When prosecution is unable to prove its case beyond all reasonable doubts and court is unable to find any cogent reasons the accused should be acquitted-High Court of Punjab and Haryana.
In certain cases it can be seen that the accused are arrested and put up in trial without any proper investigation, even during trial the prosecution fails to prove the case beyond any reasonable doubt and Court is unable to find in cogent reasons for accepting that the crime is committed by the accused in such cases the accused should be acquitted of the charges. The landmark judgement passed by the single bench of HON’BLE JUSTICE ANITA CHAUDHRY in RAM PAL SINGH VS STATE OF PUNJAB (CRA-S-463-SB-2010 (O&M)) dealt with the issue mentioned above.
In this case the petitioner was accused of case under Section 15 of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985 and was convicted for 10 years of Rigorous Imprisonment and 1 lakh fine. Aggrieved from the conviction and sentence awarded to him, the appellant is before this Court.
Learned counsel for the appellant has assailed the conviction of the appellant primarily on the ground that the only independent witness was not examined and the identity of the accused hadn’t been established and there was no evidence to support the case of the prosecution that the official witness had identified them and no identification parade was held. It was urged that there was delay in deposit of samples and the CFSL form was not filled in as required under the rules and there was no evidence to show that any of the accused owned the scooter. It was also submitted that no evidence had been produced to show that any raid was conducted on the same day on the house of the accused.
The learned counsel for the state submitted that it was for the defense counsel to put the questions regarding the identity but they did not put any question to them and there was no reason to discard the statement of the official witnesses and the statement of police officials are reliable and no animosity was established against them and the conviction based on their statements cannot be faulted with. It was urged that the independent witness had been won-over by the accused and therefore, was given up and that would not be fatal for the prosecution case.
The Hon’ble court analyzed the facts of the present case and the arguments of both the parties and opined that “In this present case no one was arrested on the spot. No recovery was effected from any accused. There is no evidence that the police made any effort to conduct a raid at the house of the accused. This is a serious flaw in the prosecution case. The prosecution also failed to produce the registration certificate of the scooter to show that it was owned by one of the accused.. The prosecution had been unable to prove its case beyond all reasonable doubts and the trial Court had not given cogent reasons for accepting the statement of official witness. The findings recorded by the Court below are set aside. The appeal is accepted. The accused is acquitted of the charges.”
Judgement reviewed by Pratikshya Pattnaik