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Chunthuram Vs. State of Chhattisgarh - (Supreme Court) (29 Oct 2020)

When the test identification parades are held in police presence, statements made by the identifiers to a police officer fall within the ban of Section 162 of CrPC

MANU/SC/0798/2020

Criminal

The present Appeal challenges the judgment of the High Court, whereby the Criminal Appeal was disposed of upholding the conviction of the Appellant in terms of the conclusion reached by the trial Court. The trial Court convicted the Appellant and co-Accused under Sections 302/201/34 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 (IPC). The co-Accused was however, acquitted by the High Court.

Following the investigation, charges were framed and the case was committed for trial. The prosecution examined seven witnesses to prove the charges. The Accused in their statements pleaded innocence and alleged false implication. On evaluation of the evidence, the trial Court reached a guilty verdict and sentenced both Accused accordingly.

The alleged weapons of assault recovered on the basis of statement of the Accused could be a key evidence to support the prosecution, but unfortunately, the recovered articles were never linked to the crime. The police sent them to the CHC for examination and the CHC Doctor (PW-7) had stated that, the injuries found on the body could have been caused by those weapons. The prosecution did not produce any chemical analyst report in the case. The relevant forensic evidence for the seized shirt (supposedly worn by the co-Accused acquitted by High Court) was withheld by the prosecution. When such vital forensic evidence is kept away, an adverse inference will have to be drawn against the prosecution.

To establish the presence of accused at the place of incident, the Courts relied on the Test Identification Parade and the testimony of PW-3. The Test Identification evidence is not substantive piece of evidence but can only be used, in corroboration of statements in Court. The ratio in Musheer Khan v. State of Madhya Pradesh will have a bearing on this issue where it is held that, identification test is not substantive evidence. Such tests are meant for the purpose of helping the investigating agency with an assurance that their progress with the investigation into the offence is proceeding on right lines.

When the identifications are held in police presence, the resultant communications tantamount to statements made by the identifiers to a police officer in course of investigation and they fall within the ban of Section 162 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (CrPC).

On the motive aspect, the land dispute was finally decided and it was stated by PW-1 (father of the deceased) that Sildhar was murdered, when the said land dispute was still pending. If this be the situation, without any further material to show any proximate and immediate motive for the crime, it would be difficult to accept the cited motive, to support the conviction.

If two views are possible on the evidence adduced in a case, one pointing to the guilt of the Accused and the other to their innocence, the view favourable to the Accused should be adopted. The Appellant has made out a case for interference. The judgment of the trial Court and High Court are consequently set aside. Appeal allowed.

Relevant : Musheer Khan v. State of Madhya Pradesh MANU/SC/0065/2010

Tags : CONVICTION   EVIDENCE   CREDIBILITY  

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