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Section 106 Evidence Act Applies To Cases Where Chain Of Events Has Been Successfully Established By The Prosecution: Supreme Court

Ashok KM
21 May 2022 4:49 AM GMT
Section 106 Evidence Act Applies To Cases Where Chain Of Events Has Been Successfully Established By The Prosecution: Supreme Court
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The Supreme Court observed that the Section 106 of the Indian Evidence Act applies to cases where chain of events has been successfully established by the prosecution, from which a reasonable inference is made out against the accused.

In a case based on circumstantial evidence, whenever an incriminating question is posed to the accused and he or she either evades response, or offers a response which is not true, then such a response in itself becomes an additional link in the chain of event, the bench comprising CJI NV Ramana, Justices Krishna Murari and Hima Kohli observed.

In this case, the accused's conviction under Section 302 IPC was modified by the High Court, by partly allowing the appeal, to conviction under Section 304 (II) IPC. Before the Apex Court, the appellant-accused contended that in the absence of the prosecution having failed to prove its case beyond reasonable doubt, the High Court cannot supplant Section 106 of the Evidence Act to discharge the burden of proof incumbent upon the prosecution. Opposing their appeal, the State contended that the prosecution has successfully established the chain of events beyond reasonable doubt and thus Section 106 of Evidence Act could be applied.

Since the contentions of either side were based on the interpretation of Section 106 Evidence Act, the bench referred to the said provision and observed:

Section 106 of the Evidence Act postulates that the burden of proving things which are within the special knowledge of an individual is on that individual. Although the Section in no way exonerates the prosecution from discharging its burden of proof beyond reasonable doubt, it merely prescribes that when an individual has done an act, with an intention other than that which the circumstances indicate, the onus of proving that specific intention falls onto 9 the individual and not on the prosecution. If the accused had a different intention than the facts are specially within his knowledge which he must prove.
..Thus, although Section 106 is in no way aimed at relieving the prosecution from its burden to establish the guilt of an accused, it applies to cases where chain of events has been successfully established by the prosecution, from which a reasonable inference is made out against the accused. Moreover, in a case based on circumstantial evidence, whenever an incriminating question is posed to the accused and he or she either evades response, or offers a response which is not true, then such a response in itself becomes an additional link in the chain of events.

The court noted that the prosecution has succeeded in establishing intention of the accused-appellants for the commission of the offence. Such an intention, when analyzed in the light of the statements made by all the sets of witnesses, and fatal injuries sustained by the deceased at the relevant place and time, certainly makes out a strong case that death of the deceased was indeed caused by the appellants, the court said. Dismissing the appeal, the court observed:

Therefore, once the prosecution had successfully established the chain of events, the burden was on the appellants to prove it otherwise. Thus, the High Court rightly observed that in light of Section 106 of the Evidence Act, the onus was now on the appellants to disclose how the deceased lost his life...it can be deduced that the entire sequence of events strongly point towards the guilt of the accused appellants, and that the appellants have failed to offer any credible defense in this regard


Case details

Sabitri Samantaray vs State of Odisha | 2022 LiveLaw (SC) 503 | CrA 988 OF 2017| 20 May 2022

Coram: CJI NV Ramana, Justices Krishna Murari and Hima Kohli

Counsel:

Headnotes

Indian Evidence Act, 1872 ; Section 106 - Although Section 106 is in no way aimed at relieving the prosecution from its burden to establish the guilt of an accused, it applies to cases where chain of events has been successfully established by the prosecution, from which a reasonable inference is made out against the accused. Moreover, in a case based on circumstantial evidence, whenever an incriminating question is posed to the accused and he or she either evades response, or offers a response which is not true, then such a response in itself becomes an additional link in the chain of events.




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