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Prosecution Must Establish Case Beyond Reasonable Doubt Even If Accused Pleads Guilty In Statement U/S 313 CrPC: Allahabad High Court

Raashi Saxena ,
  23 November 2022       Share Bookmark

Court :
Hon’ble High Court of Allahabad
Brief :

Citation :
2022 Live Law (AB) 402

CASE TITLE:  
Gabbar Patel @ Dharmendra Vs. State

DATE OF ORDER: 
11th August 2022

BENCH: 
Justice Samit Gopal 

PARTIES: 
Petitioner : Gabbar Patel @ Dharmendra
                 Respondent : State 

SUBJECT

According to the Allahabad High Court, even if an accused enters a guilty plea in a statement recorded under Section 313 of the Criminal Procedure Code, the prosecution must still prove its case in order to have the court rule that the accused is guilty.

IMPORTANT PROVISION

Section 313 of the Code of Criminal Procedure- Power to examine accused : 

  • This Section  grants the court the authority to question the accused on the evidence that has been presented against him. 
  • This is in accordance with the "Audi Alteram Partem" principle of natural justice. 
  • The provision also upholds the fundamental idea of an accused person receiving a fair trial.

BRIEF FACTS  

  • According to the FIR, a police informant alerted authorities of a person in Jalalpur Mod who was carrying drugs and a locally produced pistol and was preparing to perpetrate an act of violence. 
  • The S.O. and accompanying officials approached the subject, who suddenly opened fire on them, causing them to flee. They pursued the subject, who then flashed them his weapon as they approached Jalalpur Mod. However, they apprehended him on March 3, 2003, at around 23:40 hours.
  • His right hand was where they found a country-made 12-bore pistol, and when they opened the barrel, they discovered an empty cartridge. He also informed them that he was carrying diazepam tablets. 
  • During the search, something wrapped in paper was discovered in his left pocket, which was then opened to reveal 300 tiny tablets.
  • A charge sheet was submitted against the accused-appellant under Section 307 IPC after the case was investigated.
  • The accused was questioned (while making a statement under Section 313 CrPC) why a case had been filed against him after the recording of PW-1's testimony during the trial, and he responded that he was at blame. 
  • He acknowledged culpability and also agreed to starting a fire on the police party. 
  • In addition, when asked if he had anything else to say, he said that he was serving a lengthy sentence and should be treated leniently.
  • As a result, the trial court declared that the prosecution had proved its case beyond a reasonable doubt and that the accused had been found guilty when it concluded the proceedings and issued the impugned judgement based on PW-1's statement, the recovery memo, and the accused's statement under section 313 CrPC. 
  • The accused filed a motion with the High Court to contest that same order.

ISSUES RAISED

The main question before the court was whether or not the accused's admission of guilt in the statement recorded under Section 313 CrPC, the prosecution's production of the recovery memo in the presence of one witness, and the deposition against him—who was a member of the arresting team—were sufficient grounds for conviction.

ANALYSIS BY THE COURT

  • The Court stated that there was no injury in this particular case. The Court observed that the prosecution has not said if the aforementioned weapon was given to a ballistic specialist for analysis, which would confirm its use at the time. 
  • Without supporting evidence, the recovery of a firearm and one empty cartridge alone would not be enough to demonstrate that the weapon had been used.
  • Another query was whether or not the circumstances would turn against the accused if he entered a guilty plea in his statement pursuant to Section 313 CrPC. 
  • The court responded that it is indisputable that the statement pursuant to Section 313 CrPC is not evidence. It is not a significant piece of proof. 
  • It can be utilised to evaluate and accept or reject the prosecution's evidence, however, it cannot be considered to be a replacement for the prosecution's evidence.

CONCLUSION

After thorough deliberation and analysis of all the facts of the case, the court was of the opinion that the accused-appellant should be given the benefit of the doubt. The appeal was allowed. 

Click here to download the original copy of the judgement

 
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