26 October 2020


Judgments

High Court of Bombay

State of Maharashtra v. Mahendra Bhaskar Pavre

MANU/MH/2045/2016

13.10.2016

Criminal

An inference of guilt of father cannot be reached, on mere fact that, daughters were last seen with their fathers

Accused Mahendra Bhaskar Pavre has been sentenced to death by Additional Sessions Judge (Link Court), Mehkar vide judgment. There is no eye-witness and conviction is based on circumstantial evidence. Trial Court has found that motive also is not established. It is submitted that the motive is not proved at all and hence, in case based evidence, only on circumstantial conviction is not justified.

Merely because daughters were last seen with their father and their dead bodies are found in the Well thereafter, an inference of guilt of father cannot be reached. Inability to explain whereabouts of daughters by a father by itself is not a circumstance which can be construed as missing link in this situation. When the witnesses who could have provided missing link or other links to complete the chain, have avoided to do so, it is apparent that there is no legal evidence before the court to connect the accused with the alleged act of throwing two minor daughters in the Well. When there is no eyewitness to that act of throwing or to presence of the accused Mahendra in its vicinity, circumstantial evidence falls short to indicate him only as offender. Only failure to explain or substantiate his defense, can not, in present situation, in absence of any motive, be viewed as an adverse circumstance against Mahendra.

Circumstances on record were insufficient to prove guilt of accused beyond reasonable doubt and to convict him with murder of his two minor daughters. All these lacunae have tilted balance in favour of the accused. It is apparent that in cases where relatives of deceased and society do not want accused to be punished, in absence of legal evidence, benefit thereof needs to be extended to the accused.

Accordingly, benefit of doubt extended to the appellant /accused Mahendra Bhaskar Pavre. Judgment dated 16.05.2016, holding him guilty of offence punishable under Section 302 of IPC delivered by Additional Sessions Judge, quashed and set aside. Consequently, the sentence of death imposed upon him does not survive.

Relevant

Section 302 of Indian Penal Code, 1860

Tags : Murder Circumstantial evidence

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