A statement under Section 313 of Cr.P.C. is not evidence but an explanation: High Court of Jharkhand

The Court was of the considered view that the prosecution was not able to prove the case beyond all reasonable doubt. Such an opinion was held by The Hon’ble High Court of Jharkhand before The Hon’ble Mrs. Justice Anubha Rawat Choudhary in the matter of Bhushan Mahto S/o Arjun Mahto and Anr Vs. The State of Jharkhand [Cr. Rev. No. 979 of 2012]. 

The facts of the case were associated with a criminal revision petition against a judgment passed by the learned Sessions Judge, Bokaro Camp at Tenughat dated 15.09.2012, wherein the petitioners were convicted for the charges under Section 47(a) of Excise Act. The counsel representing the petitioners contended that the impugned judgments were irrational and were unsustainable under the eyes of the law. It was also stated that five witnesses had deposed before the court out of 11 charge-sheeted witnesses. The counsel submitted that during such situations conviction of the petitioners must be set-aside. The trial court opined that even if the seized materials were not produced in the court, the same was not fatal to the prosecution case. The counsel also contended that the whole case rested upon the evidence of two police officers. 

The counsel representing the State opposed the prayer and contended that the seizure witnesses who turned hostile, have not disputed their signature on the seizure list. The counsel stated that the impugned judgements did not call for any interference in revisional jurisdiction in the absence of any perversity and material irregularity. It was reported that upon checking a Maruti Van, the officers found a total of 10 cartons of wine. After investigation, a charge sheet was submitted against the petitioners for an offence under Section 414 IPC and 47(a) of the Excise Act. There was no material on record to show that the seized wine was stolen material as found out by the Trial Court, therefore offence under Section 414 of the Indian Penal Code was not made out. 

Considering all submissions and facts The Hon’ble Court ruled out that “In view of the aforesaid facts and circumstances, the impugned judgements call for interference in revisional jurisdiction of this court in order to secure the ends of justice as the impugned judgements are perverse and suffer from material irregularity. Accordingly, the petitioners are entitled to benefit of doubt… This Criminal revision petition is accordingly allowed… The bailors are discharged of their liability under the bail bond.”

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Judgment reviewed by Bipasha Kundu

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