In Sharad Birdhichand Sarda v. State of Maharashtra, (1984) 4 SCC 116, the bench of S. Murtaza Fazal Ali, A. Varadarajan and Sabyasachi Mukherjee, JJ laid down the following five golden principles i.e. the panchsheel of the proof of a case based on circumstantial evidence:
(1) The circumstances from which the conclusion of guilt is to be drawn should be fully established. There is not only a grammatical but a legal distinction between ‘may be proved’ and “must be or should be proved”. It is a primary principle that the accused must be and not merely may be guilty before a court can convict and the mental distance between ‘may be’ and ‘must be’ is long and divides vague conjectures from sure conclusions.
(2) The facts so established should be consistent only with the hypothesis of the guilt of the accused, that is to say, they should not be explainable on any other hypothesis except that the accused is guilty.
(3) the circumstances should be of a conclusive nature and tendency,
(4) they should exclude every possible hypothesis except the one to be proved, and
(5) there must be a chain of evidence so complete as not to leave any reasonable ground for the conclusion consistent with the innocence of the accused and must show that in all human probability the act must have been done by the accused.