Thakore Umedsing Nathusing vs State Of Gujarat 2024 INSC 198 – Criminal Trial- Circumstantial Evidence- Appeal Against Acquittal- S 25 Evidence Act

Criminal Trial – Circumstantial Evidence – The principles required to bring home the charges in a case based purely on circumstantial evidence have been crystalized in the case of Sharad Birdhichand Sarda v. State of Maharashtra, (1984) 4 SCC 116 – “(1) the circumstances from which the conclusion of guilt is to be drawn must or should be and not merely “may be”, fully established. (2) the facts so established should be consistent only with the hypothesis of the guilt of the accused, that is to say, they should not be explainable on any other hypothesis except that the accused is guilty, (3) the circumstances should be of a conclusive nature and tendency, (4) they should exclude every possible hypothesis except the one to be proved, and (5) there must be a chain of evidence so complete as not to leave any reasonable ground for the conclusion consistent with the innocence of the accused and must show that in all human probability the act must have been done by the accused. (Para 23)

Code Of Criminal Procedure, 1973; Section 378,386- The scope of interference by the High Court in exercise of appellate jurisdiction while dealing with an appeal against acquittal under Section 378(1)(b) CrPC were reiterated in the case of H.D. Sundara and 10 Others v. State of Karnataka, (2023) 9 SCC 581- (a) The acquittal of the accused further strengthens the presumption of innocence; (b) The appellate Court, while hearing an appeal against acquittal, is entitled to re­appreciate the oral and documentary evidence; (c) The appellate Court, while deciding an appeal against acquittal, after re­appreciating the evidence, is required to consider whether the view taken by the Trial Court is a possible view which could have been taken on the basis of the evidence on record; (d) If the view taken is a possible view, the appellate Court cannot overturn the order of acquittal on the ground that another view was also possible; and (e) The appellate Court can interfere with the order of acquittal only if it comes to a finding that the only conclusion which can be recorded on the basis of the evidence on record was that the guilt of the accused was proved beyond a reasonable doubt and no other conclusion was possible. (Para 24)

Indian Evidence Act, 1872; Section 25 –Confession of an accused in custody recorded by a police officer is inadmissible in evidence as the same would be hit by Section 25 of the Evidence Act. Thus, that part of the statement of A1 as recorded in the report/communication (Exhibit­96), wherein he allegedly confessed to the crime of murder of the jeep driver and looting the jeep and named the other accused persons as particeps criminis is totally inadmissible and cannot be read in evidence except to the extent provided under Section 27 of the Evidence Act.- disclosure statement of accused cannot be read in evidence against the other accused – Referred to Haricharan Kurmi v. State of Bihar reported in AIR 1964 SC 1184- The interrogation note of accused being hit by Section 25 of the Evidence Act cannot be read in evidence for any purpose whatsoever. (Para 29,36)

Criminal Trial -Referred to Mustkeem alias Sirajudeen v. State of Rajasthan (2011) 11 SCC 724 – the solitary circumstance of recovery of blood­stained weapons cannot constitute such evidence which can be considered sufficient to convict an accused for the charge of murder- Even if it is assumed for a moment that such recoveries were effected, the same did not lead to any conclusive circumstance in form of Serological report establishing the presence of the same blood group as that of the deceased and hence they do not further the cause of prosecution. In addition thereto, we find that the prosecution failed to lead the link evidence mandatorily required to establish the factum of safe keeping of the muddamal articles and hence, the recoveries became irrelevant (Para 35)

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