Abscondence Of Accused Cannot Be Treated As A Conclusive Proof Of Guilt: Calcutta HC
- 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.
Amount Paid by Insurance Company Under Mediclaim Policy Can Be Deducted From Compensation In Motor Accident Claim: Madras HC
- In The Manager, TATA AIG General Insurance Co. Ltd. vs Kathamuthu and anr the Hon’ble Madras HC has held that the compensation for medical expenses is a matter of reimbursement and thus, once the insurance company has chosen to compensate the victim of a road accident for medical expenses, the same cannot once again be claimed under the Motor Vehicles Act.
- Thus, the Court held that the amount paid by the insurance company to the hospital directly will be deducted by the Motor Accident Tribunal while calculating compensation to the injured.
- The instant case was an appeal filed by the insurance company TATA AIG General Insurance Co. Ltd. against an order of the Motor Accident Claims Tribunal, which had ordered the grant of Rs. 9,08,954 as medical expenses.
- The appellant argued that the Tribunal had not taken into account the 4,00,000/- which the insurance company had reinvested under the medi-claim policy to the injured. Thus, it was argued that the Tribunal had committed an error since the amount had already been paid to the hospital and the same cannot be awarded as it would amount to double compensation.
- The Court agreed with the arguments advanced by the appellants and relied upon the decision of the Apex Court in United India Insurance Company Ltd. vs Mrs. Patricia Jean Mahajan wherein it was held that deductions are admissible from the amount of compensation in case the claimant receives the benefit as a consequence of injuries sustained, which he would otherwise not be entitled to.
- The Court observed that what has not been paid to by the original petitioner to the hospital cannot be granted as compensation in a claim under the MV Act.
- Thus, allowing the appeal, the Court deducted the amount already paid by the insurance company and directed the appellant to pay the remaining alongwith compensation for disability, pain and suffering, permanent disability, loss of income, etc. with an interest of 7.5% p.a. and to deposit the same within a period of 8 weeks.