Incriminating evidence is required to convict – Bombay High Court

Bombay High Court held that mere non-explanation on the part of the appellant, by itself cannot lead to proof of guilt against the appellant held by Justice Smt.Sadhana S.Jadhav and Justice N.J. Jamadar in the case of Sachin Subhash Londhe Vs State of Maharashtra [Criminal Appeal No 714 of 2016].

In the present case, the police had received an information that one male person was lying in a pool of blood in a shed at one Shivaji Hotel. The deceased was identified and upon investigation it was found that the appellant and the deceased after had an argument while the deceased was intoxicated. After two hours of this incident, the body of the deceased was found in the shed of the hotel. It had transpired in the investigation that deceased was hurling abuses to the accused and therefore, the accused had assaulted the deceased with a stone. Charges were filed and the appellant was convicted by Additional Sessions Judge for the offence punishable under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code and sentenced him to a rigorous imprisonment for life and a fine of Rs.2,000/-. The appeal has been initiated challenging the said decision before the High Court.

The appellant submitted that there is no material on record to show that the appellant is the author of the injuries sustained by the deceased or that he has caused the homicidal death of deceased. The question for determination before the court was whether the prosecution has brought on record convincing and cogent material to implicate the appellant in the alleged homicidal death.

The Court after examining the witnesses observed that, “It is clear that there was no enmity between the accused and the deceased. Neither there was any motive to eliminate the deceased. The evidence is otherwise. It would show that they were in the liquor shop at the same time but the accused had left the liquor shop even before the deceased and after he returned, he was accompanying the deceased who was waiting alone in the shop. The recovery of blood-stained clothes coupled with the Forensic Science Laboratory report does not show that the blood on the clothes of the accused were that of the deceased. Blood group of the deceased could not be determined and therefore, finding of the blood stains on the clothes of the accused would not be an incriminating circumstance.”

The High Court while squashing the conviction and sentence imposed upon the accused/appellant heavily relied on the case of Kanhaiya Lal Vs. State of Rajasthan [(2014) 4 SCC] where the Hon’ble Apex Court had held that “The circumstance of last seen together does not by itself and necessarily lead to the inference that it was the accused who committed the crime. There must be something more establishing connectivity between the accused and the crime.”

Hence, taking into consideration the totality of the facts and evidence, the circumstances relied upon by the prosecution were not established by convincing evidence and they did not form a complete chain pointing to the guilt of the appellant and hence, the appellant deserves to be acquitted. Hence, they passed the following order:-

(i) Appeal was allowed.

(ii) The conviction and sentence imposed upon the accused (Sachin Subhash Londhe) vide judgment and order dated 7th April 2016 passed by the Additional Sessions Judge, Islampur in Sessions Case No.51 of 2014 was hereby quashed and set aside.

(iii) The accused has been released forthwith, if not required in any other offence.

(iv)Fine amount, if paid, be refunded.

(v) Appeal was disposed of.

Click here to read the Judgment

Judgment Reviewed by – Savita

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