Criminal Trident Pack: IPC, CrPC and IEA by Sr. Adv. G.S Shukla and Adv. Raghav Arora
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Whether an appeal against conviction can be challenged against an order of acquittal?

Virtual Legal Assistant ,
  26 May 2020       Share Bookmark

Court :
Supreme Court of India
Brief :
In the present case it was clear that a person alleged to be suffering from any mental disorder cannot be exempted from criminal liability ipso facto. The onus would be on the accused to prove by expert evidence that he is suffering from such a mental disorder or mental condition that he could not be expected to be aware of the consequences of his act. It was laid down that an appeal against conviction can be challenged against an order of acquittal following the golden rule that the Court is obliged and it will not abjure its duty to prevent miscarriage of justice, where interference is imperative and the ends of justice so require and it is essential to appease the judicial conscience.
Citation :
STATE OF RAJASTHAN VS. SHERA RAM
  • Appellants: State of Rajasthan
  • Respondent: Shera Ram
  • Bench: Justice Swatanter Kumar and Ranjana Prakash Desai

Facts:

The present case is an outcome of appeal presented by Prosecution by way of a special leave petition. Tulsi Das (now deceased) was a priest in the Raghunath ji's temple. The Respondent abruptly hurled a stone on Tulsi Das while he was inside the temple, resulting into his instantaneous death. The Respondent also damaged the property of the temple. The incident was witnessed by the villagers .Respondent was charged for committing an offence under Sections 302, 295 and 449 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 and was sentenced to undergo imprisonment for life.

Grounds :

The Respondent upon appeal to the appellate court, came to be acquitted of all the offences by a Division Bench of the High Court of Rajasthan primarily on the ground that at the time of incident, he was a person of unsound mind within the meaning
of Section 84 Indian Penal Code and was directed to be detained in safe custody.

Issue:

  • Whether an appeal against conviction can be challenged against an order of acquittal?
  • Where shall an appeal against acquittal lie?

Judgment:

In the present case it was clear that a person alleged to be suffering from any mental disorder cannot be exempted from criminal liability ipso facto. The onus would be on the accused to prove by expert evidence that he is suffering from such a mental disorder or mental condition that he could not be expected to be aware of the consequences of his act. It was laid down that an appeal against conviction can be challenged against an order of acquittal following the golden rule that the Court is obliged and it will not abjure its duty to prevent miscarriage of justice, where interference is imperative and the ends of justice so require and it is essential to appease the judicial conscience.

 
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