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Trial stand vitiated if the accused was not given a chance to explain the material against him. : Meghalaya High Court

The purpose is to establish a direct dialogue between the Court and the accused in Section 313 of the Code. It is right and right that the accused be questioned about the matter and given an opportunity of clarifying the matter if an important element of evidence is against the accused and the conviction was to be built on this, was used by Justice Ranjit More and Justice W.Diengdoh of Meghalaya High Court in the matter of Diskolan Rani versus State of Meghalaya[ Crl. A. No.3 of 2019]

This order was made for the facts that the appellant-accused Shri. Diskolan Rani and victims Shri went on 10-07-2013 to work in Umsohlait village. Donborlang Rynjah went to work. The appellant-accused stuck the victim with a small pocket-knife that hurt him severely on the same day, at 9:00 p.m. on their way back to the village of Umwiehsnieh and on reaching the village. The victim was taken immediately for medical treatment by Umning CHC. Dr. D. Nongrum from Umsning CHC provided a medical report showing that the victim had been severely injured by heavy weapons and that the victim was therefore referred to Shillong Civil Hospital for further treatment. 

Three eye-witnesses saw that the victims were attacked by the accused Shri. Diskolan Rani in a further investigation. They also helped the victim to receive treatment. These witnesses These three eyewitnesses recorded their statements. Other witnesses also recorded their statements. The PO (site) was visited during the investigation and a rough map was drawn of the same.

Learned counsel of the state was primarily based upon the filing of eyewitnesses at the outset not contested. He also stated fairly that the proceedings do not depend on factual evidence. He claimed that the eyewitness version P.Ws No. 4, 5 & 7, namely, supported the fact that, in the fateful night of the 10-07-2013, the appellants had inflicted injuries on the victims. Mr N. D. Chullai, who has been learned by the AAG regarding the victim’s evidence (P.W- 13) has requested our attention under Sec. 311 Cr. P. C. At any stage of an investigation, the Trial Court may summit material testimonies or examine any person, and therefore the review of P.W-13 (Victim) may not be misleading before the stage of the decision, and its deposition shall therefore be taken into account. Mr. N.D. Chullai, the AAG learning, finally argued that the appellant had sufficient evidence, so he was found guilty of an offence punishable under section 326 of the Indian penal code by the Sessions Courts.

In cross-examination, he has specifically admitted that he has not seen by his own eyes that the appellant-accused attacked the victim and the victim ran away to a little distance and cried for help. 

“In the aforesaid context learned Senior Counsel has referred to the judgement of this Court in Sharad Birdichand Sarda v. State of Maharashtra to contend that if the circumstances are not put to the accused in his statement under Section 313 of the Cr. P. C., they must be completely excluded from consideration because the accused did not have any chance to explain them. This has been also stated in the Hate Singh Bhagat v. the State of Madhya Pradesh case since 1953 as the consistent view of this Court.

Taking account of the entire facts, court is in the view that there is no record of the appellant’s offence under Section 326 of the Indian Penal Code in support of the prosecution case. The learned Sessions Judge, Nongpoh, committed a major mistake to rely on P.Ws No. 4, 5, 7 & 13 and to be eye-witnesses at P.Ws No. 4, 5 & 7. Therefore, the contested judgement and order cannot be upheld, it will be quashed and revoked. It acquits the appellant. If any, bail bonds are cancelled. If it is not required in any case, the competent authorities are directed to release the appellant immediately.

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