17 June 2024


Judgments

Supreme Court

Raja Naykar Vs. State of Chhattisgarh (Neutral Citation: 2024 INSC 56)

MANU/SC/0059/2024

24.01.2024

Criminal

In a case based on circumstantial evidence, non- explanation or false explanation of accused under Section 313 of CrPC cannot be used as an additional link to complete chain of circumstances

Present appeal challenges the judgment and order, passed by the Division Bench of the High Court thereby dismissing the appeal filed by the Appellant, and confirming the judgment and order of conviction and sentence awarded to him by the Court of Additional Sessions Judge, ("Trial Judge") in Sessions Trial.

It is settled law that the suspicion, however strong it may be, cannot take the place of proof beyond reasonable doubt. An Accused cannot be convicted on the ground of suspicion, no matter how strong it is. An Accused is presumed to be innocent unless proved guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

As per the FSL report, the blood stains found on the dagger were of human blood. However, the FSL report does not show that the blood found on the dagger was of the blood group of the deceased. Apart from that, even the serological report is not available.

It can thus be seen that, the only circumstance that may be of some assistance to the prosecution case is the recovery of dagger at the instance of the present Appellant. However, the said recovery is also from an open place accessible to one and all. In any case, the blood found on the dagger does not match with the blood group of the deceased. In the case of Mustkeem alias Sirajudeen v. State of Rajasthan, this Court held that sole circumstance of recovery of blood-stained weapon cannot form the basis of conviction unless the same was connected with the murder of the deceased by the Accused. Thus, only on the basis of sole circumstance of recovery of blood-stained weapon, it cannot be said that the prosecution has discharged its burden of proving the case beyond reasonable doubt.

Merely on the basis of suspicion, conviction would not be tenable. It is the duty of the prosecution to prove beyond all reasonable doubt that it is only the Accused and the Accused alone who has committed the crime. The prosecution has utterly failed to do so.

Insofar as the finding of the High Court that the Appellant has failed to give any explanation in his statement under Section 313 of Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (CrPC) is concerned, present Court find that the High Court has failed to appreciate the basic principle that, it is only after the prosecution discharges its duty of proving the case beyond all reasonable doubt that the false explanation or non-explanation of the Accused could be taken into consideration. In any case, as held by this Court in the case of Sharad Birdhichand Sarda vs. State of Maharashtra, in a case based on circumstantial evidence, the non- explanation or false explanation of the Accused under Section 313 of CrPC cannot be used as an additional link to complete the chain of circumstances. It can only be used to fortify the conclusion of guilt already arrived at on the basis of other proven circumstances. The impugned judgment and order passed by the Division Bench of the High Court is quashed and set aside. Appeal allowed.

Tags : Conviction Evidence Credibility

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