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Suspicion However Strong Cannot Be Ground For Conviction : Supreme Court Acquits Murder Accused

LIVELAW NEWS NETWORK
11 Aug 2022 2:18 PM GMT
Suspicion However Strong Cannot Be Ground For Conviction : Supreme Court Acquits Murder Accused
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An accused cannot be convicted on the ground of suspicion, no matter how strong it is, the Supreme Court reiterated while acquitting an accused in a murder case.

In this case, the accused Ram Niwas was accused of murder of one Dalip Singh. The Trial Court convicted him under Section 302 IPC which was confirmed by the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

In appeal before the Apex Court, Advocate on Record Rishi Malhotra contended that in the absence of the prosecution proving that the dead-­body was of deceased Dalip Singh, the conviction was not sustainable. He highlighted the admission of the Doctor who conducted post mortem that the face of the dead body of which he had carried the postmortem was not recognizable. The State through AAG Birendra Kumar Choudhary relied on an extra judicial confession made by the accused to support the impugned judgment.

Referring to the entire evidence on record, the bench noticed that the prosecution case rests on circumstantial evidence. The bench, referred to Sharad Birdhichand Sarda vs. State of Maharashtra (1984) 4 SCC 116, and observed:

This Court has held that there has to be a chain of evidence so complete so as not to leave any reasonable ground for a conclusion consistent with the innocence of the accused and must show that in all human probability the act must have been done by the accused. It has been held that the circumstances should be of a conclusive nature and tendency. This Court has held that the circumstances should exclude every possible hypothesis except the one to be proved. It has been held that the accused 'must be' and not merely 'may be' guilty before a Court can convict.. It is settled law that the suspicion, however strong it may be, cannot take the place of proof beyond reasonable doubt. An accused cannot be convicted on the ground of suspicion, no matter how strong it is. An accused is presumed to be innocent unless proved guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

Allowing the appeal, the bench concluded that the prosecution has utterly failed to establish the chain of events which can be said to exclusively lead to the one and only conclusion, i.e., the guilt of the accused.

Case details

Ram Niwas vs State of Haryana 2022 LiveLaw (SC) 670 | CrA 25 OF 2012 | 11 August 2022 | Justices BR Gavai and PS Narasimha

Criminal Trial - Circumstantial Evidence - The chain of evidence has to be so complete so as not to leave any reasonable ground for a conclusion consistent with the innocence of the accused and must show that in all human probability the act must have been done by the accused - The circumstances should be of a conclusive nature and tendency and should exclude every possible hypothesis except the one to be proved - The accused 'must be' and not merely 'may be' guilty before a Court can convict - Suspicion, however strong it may be, cannot take the place of proof beyond reasonable doubt. An accused cannot be convicted on the ground of suspicion, no matter how strong it is. An accused is presumed to be innocent unless proved guilty beyond a reasonable doubt - Referred to Sharad Birdhichand Sarda vs. State of Maharashtra (1984) 4 SCC 116. (Para 18-20)

Criminal Trial - Extra judicial confession - When there is a case hanging on an extra­judicial confession, corroborated only by circumstantial evidence, then the courts must treat the same with utmost caution - Referred to S. Arul Raja vs. State of Tamil Nadu (2010) 8 SCC 233. (Para 15)

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