The Supreme Court stated that it was the duty of the appellate court to re-appreciate the entire evidence and then come to a conclusion in a murder appeal.
The appellant was before the court against the order passed by the Division Bench of Uttarakhand High Court whereby it has dismissed the criminal appeal of the appellant who was convicted and sentenced under Section 302 and Section 364 read with Section 34 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
The appellant has been convicted by the Sessions Judge, Dehradun in Sessions Trial for the offences. He has been sentenced for life imprisonment under Section 302 and for 10 years under Section 364 along with fine, with default stipulations.
The division bench of Justice Hemant Gupta and Justice Sudhanshu Dhulia noted that the Uttarakhand High Court after narrating the incident, came to the conclusion that the chain of circumstances is complete and both Rajendra and Babloo Kothari were last seen with the deceased and though they were not bound to speak but it was their duty to speak about the whereabouts of the deceased and since they failed to do that their complicity with the crime has been established.
The court said that the Division Bench has not taken pains to re-appreciate the evidence of the prosecution which was its duty as an appellate court.
“There is no determination or evaluation of either the evidence or the facts of the case. Only a generalised view of the legal position has been spelt out by the Division Bench and on that basis the appeal has been dismissed” the court added.
The bench viewed that this is not the manner in which a criminal appeal has to be decided, more so, a murder appeal.
“It was the duty of the appellate court to re-appreciate the entire evidence and then come to a conclusion” the court stated.
The court set aside the order of the High Court and remitted the case back to High Court for fresh decision in the case in accordance with law.
Case title: Bablu Kothari @ Balbir v/s State of Uttarakhand
Citation: Criminal appeal no.300 of 2013