Karnataka High Court: A Division Bench comprising of Ravi Malimath and Dr. H.B. Prabhakara Sastry, JJ., decided a criminal appeal filed under Section 374 (2) CrPC, wherein the judgment of conviction and sentence passed by the trial court against the petitioner was set aside in the light of material discrepancies in the evidence led on behalf of the prosecution.
The petitioner was accused in a criminal case registered under Sections 302 and 201 IPC. The complaint was filed by the father of the deceased wherein it was alleged that the accused- his neighbor, took the deceased with him on the pretext of finding him a job. However, on reaching a certain spot near a canal- the crime scene, the accused pushed the deceased in the canal thus committing murder of the deceased. The prosecution led evidence and examined as many as 22 witnesses. It was submitted that the motive behind the alleged offence was the enmity between both the families. It was also alleged that during investigation, a button of a shirt was recovered at the instance of the accused from the crime scene which was alleged to be that of the deceased. Based on such evidence and submissions, the trial court convicted the accused and passed the sentence accordingly. Aggrieved thus, the accused filed the instant petition.
The High Court perused the entire evidence on record and found that the evidence led on every point, on which conviction of the accused was based; was full of discrepancies. There was no consistency in the statement of witnesses and the unbroken chain of evidence necessary to prove the guilt of the accused beyond reasonable doubt was missing. The Court was of the view that the findings made by the trial court were not based on proper appreciation of evidence and were perverse. The only fact of alleged recovery of the shirt button was not sufficient to prove guilt of the accused beyond reasonable doubt. In the facts and circumstances of the case, benefit of doubt ought to have been given to the accused.
Accordingly, the order of the trial court convicting and sentencing the accused-petitioner was set aside and the petitioner was acquitted of the alleged charges. [Kumara alias Puttabasappa v. State of Karnataka, Crl. Appeal No. 911 of 2012, dated 17.2.2018]