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Benefit of Doubt in Respect Acquittal where Offences could not be Compounded: Supreme Court of India

The compoundable offences were first compounded during trial but since the offence under Section 302/34 IPC could not be compounded, the benefit to candidates including those acquitted by the Court by giving benefit of doubt. This honorable judgement was passed by Supreme Court of India in the case of The State of Rajasthan & Ors v Love Kush Meena [CIVIL APPEAL NO.3894 OF 2020] by The Hon’ble Sanjay Kishan Kaul.

The respondents were charged under Sections 302,341,323,34 Indian Penal Code and tried before the Additional Sessions Judge (Fast Track), Laxman Garh, District Alwar, Rajasthan. The complainant for tilling a disputed in field in jungle Patan by complainant who forbaded them to till the land and apparently stayed back in the field. At that time, the tractor driver drove the tractor and ran over. The complainant rushed to her side but were beaten up and knife injuries were inflicted upon them by respondents. Injured was taken in a Buggi to the hospital where the doctor declared her brought dead. The charge sheet was filled against all the accused persons. It was relevant to note that during the trial injured persons, filed a compromise in favour of accused persons under Sections 341,323 of IPC which was approved but naturally, there would not had been any compromise qua the offences under Section 302/34 IPC. The judgment dated 01.05.2009 that “the prosecution had failed to prove the case against the accused persons beyond reasonable doubt”. The respondent herein participated in the same and it appears was successful in the recruitment in police and was found not eligible in view of the aforesaid. The Writ Petition was allowed in terms of the judgment dated 11.11.2016, The second round began where the acquittal is by giving benefit of doubt would not disqualify a candidate. In the present appeal post issuance of notice, leave was granted on 27.11.2020 and the interim order passed on 03.02.2020 staying the operation of the impugned order was made absolute.

Learned counsel for the appellant has referred to case of Avtar Singh v. Union of India & Ors, Union Territory, Chandigarh Administration & Ors. v. Pradeep Kumar & Anr, State of Madhya Pradesh &Ors. v. Abhijit Singh Pawar and Anil Bharadwaj v. High Court of Madhya Pradesh & Ors.

The court opinioned that, “It seeks to give the benefit to candidates including those acquitted by the Court by giving benefit of doubt. However, such circular has to be read in the context of the judicial  pronouncements and when this Court has repeatedly opined that giving benefit of doubt would not entitle candidate for appointment, despite the circular, the impugned decision of the competent authority dated 23.05.2017 cannot be said to suffer from infirmity as being in violation of the circular when it is in conformity with the law laid down by this Court.”

The appeal is allowed stating that, “the impugned judgment of the Division Bench dated 16.07.2019 and learned Single Judge dated 14.05.2018 are set aside leaving the parties to bear their own costs. And the view that the impugned orders cannot be sustained and the appellants are well within their rights to have issued the order dated 23.05.2017.”

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