The Delhi High Court has passed a judgment on 23-03-2023 in the case of Azad @Gaurav vs State of GNCT of Delhi & Another CRL.A. 593/2022. Justice Sudhir Kumar Jain disposed of the petition.
FACTS OF THE CASE
The relevant facts as mentioned in the impugned judgment are reproduced as under:- The prosecution, in this case, has filed the chargesheet against four accused persons alleging commission of offence U/s 395/398/464/471 IPC. As per the chargesheet, total five accused were involved in the alleged incident but one of the accused Sanjeet during investigation was declared Proclaimed Offender and has not been arrested till now.
The case of the prosecution summed up in the chargesheet is that the only victim of the incident namely Manish Aggarwal is doing the business of mattresses in the name of “Mahal International” at Village Hiran Kudna, Delhi. On 30.06.2017, he came to Chandni Chowk at “Jayanti Parveen Firm”, at 320, Kucha Ghansi Ram, Chandni Chowk, Delhi, to collect payment. On that day, at about 05:30 PM, he after collecting the payment of Rs.2,64,000/- kept by him in his bag, left Chandni Chowk in a rickshaw for Tis Hazari Metro Station. At about 05:50 PM, he reached at Tis Hazari Metro Station and while he was going at Footover Bridge, two boys followed him on Footover bridge out of whom one snatched his bag having cash and other documents. Thereafter, they both ran away from there. He (victim) chased those boys and saw that two more boys were already standing on two different bikes on the road and the boys who came on Footover Bridge sat on those bikes and ran away from the spot. The victim in his initial statement said that he can identify those boys if shown to him. On this statement of the victim, on the same day of incident, the FIR of this case was registered and investigation was carried out.
On the next day of the incident i.e. 01.07.2017, the complainant gave his supplementary statement in which he stated that one of the snatcher was also having pistol with him at the time of incident which he (victim) could not disclose on 30.06.2017, due to fear. He further said in his supplementary statement that in the bag snatched by the wrong doers, one cheque book of Syndicate Bank of his firm “Morph Industries” having account no. 91711010000032, one cheque book of State Bank of India of account no. 32015241943, two stamps of “Morph Industry” & “Mahal International” and certain photocopies of the documents, were also there. The denomination of Rs.2,64,000/- was given by him as 132 currency notes of Rs of Rs.2000/- each.
After completion of investigation, chargesheet was filed in the court of concerned Ld. Metropolitan Magistrate (MM), who after compliance of Section 207 IPC, committed the case to Session. Vide order dated 19.01.2018, charge u/s 395 IPC against accused Bharat Kumar Goswami, Kanhaie Jha, Azad @ Gaurav and Jitender @ Jitu, charge U/s 397 IPC upon accused Bharat Kumar Goswami and charge U/s 392 IPC upon accused Kanhaie Jha, Azad @ Gaurav and Jitender @ Jittu was framed. However, accused Jitender @ Jitu was discharged for the offence U/s 468/471 IPC observing that the material on record is not sufficient to frame charge under these provisions. Thereafter, matter was fixed for Prosecution Evidence.
The court took reference from the case of Veer Singh & others V State of UP, (2014) where supreme court observed as “Legal system has laid emphasis on value, weight and quality of evidence rather than on quantity, multiplicity or plurality of witnesses. It is not the number of witnesses but quality of their evidence which is important as there is no requirement under the Law of Evidence that any particular number of witnesses is to be examined to prove/disprove a fact. Evidence must be weighed and not counted. It is quality and not quantity which determines the adequacy of evidence as has been provided Under Section 134 of the Evidence Act. As a general rule the Court can and may act on the testimony of a single witness provided he is wholly reliable”
The court said that the CDR data cannot be safely relied on to establish their criminality for the offence of dacoity, and therefore, the trial court was not justified in convicting the accused under section 395 IPC.
The bench thus partly allowed the appeal and modified the order passed by the trial court.
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JUDGMENT REVIEWED BY ABHINAV CHATURVEDI