Criminal Trident Pack: IPC, CrPC and IEA by Sr. Adv. G.S Shukla and Adv. Raghav Arora
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  • The Supreme Court stated that a trial court could not absolve an accused of murder based solely on a post mortem report indicating the cause of death as "cardio respiratory failure." 
  • "The post-mortem report does not constitute substantive evidence in and of itself. The doctor's testimony in court is the only substantive evidence ", observed the bench of Justices AM Khanwilkar, Abhay S Oka, and JB Pardiwala.
  • The Trial Court acquitted the accused of murder on the grounds that the deceased's cause of death, as assigned in the post mortem report, had no connection to the alleged assault on the deceased. 
  • The Jammu and Kashmir High Court dismissed the original complainant's revision petition and upheld this order. 
  • Following that, the trial court proceeded to charge the accused with culpable homicide, a crime punishable under Section 304 IPC. In the complainant's appeal, the Supreme Court considered the legal position on the scope of Sections 227 and 228 CrPC.
  • The bench noted that the question of whether the "cardio respiratory failure" had any connection to the incident in question would have to be decided based on the oral evidence of the eyewitnesses as well as the medical officer in question, i.e. the expert witness who may be examined as one of the Prosecution's witnesses.
  • While granting the appeal, the bench also stated that once the trial court decides to discharge an accused person from the offence punishable under Section 302 of the IPC and proceeds to frame the lesser charge for the offence punishable under Section 304 Part II of the IPC, the prosecution will be unable to present any evidence beyond the charge as framed.
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