Principles regarding circumstantial evidence- There is no doubt that conviction can be based solely on circumstantial evidence but it should be tested by the touch-stone of law relating to circumstantial evidence.
Hon’be Aditya Nath Mittal, J.
Criminal Appeal No. 216 of 1996
Uma Shanker and another …………………Appellants
The State …………….Opposite party
During the pendency of this appeal, appellant No.1, Uma Shanker has passed away. Therefore, the appeal filed by appellant No.1, Uma Shanker has been abated against him and the appeal survives against only appellant no.2, Shyam Lal alias Bani.
Heard learned counsel for appellant no. 2, learned AGA and perused the record.
This criminal appeal has been preferred against the judgment and order dated 04.06.1996 passed by 4th Additional Sessions Judge, Unnao in Sessions Trial No. 157 of 1992 relating to case crime no. 314 of 1991 under sections 304 and 201 Indian Penal Code (For short IPC), police station-Ajgain, District-Unnao, whereby the appellants Uma Shanker and Shyam Lal @ Bani have been convicted and sentenced for the offences punishable under section 304 IPC with rigorous imprisonment of ten years and under section 201 IPC with rigorous imprisonment of three years.
The facts giving rise to the present appeal are that on 11.10.1991 at about 12.30 Chaukidar Mevalal alias Mevaram of village Ajgain had informed the police that corpse of an unknown person is lying in the well. On the basis of this information, head moharrir of the police station made an entry of this information in Rojnamcha at rapat no. 24. Sub Inspector A.K. Dixit alongwith Constables Jitendra Singh and Sunder Lal Yadav reached there and they fished out the corpse from the well, which could not be identified at that time. After completing the formal papers, the police brought the corpse for post-mortem on the same day at 2.30 p.m. On 12.10.1991 at 3.00 p.m., the doctor conducted the post mortem of the deceased. In the mortuary, the dead-body was identified as Krishna Kumar alias Bhallu by his father and brother. The police handed over the dead body of the deceased to the father and brother of the deceased for cremation. After identification of the deceased, the police made entry at rapat no. 36 of police station and registered at case crime no. 314 of 1991 under sections 302 and 201 IPC against unknown persons at police station-Ajgain, District-Unnao. After investigation, the charge-sheet was filed against the appellants.
The prosecution had examined Chaukidar Mevalal (complainant) as P.W. 1, S.I. A.K.Dixit as P.W. 2, Nanha as P.W.3, Raj Kishore as P.W.4, Gurudeen as P.W. 5, Kishore Kumar as P.W. 6, Head constable Sunderlal as P.W. 7, Dr. Rajesh Kumar as P.W. 8, Vinod Kumar as P.W. 9, Subhash as P.W. 10, Raju as P.W. 11, Rajaram as P.W. 12, Motilal as P.W. 13 and Lalloo Ram Divakar as P.W. 14.
After recording the evidence of the prosecution, the statements of the accused appellant were recorded under section 313 Cr.P.C., in which they had denied the evidence adduced against them. Any evidence in defence has not been adduced.
After appreciating the evidence on record, learned court below has convicted the appellants for the offences punishable under sections 304 and 201 IPC IPC. and accordingly sentenced him.
Learned counsel for appellant no. 2 has submitted that it is a case of circumstantial evidence. Therefore, the proximity and live link with these evidence should have been proved. It has also been submitted that the appellants had been charge-sheeted on the basis of their own confessions, which is not admissible in the evidence. No motive of the incident has been proved and there are various contradictions regarding place of recovery and place of incident. Chemical examination report has also not been filed by the prosecution and the case was not proved against the appellants beyond reasonable doubt, therefore, they were not liable for conviction .
Leaned AGA has defended the impugned judgment and order passed by the learned trial court and has submitted that sufficient evidence was found against the appellants and they have been rightly convicted.
Certainly, it is a case of circumstantial evidence and there is no direct evidence of the said incident. The main evidence against the appellants is regarding recovery of certain articles, by which the offence is said to have been committed by them.
Raj Vs. State by Inspector of police, AIR 2009 SC 2171
the Hon’ble Supreme Court relying upon various judgments of Hon’ble Apex Court has laid down principles regarding circumstantial evidence and has held that:
“It has been consistently laid down by this Court that where a case rests squarely on circumstantial evidence, the inference of guilt can be justified only when all the incriminating facts and circumstances are found to be incompatible with the innocence of the accused or the guilt of any other person. (See
Hukam Singh v. State of Rajasthan (AIR 1977 SC 1066
Eradu and Ors. v. State of Hyderabad (AIR 1956 SC 316)
Earabhadrappa v. State of Karnataka (AIR 1983 SC 446)
State of U.P. v. Sukhbasi and Ors. (AIR 1985 SC 1244)
Balwinder Singh v. State of Punjab (AIR 1987 SC 350
Ashok Kumar Chatterjee v. State of M.P. (AIR 1989 SC 1890)
The circumstances from which an inference as to the guilt of the accused is drawn have to be proved beyond reasonable doubt and have to be shown to be closely connected with the principal fact sought to be inferred from those circumstances. In
Bhagat Ram v. State of Punjab (AIR 1954 SC 621)
it was laid down that where the case depends upon the conclusion drawn from circumstances the cumulative effect of the circumstances must be such as to negative the innocence of the accused and bring the offences home beyond any reasonable doubt.”
We may also make a reference to a decision of this Court in
C. Chenga Reddy and Ors. v. State of A.P. (1996) 10 SCC 193
wherein it has been observed thus: