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State of Himachal Pradesh Vs. Man Singh - (High Court of Himachal Pradesh) (31 May 2018)

A finding may be said to be perverse, if it is against weight of evidence, or if finding so outrageously defies logic as to suffer from vice of irrationality



In present case, aggrieved by the order of acquittal passed by the learned Additional Sessions Judge, in favour of the Respondent, who had been charged for the commission of the offence punishable under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), the State has filed the instant appeal. The prosecution examined as many as 20 witnesses and thereafter the accused was examined under Section 313 of Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (CrPC), the defence of the accused was that of denial simpliciter and he claimed that, he had been falsely implicated, however, no defence evidence was led.

Instant is an appeal against the order of acquittal and as regards the scope of interference in appeal arising out of an order of acquittal, it is well established principle of law, consistently re-iterated and followed by all the Courts, is that while dealing with a judgment of acquittal, an Appellate Court must consider the entire evidence on record, so as to arrive at a finding as to whether the views of the trial Court are perverse or otherwise unsustainable. Even though the Appellate Court is entitled to consider, whether in arriving at a finding of fact, the trial Court has placed the burden of proof incorrectly or failed to take into consideration any admissible evidence and/or had taken into consideration the evidence brought on record contrary to law; the Appellate Court should not ordinarily set-aside a judgment of acquittal in a case where two views are possible, though the view of the Appellate Court may be the more probable one. The trial Court which has the benefit of watching the demeanour of the witnesses is the best judge of the credibility of the witnesses.

Every accused is presumed to be innocent unless his guilt is proved. The presumption of innocence is a human right and subject to the statutory exceptions, the said principle forms the basis of criminal jurisprudence of this Country. The Appellate Court has to bear in mind the presumption of innocence of the accused and further that the trial Court's acquittal bolsters the presumption of his innocence. Therefore, interference with the decision of the trial Court cannot be interfered with in a casual or cavalier manner where the other view is possible, the same should be avoided, unless there are good reasons for such interference. It is only in exceptional cases where there are compelling circumstances and the judgment under appeal is found to be perverse, that the Appellate Court can interfere with the order of acquittal.

A finding may be said to be perverse if it is against the weight of evidence, or if the finding so outrageously defies logic as to suffer from the vice of irrationality. The Hon'ble Supreme Court in State of Gujarat v. Kishanbhai and others, has categorically held that on the culmination of a criminal case in acquittal, the investigating/prosecuting official(s) concerned responsible for such acquittal must necessarily be identified. A finding needs to be recorded in each case, whether the lapse was innocent or blameworthy. Each erring officer must suffer the consequences of his lapse.

The investigation has been carried out in a slipshod manner and vital evidence has not been collected. Moreover the acquittal in present case is a consequence of shoddy investigation and slovenly assimilation of evidence and, therefore, the entire gamut of the case requires to be thoroughly probed and enquired into by the Home Department of the State. The State is directed to take appropriate departmental action against ASI Naseeb Singh and take it to its logical end as expeditiously as possible and preferably before 31st December, 2018. There is no merit in this appeal and the same is accordingly dismissed.

Relevant : State of Gujarat vs. Kishanbhai etc. MANU/SC/0004/2014


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