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Questions regarding where, when and in what condition and when, and by whom are to be answered beyond reasonable grounds: Chhattisgarh High Court

When there is a seizure, questions regarding where, when, and in what condition and when, and by whom are to be answered beyond reasonable grounds. Evidence produced must be sufficient to prove the above-stated conditions. In absence of the evidence, the conviction is not sustainable. A single-judge bench comprising of Justice Anubha Rawat Choudhary adjudicating in the matter of Mahanguram v. The State of Chhattisgarh (Criminal appeal No.1213 of 2014) dealt with an issue of whether to grant bail to the accused or not.

 In the present case, the appellant is appealing against the judgement dated 26.11.2014 where the appellant was convicted under section 123 of IPC along with Section 4(B) of the Explosive Substances Act.

The Respondents stated that they had received a piece of secret information that the Appellant who is the sarpanch of his village had kept Naxal literature and explosives in his house. The police found that explosive substance detonators, Naxal literature, banners, and pamphlets in the cowshed. The Appellant denied his guilt and pleaded innocence and stated that he has been falsely implicated.

 The Appellant contended that no documentary or oral evidence on record on the basis of which it could be said that the kotha from where the articles were seized was of ownership of the Appellant or was in his exclusive possession. In the present case, there are no independent witnesses to support the case of the Respondent. Also, no evidence was found regarding the seizure of the explosive substance and other articles were kept where, when and in what condition and when, by whom, and in what condition they were sent for examination. The Respondents opposed to the contentions made by the Appellant and witnesses made their depositions before the court.

After considering both the sides and minute examination of the evidences the court concluded that,” it is clear that the kotha from where the articles were seized was of ownership of the Appellant or was in his exclusive possession, no documentary evidence was collected by the prosecution in this regard. It appears that other members were also residing in the house of the Appellant.” Therefore, the cow kotha was of exclusive possession of the Appellant is not established “It is established that there is no evidence on record to show that when, by whom and in what condition the seized articles were kept in Malkhana and when, by whom and in what condition the seized explosive substance was taken out from the Malkhana for sending for examination, there is no documentary evidence available on record in this regard ”. Also, there is a suspicion in the examination proceedings. Hence it can be said that the Respondents fail to prove their case beyond reasonable doubt and appeal should be allowed.

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