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Patna High Court discharges bail bond liability and acquits the accused in a murder case

Case Title: Ravindra Singh and others v. State of Bihar

Case No.: Cr. Appeal No. 290 of 2017, Cr. Appeal No. 318 of 2017

Dated on: 17 May 2024

Coram: Hon’ble MR. JUSTICE RAJEEV RANJAN PRASAD and Hon’ble MR. JUSTICE JITENDRA KUMAR

 FACTS OF THE CASE

Janak Singh, The informant, his son and some people of his village had deposed against Ravindra Singh, the Mukhiya of Sevatar Gram Panchayat regarding alleged irregularities in the Indira Awas scheme to the B.D.O of Mohra Block on 3 September 2004. After inquiry when the B.D.O. went from Riula then on the same day at about 14:00 hours (i) Ravindra Singh; (ii) Deo Nandan Singh; (iii) Prabhanjan Singh; (iv) Tanik Singh; (v) Babloo Singh; (vi) Ashok Singh; and (vii) Umesh Singh armed with weapons encircled the informant and others in the paddy field situated to the west of Devi Asthan with common intention to kill them. Ravindra fired from the rifle in his hand upon Manohar Singh, the son of the informant. The shot first hit his left hand and after piercing the same, it went into the chest. When the informant and his son Mukesh went to save Manohar, then Deo Nandan Singh, Babloo and Prabhanjan Singh assaulted them by the butt of rifle and gun causing injury on head. The informant was assaulted by Tanik Singh, Ashok Singh and Umesh Singh on his left hand by butt of gun. The informant had become unconscious whereafter he was brought to Anugrah Narayan Magadh Medical College and Hospital on the same day and during treatment, Manohar Singh died. An FIR was filed and after investination  charges were framed against the accused under Sections 147, 148, 149, 323, 324, 307 and 302 IPC and Section 27 of the Arms Act. After examining the evidences available on the record and upon consideration of the submissions of the prosecution as well as the defence, the learned trial court held the appellants to be guilty of the charge for the offence punishable under Section 302 IPC.

ISSUES

  • Whether the delay in giving the fardbeyan (First Information Report) affects the credibility of the prosecution’s case.
  • Whether the trial court correctly convicted the accused under Section 302/34 IPC (murder with common intention) without establishing the necessary elements of common intention and participation in the crime.
  • Whether the contradictions in the statements of the prosecution witnesses impact the reliability of their testimonies.

LEGAL PROVISIONS

Section 302 of the Indian penal Code (IPC):

Section 302 of IPC deals with the punishment for murder. It states that whoever commits murder shall be punished with death or imprisonment for life, and shall also be liable to fine.

Section 34 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC):

This section pertains to acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention. It states that when a criminal act is done by several persons in furtherance of the common intention of all, each of such persons is liable for that act in the same manner as if it were done by him alone.

Section 149 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC):

This section states that every member of an unlawful assembly guilty of an offense committed in the prosecution of a common object. It states that if an offense is committed by any member of an unlawful assembly in prosecution of the common object of that assembly, or such as the members of that assembly knew to be likely to be committed in prosecution of that object, every person who, at the time of the committing of that offense, is a member of the same assembly, is guilty of that offense.

Section 325 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC):

This section pertains to the punishment for voluntarily causing grievous hurt. It states that whoever, except in the case provided for by section 335, voluntarily causes grievous hurt shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to seven years, and shall also be liable to fine.

Section 323 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC):

This section deals with the punishment for voluntarily causing hurt. It states that whoever, except in the case provided for by section 334, voluntarily causes hurt shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to one year, or with fine which may extend to one thousand rupees, or with both.

Section 27 of the Arms Act, 1959:

This section pertains to the punishment for using arms, etc. It states that whoever uses any arms or ammunition in contravention of section 5 shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to seven years, and shall also be liable to fine.

CONTENTIONS OF THE APPELLANT

The appellants contended that there was a significant delay in providing the F.I.R., raising doubts about the prosecution’s case. The appellants contended that the prosecution witness’s assertions were consistently contradictory, making their testimony untrustworthy. Furthermore, the prosecution did not call any independent witnesses to testify, even though there were hundreds of persons at the scene. There is insufficient supporting evidence to back up the prosecution’s case, as indicated by the absence of an independent witness. The appellants proposed that this false claim may have sprung from past familial animosity between them. At last, the appellants contested the trial court’s decision that the prosecution could not establish a shared intention between them. As a result, the appellant claimed that the trial court’s decision was unfair.

CONTENTIONS OF THE RESPONDENT

The respondents argued that the delay in lodging the FIR was due to the injuries inflicted upon them made them unconscious and as soon as the injured witness gained consciousness, they filed the FIR and thus lodging the FIR did not necessarily imply that the case was false. The prosecution emphasized that the evidence of injured witnesses, such as Janak Kishore Singh (PW-3) and Mukesh Kumar (PW-4), has greater evidentiary value unless compelling reasons exist there, their statements cannot be discarded lightly. They argued that the prosecution has been able to establish the genesis and the manner of occurrence through these witnesses. The prosecution sought to corroborate the evidence of the injured witnesses by pointing out that the Doctor (PW-5) found charring margin injuries on the deceased, which supported the prosecution’s case that Ravindra Singh fired a single shot from a distance of 4 feet. They also highlighted that the evidence of Dr. Ajay Kumar Jha (PW-5) and Dr. Asim Mishra (PW-7) corroborated the single entry wound with no exit injury, which further strengthened the prosecution’s case. They cited the Supreme Court’s judgment in Vadivelu Thevar and Another versus State of Madras, which held that the court should convict if it is satisfied that the testimony of a single witness is entirely reliable. In all the prosecution contended that minor inconsistencies do not affect the consequences as all the witnesses corroborated the evidence of time and place.

COURT’S ANALYSIS AND JUDGEMENT

The high court found the delay in giving the FIR to be significant. It was of the view that the delay was not satisfactorily explained as the prosecution said that the injured witness had become unconscious but the court found that even though there were other witnesses present no one else could Lodge an FIR neither were any independent witness examined which raised reasonable suspicion. The court observed substantial contradiction in the statements of  the main injured witnesses due to their inimical relationship with the accused and other witnesses as well which made their statements unreliable. The High Court also found no conclusive evidence of common intention among the accused to convict them under Section 302/34 IPC. The Court cited previous judgments, including Mahbub Shah v. King-Emperor, Mamand v. Emperor, Fazoo Khan v. Jatoo Khan, and Kripal v. State of U.P., to emphasize the necessity of proving common intention for conviction under Section 34 IPC. The high court after assessing the medical witnesses came to a view that the prosecution also failed to prove that the injuries caused to them was only though rifles and guns. This lack of conclusive proof further weakened the prosecution case. The high court henceforth set aside the convictions of the appellants under Section 302/34 IPC and Section 27 of the Arms Act due to the failure to establish their presence at the scene and the absence of proof of common intention. The Court also set aside the convictions of Tanik Singh and Umesh Singh under Section 325/34 IPC and of Deo Nandan Singh, Babloo Singh, and Prabhanjan Singh under Section 323 IPC. The High Court allowed the appeals, discharging the appellants from their bail bond liabilities and overturning the trial court’s judgment.

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Judgement Reviewed by – PRATYASA MISHRA

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Rajasthan High Court Granted probation to convicted appellants in an attempted murder case

 Case title: Unknow VS State of Rajasthan

Case no.: S.B. Criminal Appeal No. 483/1993

Dated on:  February 19th 2024

Quorum:  Hon’ble. MR Justice GANESH RAM MEENA

FACTS OF THE CASE

The present criminal appeal has been preferred by the accused-appellants against the judgment of conviction and sentence dated 26.11.1993 passed by the Court of learned Special Judge, Prevention of Scheduled Castes/ Scheduled Tribes, Prevention of Atrocities, Jaipur (for short ‘the trial Court’) in Sessions Case No.88/1990. Five years Rigorous Imprisonment and fine of Rs.2,000/- and in default of payment of fine, to undergo 2 months imprisonment. Five years Rigorous Imprisonment and fine of Rs.2,000/- and in default of payment of fine, to undergo 2 months imprisonment. Fine of Rs.100/- each and in default of payment of fine each of the accused appellant has to undergo 15 days imprisonment. On filing of appeal, the sentence awarded to the accused appellants was suspended vide order dated 13.12.1993 and they were released on bail.

ISSUES

  • Whether the reformation of the accused-appellants and their peaceful conduct post-bail support the argument that they do not pose a risk to public safety and thus should be granted probation?
  • Whether the objections raised by the learned Public Prosecutor, opposing leniency and probation due to the nature and manner of the offense, should preclude the granting of probation to the accused-appellants?
  • Whether the prolonged duration of the trial and the resultant mental agony and harassment faced by the accused-appellants since 1993 warrant leniency in sentencing?
  • Whether the conviction and sentence of the accused-appellants by the trial court under Sections 307 and 323 read with Section 34 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) were valid and justified?
  • Whether the accused-appellants are entitled to the benefit of probation under Section 4 of the Probation of Offenders Act, 1958, considering their age, lack of criminal antecedents, and behaviour post-conviction?

 LEGAL PROVISIONS

Indian Penal Code (IPC)

Section 307 IPC: This section pertains to the offense of attempt to murder. It deals with the intention or knowledge of committing murder, and the actions taken in furtherance of that intention. The maximum punishment under this section is imprisonment for up to 10 years, and if the act causes hurt, the punishment can extend to life imprisonment, along with a fine.

Section 323 IPC: This section addresses the punishment for voluntarily causing hurt. The punishment can be imprisonment for up to one year, or a fine up to one thousand rupees, or both.

Section 34 IPC: This section pertains to acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention. When a criminal act is done by several persons in furtherance of the common intention of all, each of such persons is liable for that act as if it were done by him alone.

Probation of Offenders Act, 1958

Section 4: This section allows the court to release certain offenders on probation of good conduct instead of sentencing them to imprisonment. The court can use this provision for offenders who have committed offenses not punishable with death or life imprisonment, and if the court deems it appropriate after considering the offender’s age, character, and the circumstances of the case.

CONTENTIONS OF THE APPELLANT

Mr. V.R. Bajwa, Senior Counsel assisted by Mr. Amar Kumar and Ms. Savita Nathawat, appearing for the accused appellants instead of arguing the appeal on its merits with regard to challenge to the conviction and sentence, confines his arguments for grant of benefit of probation to the appellants under the provisions of Probation of Offenders Act, 1958 (hereinafter referred to as ‘the Act of 1958’). Counsel further submits that except the present case, no case has been registered against the accused-appellants. Counsel further submits that the accused appellants are living peacefully in the society without there being any criminal antecedents to their discredit. Senior Counsel further submits that the accused-appellants have faced trial for about three years and against the impugned judgment, they preferred the appeal in the year, 1993. Thus, from the last 33 years, the accused-appellants are facing mental agony and harassment because of pendency of criminal case registered against them. Counsel further submits that the maximum sentence under Section 307 of IPC is 07 years but in the present case, the accused appellant No.1 Nawal Kishore has been convicted for offence under Section 307 of IPC and accused appellant No.2-Rajesh has been convicted for the offence under section 34 read with section 307 IPC and they been sentenced to undergo five years Rigorous Imprisonment and for the offence under section 323 read with section 34 IPC a fine of Rs.100/- has been imposed upon each of them. Senior Counsel further submits that the accused appellant No.1 is 59 years of age and the accused appellant No.2 is 56 years of age. Thus, taking into consideration the aforesaid facts, the accused-appellants may be given the benefit of probation under the provisions of the Act of 1958.

CONTENTIONS OF THE RESPONDENTS

Learned Public Prosecutor appearing for the State opposed the prayer made by the counsel appearing for the appellants and submits that looking to the allegations and the manner in which the incident took place, the appellants are not entitled for any kind of leniency in awarding sentence as well as the benefit of probation under Section 4 of the Act of 1958. Considered the submissions made by the Senior Counsel appearing for the appellants as well as the learned Public Prosecutor. Learned trial Court while considering the issue of granting leniency to the accused appellants, has rejected their prayer in regard to the leniency. Section 4 of the Act of 1958 nowhere says that the benefit of probation cannot be allowed to an accused who is above 21 years of age. The Act of 1958 deals with the powers of the Court to release certain offenders for good conduct.

COURT’S ANALYSIS AND JUDGEMENT

The Statement of Objects and Reasons of the said Act explains the rationale for the enactment and its amendments: to give the benefit of release of offenders on probation of good conduct instead of sentencing them to imprisonment. Thus, increasing emphasis on the reformation and rehabilitation of offenders as useful and self-reliant members of society without subjecting them to the deleterious effects of jail life is what is sought to be subserved. The main object of sentencing a convicted person is to bring in him certain character reformation and to keep him away from the society so as to see that the impact of his criminal character does not put any adverse impact on any other person. In the present case, after conviction of the accused appellants, their sentence was suspended and they were release on bail vide order dated 13.12.1993. Since after their release on bail, they are living in the society peacefully without there being any criminal antecedents to their discredit. There is no bar under law to extend the benefit of probation to convict of above 21 years age. After taking into due consideration the legislative intent of the Act and the decision as referred in above paragraphs, this Court deems it appropriate to extend the benefit of probation to the appellants under Section 4 of the Act of 1958. the present appeal is partly allowed. While maintaining the conviction of the present appellant No.1- Nawal Kishore for the offence under Section 307 of IPC and of accused appellant No.2-Rajesh for the offence under section 34 read with section 307 IPC and of both the accused appellants under section 323 read with section 34 IPC, as recorded by the learned Trial Court in the impugned judgment, this Court interferes only with the sentence part of the said judgment and directs that the appellants shall be released on probation under Section 4 of the Act of 1958 upon their furnishing a personal bond in a sum of Rs. 50,000/- each and two sureties in the sum of Rs. 25,000/- each to the satisfaction of the learned Trial Court with a further undertaking that they shall maintain peace and good behaviour for a period of two years and shall not repeat the offence. The appellants are allowed two months’ time to furnish the bail bonds, sureties and undertaking as ordered above. The appellants are on bail. They need not to surrender. Their bail bonds stand cancelled accordingly. The Registry is directed to send back record of the case to the trial court forthwith.

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Judgement Reviewed by – HARIRAGHAVA JP

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“Supreme Court Revokes Bail: Incarceration Duration Not Sole Basis When Accused Involved in Further Offenses”

Case title: Jadunath Singh v. Arvind Kumar & Anr.

Case no.: Criminal Appeal Nos. of 2024 (Arising out of SLP(CRL.) Nos. 7961-7963 of 2023)

Dated on: 19th April 2024

Quorum: Justice Vikram Nath and Justice Sanjay Kumar

FACTS OF THE CASE

  • The case revolves around an incident on February 11, 2011, in Village Bhogaon, where the appellant, Jadunath Singh, filed a written report stating that the accused, Arvind Kumar, had illegally occupied a plot.
  • On the same day, armed with firearms, the accused, along with others, opened fire on Jadunath Singh and his companions, resulting in the death of two individuals and injury to another.
  • The accused were charged under various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) including Sections 147, 148, 302/149, and 120B.
  • In another case, on January 31, 2013, Rishi Kumar and Chandra Kumar, while in custody, requested Constable Ajay Kumar to accompany them for a nature break. However, they ambushed Ajay Kumar, fatally shooting him as they left the court premises. Subsequently, they dumped his body outside a residence. This led to the registration of FIR Case Crime No. 60 of 2013 under Section 302 IPC, with eight individuals, including Rishi Kumar and Chandra Kumar, implicated in a conspiracy to murder Ajay Kumar. Both accused fled but were apprehended by the Special Task Force (STF) in Maharashtra, where they also engaged in gunfire with the police, prompting the filing of a separate FIR Case Crime No. 54 of 2013.

CONTENTIONS OF THE APPELLANT

On behalf of the appellant, it was argued that the accused were dangerous criminals, having committed multiple murders including that of a police constable, and their release would endanger the appellant and his family.

CONTENTIONS OF THE RESPONDENTS

The respondents sought bail primarily based on their prolonged incarceration of more than 10 years and the fact that two co-accused had been granted bail earlier.

LEGAL PROVISIONS

Sections 147 of IPC, whoever is guilty of rioting, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine, or with both.

Sections 148 of IPC, whoever is guilty of rioting, being armed with a deadly weapon or with anything which, used as a weapon of offence, is likely to cause death, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three years, or with fine, or with both.

Sections 149 of IPC, every member of unlawful assembly guilty of offence committed in prosecution of common object.

Sections 120B of IPC, punishment of criminal conspiracy.

Sections 302 of IPC, whoever commits murder shall be punished with death or [imprisonment for life], and shall also be liable to fine.

ISSUE

  • Whether the respondents, despite their lengthy incarceration, should be granted bail considering their involvement in multiple serious offenses, including murder.
  • Whether the High Court adequately considered all relevant factors before granting bail.

COURT’S ANALYSIS AND JUDGEMENT

The Supreme Court noted that the High Court had granted bail primarily based on the duration of incarceration and the bail granted to two co-accused. However, crucial facts regarding the respondents’ involvement in the murder of a police constable and their subsequent resistance to arrest were not presented before the High Court.

The Court emphasized that the respondents’ conduct in a separate case warranted denial of bail despite their prolonged incarceration in the present case. While Arvind Kumar was not implicated in the murder case of the police constable, bail for the other two respondents was revoked.

The appeals against Chandra Kumar and Rishi Kumar were allowed, and the impugned order granting them bail was set aside. They were given two weeks to surrender, failing which coercive measures would be taken.

This judgment underscores the importance of considering all relevant facts and circumstances before granting bail, particularly in cases involving serious offenses and individuals with a history of criminal conduct.

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Judgement Reviewed by – Chiraag K A

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Landmark Criminal Appeal Decision: Supreme Court Reverses Verdict, Declares Four Guilty in Support of Chhattisgarh State.

Case Title – RAVISHANKAR TANDON Vs. STATE OF CHHATTISGARH (2024 INSC 299)

Case Number – Criminal Appeal No.- 003869-003869 / 2023

Dated on – 10th April 2023.

Quorum – Justice B. R. Gavai


FACTS OF THE CASE:

In the case of RAVISHANKAR TANDON Vs. STATE OF CHHATTISGARH (2024 INSC 299), an FIR was lodged after the deceased in the case went missing leading to a prompt investigation where the accused No. 1, 2 and 4 were charged with the offence under IPC Sections 302 (Punishment for murder),120B (Punishment for criminal conspiracy) and 201(Causing disappearance of evidence of offence or giving false information). Whereas, Accused No. 3 was charged with the offence under IPC Sections 302 and 120B. It was during the police interrogation that the appellant confessed about having a conspiracy to murder the deceased for a sum of Rupees 90,000 by throttling the deceased and disposing off his body in the pond of the village, Bhatgaon. As per the confession of the appellant, the police retrieved the dead body of the deceased from the same pond at village Bhatgaon. Through the postmortem examination it was confirmed that the Accused No. 1, 2 and 4 throttled the deceased to death and shrouded the body of the deceased in a jute sack. During the proceedings, several witnesses testified. The prosecution provided the court with 37 documents as evidence to justify the guilt of the appellant. The appellant pleaded not guilty and opted for the proceedings of the court. It was established by the trial court that the Accused No. 1,2 and 3 were guilty under IPC Sections 302,120B and 201 while Accused No. 4 was guilty of the offence under IPC Sections 302 and 120B. All the accused found guilty were sentenced to an imprisonment for life.

CONTENTIONS OF THE APPELLANT:

1. The appellant, through their counsel, in the said case contented that the prosecution failed to establish any incriminating circumstances beyond any reasonable doubt.

2. The appellant, through their counsel, in the said case contented that the prosecution failed to establish a chain of proven circumstances leading to the guilt of the accused.

3. The appellant, through their counsel, in the said case contented that the prosecution failed to prove that the information in the statement of the appellant which led to the discovery of the evidence was unknown to anyone before the appellant provided it during interrogation.

CONTENTIONS OF THE RESPONDENT:

1. The respondent in the said case contented that both the High Court and Trial Court without any dissent winded up the case stating that the prosecution has successfully proven the case beyond a reasonable doubt.

2. The respondent stated that both the trial court and the High Court’s findings are based on a thorough perception of the evidence presented to the court, leading to the conclusion that no interference is necessary.

LEGAL PROVISIONS:

1. Section 120B of IPC prescribes the Punishment of Criminal Conspiracy- Whoever is a party to a criminal conspiracy to commit an offence punishable with death, imprisonment for life or rigorous imprisonment for a term of two years or upwards, shall, where no express provision is made in this code for the punishment of such a conspiracy, be punished in the same manner as if he had abetted such offence.

2. Section 201 of IPC prescribes the Punishment for causing disappearance of evidence of offence, or giving false information to screen offender.

3. Section 302 of IPC prescribes the Punishment for Murder – Whoever commits murder shall be punished with death, or [imprisonment for life], and shall also be liable to fine.

4. Section 27 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872 prescribes How much of information received from accused may be proved – Provided that, when any fact is deposed to as discovered inconsequence of information received from a person accused of any offence, in the custody of a police officer, so much of such information, whether it amounts to a confession or not, as relates distinctly to the fact thereby discovered, may be proved.

ISSUES:

1. The main issue revolved around whether the prosecution possessed adequate evidence in order to prove the guilt of the accused beyond any reasonable doubt or was it just circumstantial evidence?

2. Another issue was whether the validity of the confession gained by the police during the interrogation?

COURT ANALYSIS AND JUDGMENT:

The Supreme Court in the given case scrupulously analysed that the conviction based on circumstantial evidences requires a chain of complete and proper chain of evidences without any presence of reasonable doubt and that the circumstances that lead to the guilt of the accused persons must be established conclusively keeping aside all alternative hypotheses of innocence. The court stated that the evidence does not conclusively proves that the discovery of the dead body was solely based on the statement given by the accused person. The court decided that the judgments given by the High Court and the Trial Court are to be quashed and set aside and that the appellants in the said case are to be exonerated of all charges imposed on them and released.


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Judgement Reviewed by – Sruti Sikha Maharana

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“Supreme Court Emphasizes Weakness of Extra Judicial Confession; Acquits Defendant Dharambir in Murder Case”

Case title: Dharambir @ Dharma v. State of Haryana

Case no.: Criminal Appeal No.1858 of 2009

Order on: 16th April 2024

Quorum: Justice B.R. Gavai and Justice Sandeep Mehta

FACTS OF THE CASE

On June 5, 1998, at around 8:30 a.m., the deceased, Karambir, along with his brother Krishan Kumar and others, went to Prabhat Cinema, Bhiwani. At approximately 11:30 a.m., the accused, Dharambir, who was also present there, stabbed Karambir in the chest, resulting in his death. The motive alleged was Dharambir’s suspicion that Karambir was involved in illicit relations with his wife.

Rohtas Singh, the Inspector/SHO of Police Station City Bhiwani, received information about the incident and initiated the investigation. The accused was arrested, and a chargesheet was filed against him under Section 302 IPC.

During the trial, the prosecution primarily relied on the testimonies of Krishan Kumar, the first informant, and Ram Kumar, who claimed an extra-judicial confession by the accused.

CONTENTIONS OF THE APPELLANT

Dharambir’s counsel argued that Krishan Kumar’s testimony was unreliable due to inconsistencies and contradictions. They pointed out discrepancies in Krishan Kumar’s account of the events, including the timing of the incident and the seating arrangements at the cinema hall.

Additionally, they highlighted that no blood stains were found on Krishan Kumar, raising doubts about his presence at the crime scene. Regarding the extrajudicial confession, they argued that it lacked credibility as it was contradicted by another witness, Piare Lal.

He placed reliance on the judgment rendered by this Court in the case of Pritinder Singh Alias Lovely v. State of Punjab and contended that an extra judicial confession is a very weak piece of evidence and since the testimony of the witness, Ram Kumar, before whom the accused allegedly made the extra judicial confession, has been contradicted by evidence of Piare Lal, there cannot be any justification to rely upon his evidence as well.

CONTENTIONS OF THE RESPONDENTS

The State argued that Krishan Kumar’s testimony was trustworthy as he had no reason to falsely implicate Dharambir. They asserted that Ram Kumar’s testimony corroborated Krishan Kumar’s account, strengthening the prosecution’s case. The State contended that the concurrent findings of the trial court and the High Court supported the conviction and should not be overturned.

LEGAL PROVISIONS

IPC Section 302 prescribes the punishment for murder: “Whoever commits murder shall be punished with death or imprisonment for life, and shall also be liable to fine.”

ISSUE

The core issue was the reliability of the prosecution’s key witnesses. The court analyzed the testimonies of Krishan Kumar and Ram Kumar, finding inconsistencies and improbabilities that cast doubt on their credibility. It noted contradictions in their accounts and lack of corroboration.

COURT’S ANALYSIS AND JUDGEMENT

The appellant, Dharambir @ Dharma, was acquitted of the charge of murder under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) by the Supreme Court of India.

Given the weakness of the prosecution’s evidence, especially the unreliable testimonies of the key witnesses, the court concluded that the guilt of the accused was not established beyond reasonable doubt. Consequently, the appellant was acquitted, and the appeal was allowed.

The court acquitted the appellant, Dharambir @ Dharma, of the murder charge, as the prosecution failed to prove his guilt beyond reasonable doubt. The judgments of the trial court and the high court were quashed, and the appellant was acquitted. The appeal was allowed, and the appellant was discharged from bail.

This judgment underscores the importance of reliable evidence and the need for the prosecution to establish guilt beyond reasonable doubt in criminal cases.

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Judgement Reviewed by – Chiraag K A

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