State of Rajasthan Vs.
Narayan  INSC 1772 (17 October 2008)
IN THE SUPREME COURT
OF INDIA CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. OF 2008 (Arising
out of SLP (Crl.) No. 6421 of 2006) State of Rajasthan ....Appellant Versus Narayan
Dr. ARIJIT PASAYAT,
in this appeal is to the judgment of a Division Bench of the Rajasthan High
Court, Jaipur Bench, directing acquittal of the respondent.
Sessions Judge, Sikar, in Sessions case No. 97 of 1999 had found the respondent
guilty of offence punishable under Sections 302, 316 and 309 of the Indian
Penal Code, 1860 (in short the `IPC') and had sentenced him to undergo
imprisonment for life, seven years and three years imprisonment respectively,
fines were also imposed with default stipulation.
In appeal, acquittal
version in a nutshell is as follows:
Kishore son of Mal Chand Raiger got registered a First Information Report
(Exhibit P-1) in the Police Station Losal on 22.3.1999 to the effect that his
brother Narain used to reside in the house of Ramdeva Ram near their old house.
In the morning hours his son Sushil came to call him and told that his mother
and father are inside the house and the door is closed from the inside but none
of them got up even after calling them. Then he saw that both of them were
sleeping on a bed. They raised noise and the people gathered there.
Ex-Chairman, Bhoora Ram also came there. When all of them entered the room,
they found that his sister-in-law and his brother were lying trenched with
blood. The throat of his sister-in- law had been cut. She had died but his
brother was breathing though histhroat was also cut. On this information, Case
No.42/99 was registered under Section 302/307 of IPC. When he was asked about
the delay in coming, he explained that it took time in calling the persons of
the locality and the relatives etc. He also told that his sister-in-law
Bhanwari Devi was having pregnancy of 5-6 months and his brother Narain had
come from abroad only three months back, and that is why his brother used to
enquire from his sister-in-law about the person from whom she was having a
child in her womb and frequent quarrels used to take place on this issue.
undertaken on the basis of the report lodged and on completion thereof charge
sheet was filed. The accused faced trial since he pleaded innocence. Trial
court noticed that there was no eye witnesses' version available and the case
rested on circumstantial evidence. But the circumstances were found sufficient
to establish the accusations.
conviction was recorded and sentences imposed as noted earlier. In appeal
before the High Court primary stand was that the witnesses did not support the
prosecution version. PW 11 who was posted as the officer in charge clearly
accepted that the accused was admitted to the hospital on 5.4.1999 and the
medical examination of the accused was conducted prior to taking over the
investigation by PW 11. He was lying in a pool of blood and his neck was slit
and he was gasping for breath. The High Court accepted the possibility that
there was suicide pact between husband and wife or that the wife attacked the
husband and then committed suicide after inflicting blows on the neck of the
husband who survived. In any event it was held that the prosecution version was
counsel for the appellant-State had submitted that the High Court had acted on
surmises to infer a suicide pact, there was no evidence in that regard and on
the contrary the High Court ought to have accepted that the husband-accused had
committed murder of his wife.
is no embargo on the appellate Court reviewing the evidence upon which an order
of acquittal is based. Generally, the order of acquittal shall not be
interfered with because the presumption of innocence of the accused is further
strengthened by acquittal. The golden thread which runs through the web of
administration of justice in criminal cases is that if two views are possible
on the evidence adduced in the case, one pointing to the guilt of the accused
and the other to his innocence, the view which is favourable to the accused
should be adopted. The paramount consideration of the Court is to ensure that
miscarriage of justice is prevented. A miscarriage of justice which may arise
from acquittal of the guilty is no less than from the conviction of an
innocent. In a case where admissible evidence is ignored, a duty is cast upon
the appellate Court to re-appreciate the evidence where the accused has been
acquitted, for the purpose of ascertaining as to whether any of the accused
really committed any offence or not. [See Bhagwan Singh and Ors. v. State of
Madhya Pradesh (2002 (2) Supreme 567)]. The principle to be followed by
appellate Court considering the appeal against the judgment of acquittal is to
interfere only when there are compelling and substantial reasons for doing so.
If the impugned judgment is clearly unreasonable and relevant and convincing materials
have been unjustifiably eliminated in the process, it is a compelling reason
for interference. These aspects were highlighted by this Court in Shivaji
Sahabrao Bobade and Anr. v. State of Maharashtra (AIR 1973 SC 2622), Ramesh
Babulal Doshi v. State of Gujarat (1996 (4) Supreme 167), Jaswant Singh v.
State of Haryana (2000 (3) Supreme 320), Raj Kishore Jha v. State of Bihar and
Ors. (2003 (7) Supreme 152), State of Punjab v. Karnail Singh (2003 (5) Supreme
508), State of Punjab v. Pohla Singh and Anr. (2003 (7) Supreme 17) and V.N.
Ratheesh v. State of Kerala (2006 (10) SCC 617).
High Court had noted that there was no quarrel between the accused and his
wife. Though Kishore, brother of accused was the informant as noted above, but
he resiled from the statement during investigation; similar was the position
regarding PW2 i.e. father of the informant and PW 3 the neighbour of the
appellant. The only evidence which was relied upon by the trial court was the
presence of the injured accused near the dead body. It is to be noted that the
weapon was found under the clothes of the deceased as was stated by PW10, the
Investigating Officer. Therefore, the defence version that the deceased
probably took her life after causing serious injuries on the neck of the
accused cannot be described as an improbable stand. The reasons which have
weighed with the High Court to direct acquittal cannot be characterized as
perverse. That being so, there is no merit in this appeal which is accordingly
(Dr. ARIJIT PASAYAT)