Question: In a case, accused A is charged under Section 302, for the murder of B. There is no direct evidence regarding the occurrence of murder but there is evidence to show that the accused A and deceased B were seen together just before the murder of B. Should A be convicted on the basis of this circumstantial… Read More »

Question: In a case, accused A is charged under Section 302, for the murder of B. There is no direct evidence regarding the occurrence of murder but there is evidence to show that the accused A and deceased B were seen together just before the murder of B. Should A be convicted on the basis of this circumstantial evidence? Give reasons and also refer to case law, if any, on the point. [WBJS.1973] Find the answer to the mains question only on Legal Bites. [In a case, accused A is charged...

Question: In a case, accused A is charged under Section 302, for the murder of B. There is no direct evidence regarding the occurrence of murder but there is evidence to show that the accused A and deceased B were seen together just before the murder of B. Should A be convicted on the basis of this circumstantial evidence? Give reasons and also refer to case law, if any, on the point. [WBJS.1973]

Find the answer to the mains question only on Legal Bites. [In a case, accused A is charged under Section 302, for the murder of B. There is no direct evidence regarding the occurrence of murder but there is evidence… Give reasons and also refer to case law, if any, on the point.]

Answer

The corroboration need not be direct evidence that the accused committed the crime. It is sufficient if it is merely circumstantial evidence of his connection with the crime.

In the absence of any direct evidence, a person can be convicted on the basis of circumstantial evidence alone if the two conditions are satisfied Umedbhai v. State of Gujarat AIR 1978 SC 424.

These are:

  1. A fact that is put before the court and that fact itself do not tell us anything about the offence of the course of action. It is not one of the elements of the course of action but it allows the court to make some assumptions or some inferences that bring it very close to being able to define other facts which are directly related to the chain of the course of action.
  2. You can see circumstances not related directly to the crime but they indirectly point at the crime. They make it more likely that what has been proposed to the court is true.

However circumstances leading to “last seen together”, do not necessarily imply that it was the accused who has committed the crime. If the circumstances are limited to just “last seen together” without further corroboration, a conviction cannot be based on the said assertion.

The doctrine of “last seen together” shifts the onus onto the accused to establish his innocence. Thus, last seen together is not conclusive proof establishing guilt, it is imperative to look at surrounding circumstances such as victim relationship, history of hostility, weapon recovery, the relationship between the victim and the accused among others as held in Ashok v. State of Maharashtra, 2015, 4 SCC 393, Ramesh v. State, 2014, 9 SCC 392.

Also, the proximity between the time of death and last seen together is essential to conclude that the accused and deceased were last seen together without the probability of other persons coming in between exists

In State of Karnataka v. Hanumantha, 2002 Cr LJ (NOC) 254 (Kant), the weak link of circumstances, that the witness ran away on seeing the accused, leaving the victim alone, last seen together not conclusively proved, recovery of the instrument was also inconclusive. However, in Dharyashil v. State of Maharashtra, 2003 Cr LJ 317 (Bom), circumstantial evidence, the accused was last seen with the deceased, motive also proved, conviction, the entire testimony of a hostile witness was not thrown away

The Court in the case of Ramreddy Rajesh Khanna Reddy v. State of Andhra Pradesh (2006) 10 SCC 172 wherein held that:

“It is now well-settled that with a view to base a conviction on circumstantial evidence, the prosecution must establish all the pieces of incriminating circumstances by reliable and clinching evidence and the circumstances so proved must form such a chain of events as would permit no conclusion other than one of guilt of the accused. The circumstances cannot be on any other hypothesis. It is also well-settled that suspicion, however, the grave may be, cannot be a substitute for a proof and the courts shall take utmost precaution in finding an accused guilty only on the basis of the circumstantial evidence.”

Therefore, in the present case, when there is no direct evidence to show the guilt of accused A but only on the basis of this circumstantial evidence, he may be convicted provided the last seen of A with the deceased is conclusively proved by other matters like motive, recovery of the instrument, etc. But to be noted in the absence of eye-witnesses and the weak chain of circumstantial evidence, the order of conviction and sentence impugned herein to the accused is liable to be set aside.


Important Mains Questions Series for Judiciary, APO & University Exams

  1. Law of Evidence Mains Questions Series Part-I
  2. Law of Evidence Mains Questions Series Part-II
  3. Law of Evidence Mains Questions Series Part-III
  4. Law of Evidence Mains Questions Series Part-IV
  5. Law of Evidence Mains Questions Series Part-V
  6. Law of Evidence Mains Questions Series Part-VI
  7. Law of Evidence Mains Questions Series Part-VII
  8. Law of Evidence Mains Questions Series Part-VIII
  9. Law of Evidence Mains Questions Series Part-IX
  10. Law of Evidence Mains Questions Series Part-X
Updated On 2021-09-14T05:55:40+05:30
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