine of Rs. 1,000 each, failing which to further suffer rigorous imprisonment for a period of six months.

All the aggrieved Accused persons, including the Appellant, carried the matter by way of separate appeals before the High Court. By an elaborate judgment which is impugned herein, the High Court dismissed the appeal affirming the conviction and sentence awarded by the trial Court.

Non-identification of the Appellant by any prosecution witness would not vitiate the prosecution case. It is evident from the confessional statement of the Accused that, at the time of occurrence he and another Accused were guarding outside the informant's house while other Accused were committing dacoity inside. Such non-identification would not be fatal to the prosecution case in the given facts and circumstances.

The identification parade belongs to the stage of investigation, and there is no provision in the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (CrPC) which obliges the investigating agency to hold or confers a right upon the Accused to claim, a test identification parade. They do not constitute substantive evidence and these parades are essentially governed by Section 162 of the CrPC. Failure to hold a test identification parade would not make inadmissible the evidence of identification in Court. The weight to be attached to such identification should be a matter for the Courts of fact. In appropriate cases, it may accept the evidence of identification even without insisting on corroboration.

Undoubtedly, 'motive' plays significant role in a case based on circumstantial evidence where the purpose would be to establish this important link in the chain of circumstances in order to connect the Accused with the crime. But, for the case on hand, proving motive is not an important factor, when abundant direct evidence is available on record. The confessional statement of the Appellant itself depicts the motive of the team of Accused in pursuit of which they committed the robbery at the house of informant and the Appellant being part of it.

It is also clear from the statement of the Accused--Appellant that, the inmates of the house suffered injuries at the hands of the Accused party as they had beaten them with the pieces of wood (sticks) and created terror among them. The recovery of bloodstained sticks from the orchard of Kamal Jain and the FSL report (Ext. X) proves the circumstance with no manner of doubt. The prosecution has proved the case against the Accused--Appellant beyond all reasonable doubts. There is no infirmity or illegality in the impugned judgment passed by the High Court. Consequently, the appeal preferred by the Accused being bereft of any substance, the same stands dismissed.

Tags : Conviction Evidence Credibility

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