Suspicion, however strong, cannot be considered legal proof: Bombay HC

Suspicion, however strong, cannot be considered legal proof: Bombay HC

The Bombay High Court ruled that Suspicion, however strong but cannot be considered as a legal proof.

Background 

Deceased Pandurang Patil and the appellant-accused Avadhoot Ghate both were working as labourers. The deceased Pandurang, appellant-accused and one other labourer started working in the field of Raosaheb Sonawane at Hingangaon. Vaijanath Kardile, a teacher, is also having agricultural land at village Jakhangaon situated near Hingangaon and he was also in need of labourers for cutting the crop of Bajra and thus he had requested Raosaheb Sonawane to send those three labourers to his field after his work is over. Vaijanath Kardile brought those three labourers from the field of Raosaheb Sonawane. It further reveals from the prosecution story that on the next day, deceased Pandurang and the appellant accused expressed their desire to attend one religious function at Hingangaon. Thus, they went to the village of Hingangaon. They had consumed liquor. Subsequently, a quarrel took place between them at Hingangaon. Consequently, the appellant-accused Avadhoot got annoyed and while returning after attending the religious function at Hingangaon, the appellant-accused Avadhoot had committed murder of deceased Pandurang by smashing his head with the help of one big stone. 

Arguments 

Advocate Sunil B. Jadhav, appearing for the appellant-accused, contended that the prosecution case entirely rests upon circumstantial evidence and there is no direct evidence in the case. There is no chain of circumstantial evidence. The prosecution has failed to establish the motive on the part of the appellant-accused for commission of crime of murder.

A.P.P. R.V. Dasalkar, appearing for the state, argued that the prosecution has proved the case by establishing the chain of circumstantial evidence. The prosecution has proved beyond doubt the homicidal death of the deceased Pandurang.

Decision 

The division bench of Justice Sandipkumar C. More and Justice V. K. Jadhav said that they did not find the retracted confession as true and voluntary. Further, the same has not been corroborated in material particulars. The prosecution has failed to prove the case against the appellant-accused beyond reasonable doubt. 

The court while acquitting the accused and setting aside the impugned judgment and order of conviction passed by the Additional Sessions Judge, Ahmednagar held that at the most suspicion is created against the appellant-accused, but the said suspicion, however strong it may be, cannot take the form of legal proof. The appellant-accused is thus entitled for benefit of doubt.

Case title: Avdhoot Vithal Ghate v/s The State of Maharashtra

Citation: CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 702 OF 2014

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