Supreme Court: M.M. Shantanagoudar, J., delivered the judgment for N.V. Ramana, J. and himself, and upheld the decision of the Patna High Court answering a death reference in negative and acquitting the Respondent 1.

Respondent 1, along with co-accused, was convicted by the trial court under Sections 396 and 412 IPC. It was alleged that the accused committed dacoity in the house of the informant and his uncle, Madhukant Jha. While committing dacoity, the accused also fired a gunshot due to which Madhukant Jha died. The trial court awarded a death sentence to Respondent 1. The High Court not only answered the death reference in negative, but also acquitted Respondent 1. The matter was before the Supreme Court in appeal.

The Supreme Court perused the record and heard the parties and upheld the decision of the High Court. The Court observed, inter alia, that there was non-reporting of essential facts which were known to the informant in the FIR. Even the name of the material witness was conspicuously missing. Such non-mentioning, according to the Court, created suspicion on the hypothesis portrayed by the prosecution. It was further observed, although the FIR is not an encyclopedia of the crime, absence of certain essential facts, which were conspicuously missing in the FIR, pointed towards suspicion that the crime itself may be staged. On such and other reasons, the Court was of the view that the judgment of the High Court did not warrant any interference. Accordingly, the appeal was dismissed. [Amar Nath Jha v. Nand Kishore Singh,2018 SCC OnLine SC 786, decided on 03-08-2018]

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