Chain of circumstantial evidence should be so complete that no other probability other than accused being the perpetrator arises

Bombay High Court: In an appeal filed against the decision of the Trial Court convicting the appellant for murder under S. 302 of the Penal Code of 1860, a Division Bench comprising of T.V. Nalawade and Sunil K. Kotwal, JJ, set aside the conviction and acquitted the accused of the offence of murder. The Court stated that merely because the first informant, brother-in-law of the deceased gave the FIR and because he deposed that he saw the accused or appellant running away from the location where the deceased’s body was recovered, a case was registered against the appellant and based only on suspicion, he was convicted.

Referring to the essential elements required to establish guilt through circumstantial evidence established by the Supreme Court in State of U.P. v. Dr. Ravindra Prakash Mittal, (1992) 3 SCC 300, the Court reaffirmed that: circumstances from which conclusion is drawn should be fully proved; circumstances should be conclusive; all established facts should be consistent with the hypothesis of guilt and inconsistent with the innocence of the accused; and circumstances should exclude possibility of guilt of any person other than the accused.

In addition to these, the Court added that “chain of evidence must be so complete”…that the “circumstances must show that in all human probability, the act must have been done by the accused.” In the present case, other probabilities have been created due to the first informant’s cross-examination which, according to the Court, raise questions against his account. Therefore, the conviction was set aside. [Bhagwat s/o. Narayan Mundhe v. State of Maharashtra, 2017 SCC OnLine Bom 6604, decided on 20.07.2017]

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