The rule regarding the benefit of doubt does not warrant acquittal of the accused by resorting to surmises, conjectures or fanciful considerations, the Bench said.
The Supreme Court in Yogesh Singh Vs. Mahabeer Singh, has held that the burden on the prosecution is only to establish its case beyond all reasonable doubt and not all doubts and the rule regarding the benefit of doubt does not warrant acquittal of the accused by resorting to surmises, conjectures or fanciful considerations.
A bench comprising Justice Pinaki Chandra Ghose and Justice Amitava Roy set aside an Allahabad High Court judgment which had acquitted the accused in a murder case and restored the conviction recorded by the trial court.
Referring to State of U.P. vs. Krishna Gopal and Anr. and State of Punjab Vs. Jagir Singh, the court observed: “It is a cardinal principle of criminal jurisprudence that the guilt of the accused must be proved beyond all reasonable doubts. However, the burden on the prosecution is only to establish its case beyond all reasonable doubt and not all doubts.”
The bench observed that the accused was not per se entitled for acquittal on the ground of non-compliance of mandatory provisions of Section 313 CrPC. With regard to the contention with respect to delay in sending FIR to magistrate, the bench said it could not be laid down as a rule of universal application that whenever there is some delay in sending the FIR to the magistrate, the prosecution version becomes unreliable and the trial stands vitiated. When there is positive evidence to the fact that the FIR was recorded without unreasonable delay and investigation started on the basis of that FIR and there is no other infirmity brought to the notice of the court, then in the absence of any prejudice to the accused, it cannot be concluded that the investigation was tainted and the prosecution story rendered unsupportable, the bench added.
Restoring the trial court judgment, the court also held that site plan is not a ground to disbelieve the otherwise credible testimony of eye-witnesses.
Read the Judgment here.