17 June 2024


Judgments

Supreme Court

Satye Singh and Ors. vs. State of Uttarakhand

MANU/SC/0192/2022

15.02.2022

Criminal

Circumstances howsoever strong cannot take place of proof and the guilt of the accused have to be proved by the prosecution beyond reasonable doubt

The present appeal filed by the Appellants-accused emanates from the Judgment passed by the High Court, whereby the High Court has dismissed the said appeal and upheld the conviction and sentence awarded by the District & Sessions Judge. The Appellants-accused were convicted by the Sessions Court for the offence under Section 302 read with Section 34 and Section 201 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 (IPC) and were sentenced to undergo life imprisonment and pay fine of Rs. 20,000 for the offence under Section 302 read with Section 34 and to undergo rigorous imprisonment for a period of six years and pay fine of Rs.10,000 for the offence under Section 201 of the IPC.

On the totality of circumstances and evidence on record, at the most it could be said from the evidence of the parents of the deceased that, there was harassment by the accused to the deceased, though no charge under Section 498A of IPC was framed by the trial court against the accused. It could be further inferred from the evidence on record that, the deceased had left the house on the previous evening of the alleged incident and that she was not found during the whole night, nonetheless such circumstance itself could not be said to be sufficient proof to come to a conclusion that accused had murdered and burnt deceased as alleged. It is settled position of law that, circumstances howsoever strong cannot take place of proof and that the guilt of the accused have to be proved by the prosecution beyond reasonable doubt.

In Majendran Langeswaran vs. State (NCT of Delhi) & Anr., this court held that the conviction can be based solely on circumstantial evidence but it should be tested on the touchstone of law relating to the circumstantial evidence that all circumstances must lead to the conclusion that, the accused is the only one who has committed the crime and none else.

The prosecution had miserably failed to prove the entire chain of circumstances which would unerringly conclude that alleged act was committed by the accused only and none else. In the case on hand, the prosecution having failed to prove the basic facts as alleged against the accused, the burden could not be shifted on the accused by pressing into service the provisions contained in Section 106 of the Evidence Act, 1872. There being no cogent evidence adduced by the prosecution to prove the entire chain of circumstances which may compel the court to arrive at the conclusion that the accused only had committed the alleged crime, the court has no hesitation in holding that the Trial Court and the High Court had committed gross error of law in convicting the accused for the alleged crime, merely on the basis of the suspicion, conjectures and surmises.

The impugned judgments is quashed and set aside. Appeal allowed.

Tags : Circumstantial evidence Conviction Legality

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