The Supreme Court has said that presumption, however heavy, does not take the place of evidence, stressing that an accused is presumed innocent unless proven guilty beyond reasonable doubt. A chain of evidence must be so complete that the perpetrator must have done the act in all human probability, a bench of Judges Indira Banerjee and Hemant Gupta observed while upholding an order of the High Court of Orissa that acquitted 2 men accused of murdering a home guard by electrocuting him.
It is well founded by this court’s plethora of judicial pronouncements that doubt, however intense, does not take the place of evidence. Unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, an accused is believed to be innocent, the bench said. According to a FIR lodged by Gitanjali Tadu with the police, her husband, Bijay Kumar Tadu, was a deputy serving at the Chandabali police station.
The woman alleged that her husband was murdered by the accused Banabihari Mohapatra, his son Luja and other accomplices with an electric shock after he was given some poisonous substances. The supreme court claimed that the postmortem report suggests that electric shock was the cause of death and there is no definitive proof.
“The mere fact that the deceased was lying dead at a room held by the accused respondent No 1 and that the accused respondents had informed the complainant that the deceased had been lying motionless and still and not responding to shouts and calls, does not establish that the accused respondents murdered the deceased “the mere fact that the deceased was lying dead in a room held by defendant No 1 and that the defendant had informed the complainant that the deceased was lying motionless and still not responding to shouts and calls does not indicate that the defendant murdered the deceased.
The Supreme Court said the prosecution miserably failed to determine the guilt of the accused respondents, and the accused respondents were correctly convicted by the trial court.
The bench held that it cannot be stated in this case that the reasons provided by the High Court for reversing the accused’s conviction are flimsy, untenable, or bordering on a twisted appreciation of the proof.
The Court said, “Before it can be said that a case against an accused is fully based on circumstantial evidence, the circumstances from which the finding of guilt is to be drawn must be fully established and the facts so established should only be consistent with the accused’s hypothesis of guilt. “There must be a chain of evidence so comprehensive as not to leave any reasonable uncertainty as to a reasonable doubt.
There is a good possibility that the accused, who was intoxicated with alcohol, according to the doctor’s view, who conducted the autopsy, may have inadvertently touched a live electrical wire when he was unconscious, it said.