The Supreme Court in Bhagwan Sahai vs. State of Rajasthan has restated that if the prosecution has suppressed the genesis and origin of the occurrence of crime, the accused are entitled to get benefit of doubt.
Setting aside the judgment of the High Court which had found the accused guilty under section 308/34 of the IPC, Division Bench comprising of Justices Dipak Misra and Shiva Kirti Singh acquitted the accused. The High Court had held that since both the parties had withheld the origin and genesis of the occurrence and since it cannot be determined as to which party was the aggressor, the case had to be decided against the accused persons treating it as a case of free fight between the parties.
Terming the High Court finding as ‘misconceived’, the Court observed “Once the Court came to a finding that the prosecution has suppressed the genesis and origin of the occurrence and also failed to explain the injuries on the person of the accused including death of father of the appellants, the only possible and probable course left open was to grant benefit of doubt to the appellants.”
Referring to Lakshmi Singh and others v. State of Bihar, the Court further said “The appellants can legitimately claim right to use force once they saw their parents being assaulted and when actually it has been shown that due to such assault and injury their father subsequently died. In the given facts, adverse inference must be drawn against the prosecution for not offering any explanation much less a plausible one. Drawing of such adverse inference is given a go-bye in the case of free fight mainly because the occurrence in that case may take place at different spots and in such a manner that a witness may not reasonably be expected to see and therefore explain the injuries sustained by the defence party. This is not the factual situation in the present case.”
Read the Judgment here.