Abscondence Of Accused By Itself Cannot Be Treated As Conclusive Evidence Of Guilt: Calcutta HC Acquits Man Convicted Of Murdering 10 Yr Old Boy

Update: 2022-05-24 13:28 GMT

The Calcutta High Court has recently held that the abscondence of an accused by itself does not establish his guilt and accordingly proceeded to set aside an order of conviction for the commission of the offence of murder under Section 302 of the IPC. 

A Bench comprising Justice Joymalya Bagchi and Justice Ananya Bandyopadhyay was adjudicating upon an appeal preferred against an order of conviction passed against the appellant for murdering a 10 year old boy. It was alleged that the appellant had illicit relationship with Rasida, mother of the boy. It was further contended that the child had disclosed the illicit relationship to his father and accordingly appellant nursed a grudge against him.

During the proceedings, it was contended on behalf of the prosecution that the appellant had gone missing from the mosque immediately after the incident and did not return to the village and that the appellant had been arrested later at Panskura railway station.

The Court relied upon the Supreme Court judgment in Sk. Yusuf v. State of West Bengal to rule that it is a settled law that the abscondence of an accused by itself does not establish his guilt. 

"The aforesaid proposition of law wholly applies to the facts of the present case. Evidence on record shows apart from vague suspicion owing to a hunch that the appellant may have nursed grudge against the child for divulging his illicit association with her mother, no evidence was led to show that the appellant had clear access to the child soon before his death so as to complete the chain of circumstances pointing to his guilt", the Court observed. 

It was further noted that the father of the deceased had not initially lodged an FIR against the appellant and that only after a couple of days out of suspicion the appellant had been implicated in the instant case. 

Opining further that there is a likelihood that the appellant had run away from the village out of fear and apprehension of false implication, the Court underscored, 

"Under such circumstance, it is likely out of fear and apprehension of false implication and harassment the appellant may have ran away from the village and secreted himself. Abscondence of the appellant when judged in the backdrop of the fact and circumstance of the case cannot by any stretch of imagination be treated to be conclusive evidence with regard to his guilt."

Accordingly, the Court held that the appellant has failed to prove its case beyond reasonable doubt and that the appellant is entitled to an order of acquittal.

Case Title: Md. Firoz Ala @ Firoj Alam v. State of West Bengal

Case Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (Cal) 204

Click Here To Read/Download Order 


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