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'Judge Is Required To Be Dispassionate' : Karnataka HC Advises Trial Judges To Not Get Morally Swayed While Trying Heinous Offences

Mustafa Plumber
20 Oct 2020 5:15 AM GMT
Judge Is Required To Be Dispassionate : Karnataka HC Advises Trial Judges To Not Get Morally Swayed While Trying Heinous Offences
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A division bench of Justice S Sunil Dutt Yadav and Justice P Krishna Bhat while deciding an appeal filed by two brothers challenging their conviction for charges of murder, said "It is difficult to remain uninfluenced by impressions, passions, inclinations, predilections, tides, currents, events and even what is commonly regarded as "personal baggages" to which the human mind is a ...

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A division bench of Justice S Sunil Dutt Yadav and Justice P Krishna Bhat while deciding an appeal filed by two brothers challenging their conviction for charges of murder, said "It is difficult to remain uninfluenced by impressions, passions, inclinations, predilections, tides, currents, events and even what is commonly regarded as "personal baggages" to which the human mind is a normal habitat."

The court has advised judges trying heinous offences to administer caution to themselves. It has said "When his moral science is disturbed, he is likely to fall into an error inducing in him "an instinctive reaction against a dispassionate judicial scrutiny of the facts and law."

Case of prosecution:

It was alleged that appellants Yankappa Hirekurbur (24) and Hanmant Hirekurbur (26) and their parents were constantly humiliating deceased Laxmi stating that she was not good looking and she was not knowing to do household chores.

On 02.07.2013 at about 4.00 p.m. the appellants and their parents quarreled with the deceased and when she was weeping, appellant No.1 directed her to go and cook and when she did not stir from the place, appellant No.1 hit her on her back. The accused dragged her (victim) and threw her into a well which was in the land being cultivated by them.

By the impugned judgment dated 31.12.2014 in S.C.No.191/2013, the present appellants were convicted for the offences punishable under Sections 302, 498-A read with Section 34 of IPC and their parents were acquitted.

The court in its order went through the evidence and said "We are wholly convinced that this is a fit case for acquittal of present appellants by allowing the appeal."

On the question as to why the learned Sessions Judge has entered a finding of guilt against the appellants for such heinous offences as under Sections 302, 498-A read with Section 34 of IPC, the bench observed:

"Sessions Judge was swayed by the fact that a woman who was heavily pregnant had to meet a tragic end for no discernible reason and due to the same, subconsciously, perhaps on account of ghastly nature of the death, permitted himself to be provoked to connect, what appeared to his mind, the several links in the chain of evidence, albeit, non-existent ones resulting in his getting an impression that case was proved beyond reasonable doubt".

The court quoted the observation of Justice Vivian Bose in the case of Kashmira vs. State of Madhya Pradesh – AIR 1952 SC 159 as follows: "

The murder was a particularly cruel and revolting one and for that reason it will be necessary to examine the evidence with more than ordinary care lest the shocking nature of the crime induce an instinctive reaction against a dispassionate judicial scrutiny of the facts and law."

It opined, "Unless a judge trying a heinous offence does not administer a caution to himself, especially, when his moral sense of justice is seriously disturbed, he is likely to fall into an error inducing in him an instinctive reaction against a dispassionate judicial scrutiny of the facts and law."

The bench rejected all the circumstances cited as reasons by the trial court to hold the accused guilty. It observed:

"To sum up, the material witnesses have completely turned hostile. Prosecution entirely rests its case on circumstantial evidence. Trial Courts should always bear in mind the correct principles of law while deciding whether the evidence placed before it passes muster on the touchstone of proof beyond reasonable doubt.

The principles of law on this aspect is precisely stated in (1991) 3 SCC 27 – Jaharlal Das vs. State of Orissa.

The court concluded by saying:

"On a re-appreciation of the evidence on record, we are satisfied that there is nothing to support the conclusion arrived at by the learned Sessions Judge and he has entirely acted on hunches, instincts and conjectures which is impermissible in law. Therefore, the impugned judgment dated 31.12.2014 convicting the appellants for the offences punishable under Sections 302, 498-A read with Section 34 of IPC is liable to be set aside."

Cause Title: Yankappa Hirekurbur And State of Karnataka

Case No: Criminal Appeal No 200020/2015

Date of Judgement: 16th day of October 2020.

Coram: Justice S Sunil Dutt Yadav and Justice P Krishna Bhat

Appearance:

Advocate R S Lagali for petitioner.

Advocate Prakash Yeli for respondent.

Click Here To Download Judgment

[Read Judgment]



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