Begin typing your search above and press return to search.
News Updates

Prosecution Must Establish Facts Indicating 'Special Knowledge' To Shift Burden of Proof On Accused U/S 106 Evidence Act: Karnataka HC

Mustafa Plumber
28 Sep 2022 11:30 AM GMT
Prosecution Must Establish Facts Indicating Special Knowledge To Shift Burden of Proof On Accused U/S 106 Evidence Act: Karnataka HC
x

The Karnataka High Court has said that Section 106 of the Indian Evidence Act will apply to those cases where the prosecution has succeeded in establishing the facts from which a reasonable inference can be drawn regarding the existence of certain other facts, which are within the special knowledge of the accused.A division bench of Justices Dr. HB Prabhakara Sastry and Anil B. Katti, sitting...

The Karnataka High Court has said that Section 106 of the Indian Evidence Act will apply to those cases where the prosecution has succeeded in establishing the facts from which a reasonable inference can be drawn regarding the existence of certain other facts, which are within the special knowledge of the accused.

A division bench of Justices Dr. HB Prabhakara Sastry and Anil B. Katti, sitting at Kalaburagi said,

"It is only if the prosecution could be able to show that the facts and circumstances of the case would clearly go to show that a particular fact is especially within the knowledge of the accused, only then the burden of proving that fact would be upon the accused."

The bench made the observation while setting aside the order convicting one Siddappa for alleged murder of his wife over altercation about her suspected illicit relationship with another man. It was alleged that the Appellant attacked his wife sugarcane cutting chopper ('koyata') and the latter succumbed to the injuries.

Also Read: S.106 Evidence Act | Husband Can't Be Asked To Explain Wife's Death In Their House Unless Prosecution Establishes Prima Facie Case: Bombay High Court

Firstly, the High Court noted that none of the material witnesses examined by the prosecution had spoken about either the nature of victim's death nor the Appellant's role thereof. Therefore, admittedly, there is no evidence through prosecution witnesses to establish a link between the accused and the death of his wife.

"If at all it is assumed that the injuries on the deceased were inflicted using a chopper, then, at least the relation of the said weapon with the accused should have been established by the prosecution...Merely because the said chopper was found in the house of the accused, it is not safe to infer that the accused had made use of the said chopper and using the same has inflicted fatal injuries upon his wife."

The Court noted that the Sessions Judge proceeded on the surmise that since the alleged incident has taken place in the house of the Appellant, it is for him to explain the facts of the incident, the same being in his "exclusive knowledge".

Rejecting such an approach, the High Court held that the "primary burden" was on the prosecution to prove that the accused resided with the deceased in the house where alleged incident took place. The Sessions Court had wrongly invented applicability of Section 106 in the case and directed the Appellant to prove that he was not at all present at the crime scene.

It observed that even though deceased was married to the Appellant, that by itself cannot lead to an inference that the accused was residing along with the deceased as on the date of the incident.

"The Sessions Judges Court, from the beginning of its reasoning in the judgment, on its own assumed a defence of alibi for the accused and keeping the said aspect as the base aspect throughout, continued with the presumption that, as on the date and time of the incident, the accused was in the company of the deceased Meenaxi in a room in their house at Tenihalli Village. It is with this basic error, the entire appreciation of the evidence of the prosecution, more particularly, the application of Sections 106 and 114 of the Evidence Act, was made by the Sessions Judge's Court," Court said.

It added,

"The prosecution which primarily ought to have discharged its burden of establishing that accused and the deceased were living together, more particularly, on the date of the incident, as such, certain facts were exclusively to the knowledge of the accused, ought not to have expected the accused to explain the circumstances which had led to the murder of his wife Meenaxi. Thus,the application of Section 106 of the Evidence Act and expecting the accused to discharge the alleged burden was totally uncalled for, in the facts and circumstance of the present case."

Accordingly, it allowed the appeal and directed the accused to be released in this case if serving sentence.

Also Read: Mere Presence Of Husband In House With Wife In A 'Hanging Position' Not Sufficient To Presume His Guilt: Tripura High Court

Case Title: Siddappa v.  State of Karnataka

Case No: CRIMINAL APPEAL No.200104 OF 2017

Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (Kar) 380

Date of Order: 22ND DAY OF SEPTEMBER, 2022

Appearance: Vishal Pratap Singh, Advocate for appellant; Veeranagouda Biradar, Additional Govt. Advocate for respondent

Click Here To Read/Download Judgment

Next Story