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In a case based on circumstantial evidence, the accused cannot be found guilty if the prosecution’s required chain of events is not proven: Uttarakhand High Court

In a case based on circumstantial evidence, the accused cannot be found guilty if the prosecution’s required chain of events is not proven is upheld by the High Court of Uttarakhand in the case of Hidayat Ali v. the State of Uttarakhand through a Division Bench consisting of Acting Chief Justice Sanjaya Kumar Mishra and Justice Ramesh Chandra Khulbe.

FACTS OF THE CASE

A criminal appeal was filed in opposition to a ruling that found the appellant guilty of crimes covered by Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code. In addition to this, he was given a life sentence of rigorous imprisonment and a fine of Rs. 5,000. The offender received a three-month sentence of strict jail for failing to make the required payment.

As per the written report, the father of the appellant was allegedly assassinated by throat cut. Subsequently, a complaint was filed against unidentified individuals. After the incident was looked into, the appellant was named on a charge sheet.

The case was forwarded to the Court of Sessions after compliance with Section 207 CrPC. Under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code, the sessions judge drafted the charges. The Trial Court came to the conclusion that the prosecution had fully established its case against the accused-appellant after reviewing all of the available material. As a result, it went on to convict and sentence the accused appellant.

JUDGEMENT

The Court cited the case of Padam Singh v. State of Uttar Pradesh (Appeal (Crl.)  679 of 1997), in which it was determined that the accused is presumed to be innocent when they are first accused and such presumption lasts until they are found guilty by the final Court of Appeal and that neither an acquittal nor a conviction in the trial court will affect such presumption.

The Court also observed that there is always a risk that imagination or suspicion will take place of objective evidence in a case that relies heavily on circumstantial evidence.

Thus, the Uttarakhand High Court overturned the conviction, pointing out that in a case based on circumstantial evidence, the accused cannot be found guilty if the prosecution’s required chain of events is not proven. According to established legal rules, the prosecution should present and prove all the evidence necessary to establish a full chain without a break and the possibility that no one other than the accused committed the crime.

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JUDGEMENT REVIEWED BY NISHTHA GARHWAL

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