23 Aug 2023 2:00 PM GMT
The Calcutta High Court on Wednesday allowed a criminal appeal, setting aside the appellant's Trial court conviction under Section 324 IPC (voluntary hurt by dangerous means) for allegedly ‘pouring hot oil on an octogenarian lady’ after a brief argument on previous dues owed by the appellant, Based on witness statements it noted that although the victim did suffer oil-burns, the same was...
The Calcutta High Court on Wednesday allowed a criminal appeal, setting aside the appellant's Trial court conviction under Section 324 IPC (voluntary hurt by dangerous means) for allegedly ‘pouring hot oil on an octogenarian lady’ after a brief argument on previous dues owed by the appellant,
Based on witness statements it noted that although the victim did suffer oil-burns, the same was not due to the fault of the appellant. A single-bench of Justice Rai Chattopadhyay held,
Unfortunately there are substantive lack clarity regarding the time, place and manner of the alleged occurrence, leaving thereby sufficient ground for doubt as regards the culpable intention as well as action of the present appellant, in commission of the alleged crime. All questions that may arise reasonably in the mind of a prudent man, must receive answer from the evidence that has been brought on record. Merely that the victim has spoken in the trial Court would not be sufficient and safe to rely on the same blindfolded, as a foundation of his guilt. There are missing links [in victim’s statement] raising strong doubt as regards reasonability for what the victim has stated the trial Court. The finding of the trial Court that the appellant put out hot oil from the utensils being used by the victim and poured the same upon her person, has been only baseless and imaginary, in so far as none of the witnesses including the victim has specified the manner of incident, in the way as stated above.
The complainant, an octogenarian lady, had lodged a complaint against the appellant on the grounds that while she had been preparing food with hot oil, the appellant had approached her asking for credit.
Upon being denied his request, the complainant alleged that the appellant attacked her with the hot oil causing severe burns to her person.
At the ensuing trial, the appellant was found guilty of voluntarily causing hurt by dangerous means to the complainant under Section 324 of the IPC.
However, in the present appeal, the Bench noted that while admittedly the complainant had suffered 36% burns, as had been corroborated by the medical expert, the co-villagers who had been empanelled as prosecution witnesses, had either been declared hostile, or had submitted that the complainant’s burn injuries had been caused by accident.
Finally, in dealing with the complainants own testimony before the trial court, the Bench was of the opinion that it “lacked sufficiency so far as the appellant’s specific and overt acts were concerned.”
It concluded, “The role of the present appellant though alleged is not proved by the prosecution in this trial, in commission of the offence as alleged. Under such circumstances the impugned judgment cannot sustain. Also that the appeal merits success. The appellant is found not guilty.”
Case: Sanjoy Mondal Vs. The State of West Bengal
Coram: Justice Rai Chattopadhyay
Citation: 2023 LiveLaw (Cal) 232
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