ENCYCLOPEDIA

What is the meaning of ‘proof beyond reasonable doubt’

The expression ‘proof beyond reasonable doubt’ in criminal law requires the prosecution to establish guilt and secure conviction of the accused by proving the charge ‘beyond reasonable doubt’. In Ramakant Rai Vs. Madan Rai & Ors. (2003) 12 SCC 395 referring to the expression ‘reasonable doubt’ in criminal law it was held as under:

“24. Doubts would be called reasonable if they are free from a zest for abstract speculation. Law cannot afford any favourite other than the truth. To constitute reasonable doubt, it must be free from an overemotional response. Doubts must be actual and substantial doubts as to the guilt of the accused persons arising from the evidence, or from the lack of it, as opposed to mere vague apprehensions. A reasonable doubt is not an imaginary, trivial or a merely possible doubt; but a fair doubt based upon reason and common sense. It must grow out of the evidence in the
case.”