The Hon’ble Supreme Court specified that misleading explanation or non-explanation by the accused to the questions posed by the Hon’ble court under Section 313 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (hereinafter referred as “CrPC”), cannot be used as a link to complete the chain when the prosecution has proved the chain of circumstances leading to no other conclusion than the guilt of the accused.
In the present case, the accused was convicted by the Hon’ble Trial Court for the murder of his wife. Soon After, the Hon’ble Bombay HC upheld the verdict of the Hon’ble Trial Court and a life sentence awarded to the accused. Following in an appeal before the Hon’ble Apex Court, the accused contended that the case stands entirely on the circumstantial evidence and that the prosecution has not been in a position to establish, that the death of the deceased was murder.
Considering the evidence on record, the bench noticed that, there were no marks on the body of the deceased which would suggest violence or struggle, and that the medical expert did not rule out the possibility of suicidal death and the Post-Mortem Report shows, that the cause of death was “due to hanging”. The bench, therefore, observed that the prosecution has not proved that the death of the deceased was murder.
The Hon’ble Court while pronouncing the judgment also stated that Section 106 of the Evidence Act, 1872 does not wholly operate against either a husband or wife.
The court also discovered that the prosecution has entirely failed to prove motive beyond doubt. “In the present case, we are of the considered view that let alone establishing a chain of events which are so interlinked to each other leading to no other conclusion than the guilt of the accused, the prosecution has failed even to prove a single incriminating circumstance beyond a reasonable doubt.”, the bench said while acquitting the accused.
Case: Shivaji Chintappa Patil vs. State Of Maharashtra
Citation: Cr. A. 1348 of 2013, Criminal Appeal No. 1348 of 2013
Coram: Justices RF Nariman and BR Gavai
Counsel: Adv M. Qamaruddin (Amicus), Adv Sachin Patil