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The initial burden of the accused’s guilt should be discharged by the prosecution for Section 106 of IEA: High Court of Patna

Section 106 of the Indian Evidence Act cannot be attracted unless the initial burden of establishing the guilt of the accused is prima facie discharged by the prosecution and the same was upheld by High Court of Delhi through the learned bench led by JUSTICE SUNIL KUMAR PANWAR in the case of Birendra Yadav vs. State Of Bihar [CRIMINAL APPEAL (DB) No.87 of 2014] on 10.03.2022.

The facts of the case that the appellant Birendra Yadav is resident of village Jhouwari in Purnea District of Bihar. Maharani Devi (since deceased) was daughter of Sunaiyna Devi. As the appellant and Maharani Devi (since deceased) were having their respective houses just opposite to each other, love relations between them developed and ultimately, Maharani Devi married appellant Birendra Yadav. According to the prosecution case, out of this wedlock, Maharani Devi gave birth to a female child named Madhu Kumari (since deceased), who at the relevant time was aged about three years.

It is case of the prosecution that appellant Birendra Yadav used to beat his wife Maharani Devi. After such incident, meeting of the Panchayat was called. Because of this incident, appellant accused Birendra Yadav became angry. Ultimately, appellant Birendra Yadav had committed murder of his wife Maharani Devi and his daughter Madhu Kumari by throttling. After committal of the case, charge for the offence punishable under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code came to be framed and explained to appellant accused. He pleaded not guilty and claimed to be tried.

The counsel for appellant argued that there is no evidence to connect the appellant to the crime in question and evidence of Sunaiyna Devi is totally unreliable and untrustworthy. Relying on the provisions of Section 106 of the Indian Evidence Act, the learned Prosecutor argued that appellant accused is presumed to have committed murder of his wife and the daughter. He has not explained how they died in his house and therefore the appeal deserves to be dismissed.

The Court held that provisions of Section 106 of the Indian Evidence Act has no application to the facts of the instant case because initial burden of proving the facts that appellant had committed murders of his wife and daughter is not discharged by the prosecution. Therefore, in absence of any prima facie evidence against the appellant, Section 106 of the Indian Evidence Act has no application in the instant case and the appellant was acquitted of the offence punishable under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code. The Court observed that, “section 106 of the Indian Evidence Act cannot be attracted unless the initial burden of establishing the guilt of the accused is prima facie discharged by the prosecution.”

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Judgment reviewed by – Shristi Suman

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