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Amar Nath Jha Vs. Nand Kishore Singh and Ors. - (Supreme Court) (03 Aug 2018)

Non-conduction of Test Identification Parade may not itself be fatal to prosecution case but it must be weighed in by Court while considering facts and circumstances of each case



The judgment and order passed by the High Court in Death Reference along with Criminal Appeals, whereby the High Court answered the death reference in the negative and set aside the judgment of the Sessions Court convicting the Accused-Nand Kishore Singh and Maheshwar Singh for the offences under Section 396 of Indian Penal Code, 1860 (IPC) is called in question in instant appeals. By the very judgment, the High Court also set aside the conviction of Maheshwar Singh under Section 412 of IPC and Criminal Appeal filed by Mintu Kumar was remanded for consideration by Juvenile Justice Board constituted to deal with juveniles under the provisions of Juvenile Justice (Care & Protection of Children) Act, 2000. Issue raised in present appeal is whether the prosecution was able to prove the case beyond reasonable doubts.

Though, it is a case of the prosecution that the dacoits were armed with a gun, the country made pistol, lathis and bamboos etc., but none of the weapons were recovered from the Accused persons except a piece of dhoti, blouse and nose stud, other articles alleged to have been stolen by the dacoits were not recovered. The Accused-Nand Kishore Singh and Maheshwar Singh were not subjected to T.I.P. The only person who was subjected to T.I.P. was a minor (Mintu Singh). In cases like present one T.I.P. acquires significance and lack of conduction of the same cannot be ignored. It is well settled that non-conduction of T.I.P. may not itself be fatal to the prosecution case but certainly it must be weighed in by the Court while considering the facts and circumstances of each case.

Although, FIR need not be an encyclopedia of the crime, but absence of certain essential facts, which were conspicuously missing in the present FIR, point towards suspicion that the crime itself may be staged. Further, the names of the Respondents were very well known to the family of the first informant as well as the family of the deceased. It has also come on record that there was animosity between these two Accused and the family of the deceased in respect to certain matters. There is every likelihood that the Accused might have been falsely implicated.

It is well settled that, the appellate Courts cannot upset an order of acquittal in a casual manner when there are two possibilities of view which can be taken from the evidences on record. On an entire perusal of the testimonies of the witnesses and other evidences on record, the High Court has reasonably taken its view as the prosecution was not able to explain and prove certain missing links in the alleged offence of dacoity.

The judgment and order of acquittal does not deserve interference as the view taken by the High Court while acquitting the Accused can be said to be a possible view under the facts of the case. The High Court has taken the only view which is possible in the facts and circumstances of the case.

There is no justification to reverse the finding given by the High Court relating to juvenility of Mintu Kumar. On facts, on re-appreciation of the material on record, the High Court concluded that Mintu Kumar @ Mintu Singh was less than 18 years of age. Appeals dismissed.


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