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State of Karnataka Vs. Umesha - (High Court of Karnataka) (24 May 2018)

Order of acquittal passed by first Appellate Court cannot be reversed, merely because re-appreciation of evidence leads to another possible view, unless view taken for acquittal is manifestly illegal



Aggrieved by the Judgment passed by the learned Fast Track Court Judge, the State has preferred present appeal. By the impugned Judgment and Order, the Fast Track Court set aside the order of conviction and sentence passed by the learned Civil Judge. Police charge-sheeted the accused in Crime for the offences punishable under Sections 324, 326, 504 and 506 of Indian Penal Code, 1860 (IPC). Question involved in present case is whether the prosecution has proved beyond reasonable doubt the charges brought against the accused, warranting interference of this Court in the order of acquittal passed by the First Appellate Court.

It is the settled position of law that, the scope of interference under Section 378 of Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973(CrPC) at the appellate stage in an order of acquittal is limited. Unless it is shown that the order of acquittal suffers manifest illegality, it cannot be interfered. The impugned order of acquittal passed by the first appellate Court cannot be reversed, merely because re-appreciation of evidence leads to another possible view, unless the view taken for acquittal is shown to be manifestly illegal. Whenever two views are possible, the view which is favourable to the accused is to be accepted.

The Investigating Officer does not cite the wife of the accused as charge sheet witness. The incident is stated to have been taken place at 8.00 p.m. in a tiny village. Therefore, the Investigating Officer could have examined any other independent witness to ascertain the occurrence of the incident. P.W. 4 who is cited as res gestae witness does not support the prosecution version that, he saw the accused and the injured victims together and in that regard he has given statement.

It has also come in the evidence that, there was previous ill-will between the Accused and P.Ws. 1 and 2. In view of this evidence, delay in filing the complaint assumes significance. In the absence of non-examination of residents of the houses surrounding the scene of occurrence and wife of the accused to prove the presence of Accused and P.W. 1 to P.W. 3 at the scene of occurrence at the time of the alleged incident, said fact becomes doubtful. Regarding admission of P.W. 3 in her cross-examination that, she is a tutored eyewitness and the admitted fact of she being their farm servant, her presence at the scene of occurrence becomes doubtful.

The trial Court without taking into consideration the material inconsistencies in the evidence of the witnesses, more importantly P.Ws. 1 to 3, 7 and 8, proceeded to hold that, P.Ws. 1 and 2 being the injured-witnesses and P.W. 3 being the eye-witness, their evidence shall be believed and their evidence is further corroborated by the evidence of P.W. 7. The evidence of P.Ws. 1 to 3, 7 and 8 is not appreciated by the trial Court in proper perspective.

The Trial Court has failed to note that, genesis of the complaint/first information itself is suppressed and the charge is not proved beyond reasonable doubt. The first appellate Court taking into consideration all these aspects, on re-appreciation of the evidence rightly reversed the order of conviction and sentence passed by the Trial Court. The impugned Judgment and Order do not call for interference by this Court.


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