SC Upholds Conviction Of Man Accused Of Brutal Murder Of A Person Who Ventured to Depose Against Him, Acquits Co-Accused [Read Judgment]
“It is no doubt true that one man alone could not have committed such a ghastly crime by separating the dead body into two pieces.”, the Bench said.
The Supreme Court has upheld the conviction of a man accused of the brutal murder of a person allegedly to prevent him from deposing against him in a railway property theft case.
The bench of Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Mohan M Shantanagoudar acquitted four surviving co-accused (two had died after their conviction by the trial court) in the case observing that no specific or reliable evidence has come on record.
The court took note of two cases which were lodged against the accused, Kameshwar Singh in the years 1972 and 1973 with regard to theft of railway property and in both these cases the deceased, Gupteshwar Singh was a witness and observed that motive is also proved against the accused. There was evidence to the effect that the accused had said that the deceased would be done to death in case he deposes against him.
While giving benefit of doubt to other accused, the bench said: “Except the omnibus and vague evidence that they were also present and they also joined hands with the accused - Kameshwar Singh, no other specific and reliable material has come on record. Common object is also not proved. As mentioned supra, any amount of suspicion will not take the place of proof and hence after removing the grain from the chaff, we are of the opinion that the judgment of conviction passed against the accused Kameshwar Singh needs to be confirmed, and the same is hereby confirmed.”
Court’s duty to separate the grain from the chaff
The court made the following observation about the need to separate the grain from the chaff: “The maxim falsus in uno, falsus in omnibus (false in one thing, false in everything) is not being used in India. Virtually, it is not applicable to the Indian scenario. Hence, the said maxim is treated as neither a sound rule of law nor a rule of practice in India. Hardly, one comes across a witness whose evidence does not contain a grain of untruth or at any rate exaggerations, embroideries or embellishments. It is the duty of the Court to scrutinise the evidence carefully and, in terms of felicitous metaphor, separate the grain from the chaff. But, it cannot obviously disbelieve the substratum of the prosecution case or the material parts of the evidence and reconstruct a story of its own out of the rest. Efforts should be made to find the truth. This is the very object for which Courts are created. To search it out, the Court has to disperse the suspicious cloud and dust out the smear of dust, as all these things clog the very truth. So long as chaff, cloud and dust remain, the criminals are clothed with this protective layer to receive the benefit of doubt. So, it is a solemn duty of the Courts, not to merely conclude and leave the case the moment suspicions are created. It is the onerous duty of the Court, within permissible limits to find out the truth. It means, on one hand that no innocent man should be punished, but on the other hand to see no person committing an offence should go scot free. If in spite of such effort suspicion is not dissolved, it remains writ at large, benefit of doubt has to be credited to the accused. The evidence is to be considered from the point of view of trustworthiness and once the same stands satisfied, it ought to inspire confidence in the mind of the Court to accept the evidence.”
Read the Judgment Here