Murder accused acquitted on benefit of doubt in absence of motive

Delhi High Court: A Division Bench comprising of S. Muralidhar and Vinod Goel, JJ., allowed a criminal appeal directed against the trial court judgment convicting the appellant under Sections 302, 201 and 404 IPC.

The appellant was accused of entering into a criminal conspiracy with other co-accused to murder the deceased Khazano Devi. They were also accused of causing the disappearance of evidence. All the accused were convicted by the trial court and sentenced for the offence punishable under the abovementioned sections. The appellant challenged the trial court judgment before the High Court.

The Court noted that the prosecution relied on three circumstances which were, firstly, last seen evidence, to which the High Court held that there were no independent witnesses in that regard. Secondly, recovery of articles, which the Court held were not sufficient to provide a link in chain of circumstances to prove guilt of the appellant. Thirdly, motive, for which the Court observed that where other circumstances are not satisfactorily proved it is necessary to prove the motive for commission of the crime. However, the Court held that the prosecution failed to prove the motive for murder of the deceased. In such circumstances, the Court was of the view that the appellant was entitled to benefit of doubt. Therefore, he was acquitted of the offences charged under and the sentence was set aside. The appeal was, thus, allowed. [Yamin v. State, 2018 SCC OnLine Del 10198, dated 26-07-2018]

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