CRIMINAL APPEAL NOS. 248-250 OF 2015
Date of judgement:
20th May, 2022
Hon’ble Justice Uday Umesh Lalit, S. Ravindra Bhat, Bela. M. Trivedi
Petitioner – MANOJ & ORS.
Respondent – STATE OF MADHYA PRADESH
The Court in this case, while relegating the death sentence awarded to the appellants, observed that it is essential to comply with the provisions of Section 207 and 208 of CrPC. Furthermore, the test identification parade must be performed as early as possible as delays affect the credibility of the identification.
- The case concerned is an appeal filed by the appellants who were convicted under section 302 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
- The appellants had been sentenced to death and the sentence was confirmed by the High Court as well.
- Subsequently, the appellants filed an appeal before the Supreme Court of India.
ARGUMENTS BY THE APPELLANT
- The Counsel for the appellants highlighted the discrepancies in the statements of the witnesses produced by prosecution in its support. PW 10 had given contradictory statements in the Examination in Chief and Cross examination and was a chance witness. The credibility of such a witness could not be relied upon.
- The Counsel for the appellants submitted that there had been a delay of 25 days in conducting the test identification parade.
- Further, there were procedural irregularities in the investigation procedure as well. For example, the seizure was not immediately notified to the magistrate as required by Section 102.
- The appellants alleged hidden role by the IO in the investigation and stated that her role earned her an out of turn promotion
- Moreover, the prosecution had failed to prove that the three accused knew each other or had conspired together to commit the robbery. No relationship among the three accused was established by the prosecution.
ARGUMENTS BY THE PROSECUTION
- The prosection stated that robbery was the primary motive of murder.
- The recovery of the looted articles from the premises of the accused proves their guilt.
- The prosecution contended that it had provided the guilt of the accused beyond reasonable doubt.
- The prosecution further stated that some inconsistencies and lapses were natural to arise in the case of every prosecution.
- The prosecution further stated that the IO was promoted due to her contribution in several cases and not due to any hidden role in the present case.
- Lastly, no explanation was offered by the appellants with reference to the incriminating circumstances.
ANALYSIS BY THE COURT
- The Court observed that the primary objective of a public prosecutor is to ensure a free trial. The public prosecutor should not lead the trial with the object of ensuring conviction.
- The Court observed that one of the defense witnesses, a police officer, had herself been involved in the case and concealed the same.
- The IO had concealed analysing the certain phone records, obtaining, from an informed, the source information and interrogating Neha at the MIG police station.
- The public prosecutor is an agent of the Court and not a part of the investigative agency.
- The Supreme Court noted that under Section 207 and 208 of CrPC, whether the proceeding has been instituted on a police report or not, the accused must be provided, free of cose, copies of the statements and confessions recorded under Section 164 and 161 along with a copy of the FIR, copy of the police report, etc.
- Furthermore, the Court observed that the test identification parade must have been conducted as early as possible. While delay would not evidence inadmissible ipso facto, it would certainly affect the credibility of the identification.
- The Court further noted that the omission by some of the PW to corroborate the evidence given by other witnesses renders the case of the prosecution shaky.
On the basis of the above findings, the Court relegated the sentence of the accused to life imprisonment for a minimum of 25 years.
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