Report No. 113
The observations made by the Supreme Court must be read with the facts of the case. The entire incident happened in a short span of a few hours. Nineteen injuries in all were found on the body of the victim Brij Lal. There was a positive history of an illegal and improper demand from the victim. The dying declaration also gave indication of the guilt of the police officers. In these circumstances, the fact that the High Court acquitted the accused must have deeply pained the Supreme Court which, if one may say so with respect, was not slow in taking note of the peculiar situation in which the prosecution finds itself when it desires to get a judgment of conviction against a police officer guilty of atrocities on a person in a custody.
In the very nature of things, one can rarely expect eye witnesses to such incidents, excepting police officers. As regards police officers themselves, their reluctance to give evidence disclosing all the facts was noted by the Supreme Court. The situation is of an unusual character-which is the reason why the Supreme Court thought it proper that the Government should have a second look at that part of the law of evidence which deals with the burden of proof. We proceed to examine the present law and the need for amendment.