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Circumstantial Evidence

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      Satya Narayanan v. State Rep. by Inspector of Police (2013) 54 OCR (SC) 218

      P.Sathasivam and Ranjan Gogoi , JJ.

      Guidelines for appreciation restated

      In Hanumant vs. State of Madhya Pradesh, 1952 SCR 1091 the nature, character and essential proof
      required in a criminal case that rests on circumstantial evidence alone has been laid down. This case has been uniformly followed and applied by this Court in a large number of later decisions up to this date.
      In Sharad BirdhiChand Sarda vs State Of Maharashtra ,( 1984 SCC (4) 116 ) , a bench of three
      Judges of this Court , after analyzing various aspects, laid down certain cardinal principles for conviction on the basis of Circumstantial evidence. This Court laid down the following conditions must be fulfilled before a case against an accused can be said to be fully established :

      “153…(1)the circumstances from which the conclusion of guilty is to be drawn should be fully
      (2) the facts so established should be consistent only with the hypothesis of the guilty of the
      accused , that is to say, they should not be explainable on any other hypothesis expect that the accused is guilty.
      (3) the circumstances should be a conclusive nature and tendency.
      (4) they should exclude every possible hypothesis expect the one to be prove, 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.

      These five golden principles , if we say so, constitute the panchsheel of the proof of a case based on circumstantial evidence.”

      Criminal Trail – Hostile Witness –Evidence of –Need not be rejected in toto –Replied upon to the extend supported by prosecution.

      Criminal Trail – Circumstantial Evidence –Motive -In a case based on Circumstantial evidence,motive
      assumes importance.

      In the case of circumstantial evidence, motive also assumes significance for the reason that the absence of motive In the case of circumstantial evidence, would put the court on its guard and cause it to scrutinize each piece of evidence closely in order to ensure that suspicion, omission or conjecture do not take the place of proof. In the case on hand, the prosecution has demonstrated that initially, the deceased entered the Ashram in order to assist the devotees and subsequently became one of the Trustees of the Trust and slowly developed grudge with the appellants. PWs 35 and 36, sister and brother of the deceased Leelavathi deposed that since then she became a Trustee, there was a dispute with regard to the Management of the said Trust.

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