EVIDENCE

 In cases based upon circumstantial evidence, motive assumes greater importance

Regarding law on the circumstance of last seen, the observation of Supreme Court in Mohibur Rahman and Another Vs. State of Assam, are relevant:

The circumstance of last seen together does not by itself and necessarily lead to the inference that it was the accused who committed the crime. There must be something more establishing connectivity between the accused and the crime. There may be cases where, on account of close proximity of place and time between the event of the accused having been last seen with the deceased and the factum of death, a rational mind may be persuaded to reach an irresistible conclusion that either the accused should explain how and in what circumstances the victim suffered the death or should own the liability for the homicide. In the present case there is no such proximity of time and place.

In the case of ‘ State of Goa Vs. Sanjay Thakran and Another, the Supreme Court noted general principles with reference to the principles of last seen together in Bodh Raj @ Bodha and Others Vs. State of Jammu and Kashmir, as under:

The last seen theory comes into play where the time gap between the point of time when the accused and the deceased were seen last alive and when the deceased is found dead is so small that possibility of any person other than the accused being the author of the crime becomes impossible. It would be difficult in some cases to positively establish that the deceased was last seen with the accused when there is a long gap and possibility of other persons coming in between exists. In the absence of any other positive evidence to conclude that the accused and the deceased were last seen together, it would be hazardous to come to a conclusion of guilt in those cases.”

In Ramreddy Rajeshkhanna Reddy and Another Vs. State of Andhra Pradesh, this Court further opined that even in the cases where time gap between the point of time when the accused and the deceased were last seen alive and when the deceased was found dead is too small that possibility of any person other than the accused being the author of the crime becomes impossible, the courts should look for some corroboration.

34……Hence, if the prosecution proves that in the light of the facts and circumstances of the case, there was no possibility of any other person meeting or approaching the deceased at the place of incident or before the commission of the crime, in the intervening period, the proof of last seen together would be relevant evidence. For instance, if it can be demonstrated by showing that the accused persons were in exclusive possession of the place where the incident occurred or where they were last seen together with the deceased, and there was no possibility of any intrusion to that place by any third party, then a relatively wider time gap would not affect the prosecution case.