Criminal Trident Pack: IPC, CrPC and IEA by Sr. Adv. G.S Shukla and Adv. Raghav Arora
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  • While setting aside the order of conviction for the offence of murder under section 302 IPC, the Calcutta HC in Md. Firoz Ala @ Firoj Alam vs State of West Bengal has held that the absconding of an accused cannot be the sole ground for proving his guilt. 
  • The instant appeal was preferred against an order of conviction passed by against the appellant for murdering a 10 year old boy. It was alleged that the appellant had an illicit relation with the boy’s mother. The child had disclosed the illicit relationship to his father, and it was due to this that the appellant bore a grudge against him.
  • It was contended by the prosecution that the appellant had run away from the mosque immediately after the murder and did not return to the village, he was later arrested at the Panskura railway station. 
  • The Court referred to the judgement of the Apex Court in Sk Yusuf vs State of West Bengal (2011) SCC wherein it was held that it was a settled legal proposition that in cases where the person is absconding after the commission of the offence of which he may even not be the author, this circumstance may not be enough to draw an adverse inference against him, as the same would go against the doctrine of innocence.
  • The Court further noted that the father of the deceased himself did not initially lodge an FIR against the accused, and that it was only after a couple of days out of suspicion that the appellant had been implicated in the case. 
  • The Court further went on to observe that it was likely out of fear and apprehension of false implication and embarrassment that the appellant might have run away from the village and had secreted himself. When the facts and the circumstances of the case have been taken into account, the Court observed that the abscondence of the accused can, in no way, be treated as a proof of his guilt. 
  • The Court also observed that no evidence was given to show that on that fateful evening or immediately before the death of the victim, the appellant was seen with the child. This was held to be a clear snap in the chain of circumstances, and thus the culpability of the accused could not be said to have been established beyond doubt. 
  • Thus, the appeal was allowed and the order of conviction of the appellant was set aside. 
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