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  • Writer's pictureTrivedi and Parashar (Advocates and Solicitors)

Judicial Updates -

ACCUSED GETS ACQUITED IN 36 YEARS OLD MURDER CASE.


In the case of Central Bureau of Investigation v. Shyam Bihari & Others [Criminal Appeal No. 413 of 2013], victim was travelling to a wedding with the witness on a scooter, where the Respondent, along with two others, shone a torch light and tried to stop the victim, which resulted in loss on control of the scooter of the victim and later the victim was killed by gunfire. Two different accounts of the incident emerged. One version claimed that the police were responsible for the murder, while the other stated that the police were engaged in an operation against criminals. Subsequently, the case was handed over to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). Under the investigation conducted by the CBI, the Respondent, along with two others, was charged under Section 302 read with Section 34 of the Indian Penal Code ("IPC").



The Trial Court considered the available information, including recovered empty cartridges that matched some of the accused's military guns but left some cartridges unaccounted for. According to the autopsy report, the deceased was not shot by the accused's rifle but rather a gunshot from a 12 bore firearm. Due to insufficient proof, the Court deemed the prosecution's case to be weak and granted the accused's acquittal. Aggrieved by the judgement of the Trial Court, the Appellant filed an appeal before the Uttarakhand High Court.


The Uttarakhand High Court mentioned that the testimony given by the witnesses was unclear and that the cause of death of the deceased might have been due to a weapon, as per the medical findings. The High Court denied the request for permission to challenge the trial court's decision.


The Supreme Court concluded that most of the prosecution's case relied on witness testimony which was vague and failed to establish a link between the accused individuals and the crimes. Additionally, there were discrepancies in the collected cartridges which suggested another person with a firearm might have been present at the crime scene.


The Supreme Court observed that “Here the circumstances found proved do not constitute a chain so far complete as to indicate that in all human probability it were the accused persons and no one else who committed the crime. In such a situation, there was no option for the trial court but to extend the benefit of doubt to the accused.


Furthermore, “For all the reasons as stated above, we do not find it to be a fit case to interfere with the order passed by the High Court and remit the matter only for the High Court to rewrite the judgment as the same, in our view, would be an exercise in futility.”


The Supreme Court held that "there wasn't enough evidence to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the accused individuals were guilty." Consequently, the High Court's decision to dismiss their appeal was upheld.

 
 

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