Delhi Court acquits two accused persons in Ashok Nagar Riots case as prosecution fails to prove its case beyond reasonable doubt

Karkardooma Court, Delhi: In a case filed by the State against the two accused Yogender Singh and Suraj under Section 147/148/149/427/436 Penal Code, 1860 (‘IPC’) based on deposition made by eye witnesses Shamshad (‘complainant’) (‘PW2’) and Pramod (‘PW3’), Amitabh Rawat, J. acquitted both the accused of all the offences punishable under Section 147/427/436 IPC read with Section 149 IPC, as the prosecution failed to prove its case against both the accused persons beyond reasonable doubt, which is the touchstone of criminal law on account of questionable veracity of the statements made by the witnesses. The acquittal is based on firstly, the presence of the accused persons was not established and secondly no charges were framed and even the testimony did not come from the concerned authority.

The present case of prosecution pertains to an unlawful assembly in Ashok Nagar, Delhi which used criminal force and violence and committed rioting in prosecution of their common object at the said place. The said unlawful assembly/rioters caused damage to the property of the complainant and set it on fire.

The Court noted that the testimony of PW2 & PW3, therefore, has to be scrutinized in detail for prosecution to establish its case. It was noted that the arrest memos of both the accused persons do not show either PW2 or PW3 as witness based upon whose identification they were arrested. PW2 Shamshad has not identified the accused persons in the court and in fact, has not even deposed about any identification by him of the accused persons on 09-03-2020 at Police Station Jyoti Nagar.

Also, PW3 deposed that on 09-03-2020 when he was in Police Station Jyoti Nagar, he saw two persons with ASI Vijay in the Police Station and identified them as involved in the present case. Yet PW3 is not a witness in the arrest memo.

The Court found it interesting that the deposition of PW5/ASI Deshpal who stated that on 09-03-2020, ASI Vijay Kumar handed over to him a disclosure statement of accused in FIR at P.S. Jyoti Nagar. He started an investigation and PW3- Pramod came to the Police Station, saw the accused and identified them as participants of riots. Moreover, complainant Shamshad (PW2) also visited the Police Station by chance, and he also identified the accused (this version of PW5 is completely absent in the deposition of PW2).

Thus, after identification by PW3-Pramod and complainant PW2-Shamshad, he wrote the statements of accused persons and arrested them. If the testimony of PW5 is correct and accused persons were arrested after identification by PW2 & PW3, then presence of PW2 & PW3 as witnesses in the arrest memos should have been there and the absence in the light of the testimony of PW2 & PW3, raises doubts over the prosecution case.

The Court opined that the testimony of the natural eye-witness/PW2 Shamshad and the testimony of PW3-Pramod does not inspire the Court to conclude the case against accused persons namely Yogender Singh and Suraj beyond reasonable doubt.

The Court, thus, acquitted both the accused persons, observing that on the cumulative reading of the entire testimonies of all the witnesses, the presence of accused persons in the unlawful assembly on the time and place of incident and their participation in the act of rioting, mischief and burning of house of complainant Shamshad is not established at all.

[State v. Yogender Singh, 2022 SCC OnLine Dis Crt (Del) 37, decided on 14-09-2022]


Advocates who appeared in this case :

Rajeev Krishan Sharma, Special Public Prosecutor, for the State;

Nishant Kumar Tyagi and Deepak Mohan, Advocates, for the accused.


*Arunima Bose, Editorial Assistant has put this report together.

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