1 Jun 2023 4:02 AM GMT
While setting aside the conviction of a man for the offence of acid attack and house trespass, the Madras High Court observed that the courts must be bound by legal evidence and not moral conviction. "A moral conviction regarding the guilt of an individual has no place in criminal jurisprudence. A court of law is to get at the truth from the legal evidence placed before it,...
While setting aside the conviction of a man for the offence of acid attack and house trespass, the Madras High Court observed that the courts must be bound by legal evidence and not moral conviction.
"A moral conviction regarding the guilt of an individual has no place in criminal jurisprudence. A court of law is to get at the truth from the legal evidence placed before it, by either side and is not to be guided by a moral conviction or influenced by the gravity of the crime. An order of conviction can be based only on legal evidence and not on hypothetical propositions or unwarranted inferences," it said.
Justice V Sivagnanam said that administration of justice in the country was founded on the principle that an accused person must be presumed to be innocent until proven guilty. In the present case, citing lack of evidence to connect the accused with the crime, the court noted that the appellant Vediyappan is entitled to acquittal.
In the present case, the prosecution case against Vediyappan was that he had entered the house of the victim girl at night and poured Sulphuric Acid on her face as a consequence of which, she suffered injuries on her body. The prosecution also submitted that there was a dispute between the families with regard to a common wall.
The appellant contended that there was no evidence to connect him to the crime. He further submitted that except the victim girl and her parents, all other witnesses turned hostile and even the family’s evidence was not enough to connect him to the crime. He also submitted that the trial court had held him guilty by relying upon the confession statement which was untenable.
The court noted that though the prosecution had submitted that there was previous enmity, the same was not established through evidence. The court also noted that though the prosecution claimed that the appellant had previously asked for the victim girl’s hand in marriage and since it was not allowed, he had strong motivation, the same was also not proved. Thus, the court noted that the prosecution had failed to establish a motive.
With respect to the identity of the appellant, the court noted that there were contradictions between the deposition of the victim girl and her mother. The court noted that though the mother had deposed that she woke up hearing her daughter’s scream and saw the appellant running away from the house, the victim girl had deposed that her mother was sleeping in a nearby tiled house. Further, the court noted that the victim girl had also admitted that she did not see the person who threw acid on her face.
Therefore, noting that there was no evidence to connect the appellant with the crime beyond a reasonable doubt, the court allowed the appeal and set aside the conviction by the trial court.
Case Title: Vediyappan v State
Citation: 2023 LiveLaw (Mad) 156
Counsel for Appellants: Mr.V.Parthiban for Mr.E.Kannadasan
Counsel for Respondent: Mr.A.Gokulakrishnan Additional Public Prosecutor