15 July 2019


Judgments

Supreme Court

Ashoksinh Jayendrasinh Vs. State of Gujarat

MANU/SC/0683/2019

07.05.2019

Criminal

When findings of trial court and High Court are shown to be perverse, the Supreme Court would certainly interfere with same

Present appeal arises out of the judgment passed by the High Court by which the High Court affirmed the conviction of Appellant-Accused No. 1 under Section 302 of Indian Penal Code, 1860 (IPC) read with Section 34 of IPC, and the sentence of life imprisonment imposed upon him. The High Court also affirmed the conviction of the Appellant under Section 307 of IPC read with Section 34 of IPC and under Section 25(c) of the Arms Act, 1959 and the sentence of imprisonment imposed upon him. The High Court acquitted the Appellant for the offence under Section 3(1)(x) of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989.

Question raised in present case is whether evidence of complainant and other eye-witness are cogent and consistent and the courts below rightly convicted the Appellant-Accused No. 1.

Case of prosecution is that, Appellant and six other co-accused surrounded the complainant party and there were three gunshots fired. The injured witness (PW-6) in his cross-examination has admitted that, he had not stated anything about the burning light either in the animal shed or anywhere in the vicinity. In the absence of evidence as to the availability of sufficient light, the identification of the Accused and the overt act attributed to the Appellant becomes doubtful.

Further, there are contradictions in the case of the prosecution as to who fired those gun shots and the benefit of doubt is to be given to the Appellant. There was darkness at the time and the place of occurrence making it difficult for the witnesses to identify the assailants. The evidence of eye-witnesses are contradictory to each other as to the firing of the fatal blow. The guilt of the Accused has not been proved beyond reasonable doubt and the benefit has to be given to the Accused.

The Supreme Court would be slow to interfere with the concurrent findings of the Courts below. In an appeal under Article 136 of the Constitution of India, concurrent findings of fact cannot be interfered with unless shown to be perverse.

The High Court ought to have weighed and considered the materials. When the findings of the trial court and the High Court are shown to be perverse and there is no proper appreciation of evidence qua the Appellant, the Supreme Court would certainly interfere with the findings of fact recorded by the High Court and the trial court. The High Court has not appreciated the oral evidence, other evidence and the points raised by the Appellant-Accused No. 1. The impugned judgment affirming the conviction of the Appellant-Accused No. 1 cannot be sustained and the impugned judgment is liable to be set aside.

The conviction of Appellant-Accused No. 1 under Section 302 of IPC read with Section 34 of IPC and Section 307 of IPC read with Section 34 of IPC and under Section 25(c) of the Arms Act is set aside and this appeal is allowed. The Appellant/Accused No. 1 is ordered to be released forthwith unless his presence is required in any other case.

Tags : Conviction Evidence Credibility

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