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The appellate court should interfere with the conclusions of the trial court only when they are palpably erroneous, unreasonable, perverse and likely to result in injustice: Bombay High Court

The appellate court should interfere with the conclusions of the trial court only when they are palpably erroneous, unreasonable, perverse and likely to result in injustice, this was upheld as a part of the principle on which reversal of acquittal is based, in the recent matter of The State of Maharashtra v. Omprakash @ Munna Aliyar Singh & Ors. [CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 428 OF 2001], listed Bombay High Court, Criminal Civil Appellate Jurisdiction. The final proceedings of the case were taken place on February 10th 2022, and the said proceedings were presided by a coram comprising of Justice S.S. Shinde & Justice Milind N. Jadhav.

The facts, as presented before the court of law, are as follows. Respondent No. 1 and his father had a long-standing dispute with the deceased and his brother in respect of a room housing a manufacturing unit. The deceased and his brother had paid a consideration of Rs. 50,000.00 to the Respondent No. 1 and his father for the manufacturing unit. However, the latter demanded more money from the former, over and above the consideration that was already paid.

On 27.11.1997 the deceased left the manufacturing unit. According to the Prosecution, the deceased was attacked and assaulted with deadly weapons. As a result, the deceased was injured seriously. However, on reaching the hospital, the deceased was pronounced dead.

The court also places reliance on Murlidhar @ Gidda v. State of Karnataka [2014 (5) SCC 730 : 2014 (2) SCC (Cri) 690] where it was held that “the High Court has full power to review the evidence upon which the order of acquittal was founded, but it is equally well settled that the presumption of innocence of the accused is further reinforced by his acquittal by the trial court, and the findings of the trial court which had the advantage of seeing the witnesses and hearing their evidence can be reversed only for very substantial and compelling reasons.”

Court, after perusal of facts and evidences, held that “reversal of acquittal is permissible on the touchstone of the principle that the appellate court should, generally, be loath in disturbing the finding of facts recorded by a trial court as the trial court has the advantage of seeing the demeanor of the witnesses, and that the appellate court should interfere with the conclusions of the trial court only when they are palpably erroneous, unreasonable, perverse and likely to result in injustice.” In addition to the above, the court related the case with the principle and held that “we may state that there are demonstrable flaws in the evidence given by the key prosecution witnesses.. However, given that this evidence in our opinion is not only palpably erroneous, but also unreliable to prove the chain of causation of the actual incident beyond reasonable doubt. The findings of the Trial Court conform with our reappraisal of evidence on record, and hence we concur with the findings of the Trial Court in its entirety.”

Judgment reviewed by Pranav Sharma

 

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