Author: Abhishek Wadhawan
1) State of Gujarat Vs. Natubhai Mohanbhai Parmar
Case No.: R/Criminal Appeal No. 108 of 2005
Bench and author: Justice R.P. Dholaria
Date: December 11, 2018
The relevant facts of the prosecution’s case were that the accused had provided his premises to the other respondents for the purpose of gambling. Subsequently. The accused was charge-sheeted by the police to be convicted under Section 4 of the Bombay Prevention of Gambling Act, 1887. The accused was acquitted by the lower court which had been challenged by the State in the present appeal. None of other witnesses statements matched with the prosecution’s case. Only the statement of the Investigation Officer was in consonance with the prosecution’s case. The witnesses also claimed that they were force to sign on the two panchnamas which were produced before the court by the investigation authorities.
The police had mentioned in the panchnama that Rs.110 that were recovered from one of the utensils was to pay the landlord, the accused, the rent for using his premises for gambling. The Court ruled that the contemporaneous documentary evidence could not prove as to how the Investigation Officer concluded that Rs.110 were kept separately so as to pay the accused. None of the evidence could prove that the other respondents were playing cards at the time of the police raid in the house of the accused. Accordingly, the Court ruled that the accused cannot be convicted on the mere statements of the Investigation Officer that to in the absence of any evidence in the favour of the statements of the Investigation Officer and hence the appeal was dismissed and the accused was acquitted from all the charges which were levelled against him.
Key takeaway: A Court may not convict any accused person merely on the basis of the statement of the Investigation Officer, especially when there is no evidence on record that supports the statement of the Investigation Officer. In such cases, the accused must be acquitted by the Court.
2) State of Gujarat Vs. Husenbhai Karibhai Sindhi Dafer
Case No.: R/Criminal Appeal No. 720 of 1999
Bench: Justice S.R. Brahmbhatt and Justice Umesh A. Trivedi
Author: Justice Umesh A. Trivedi
Date: December 11, 2018
The relevant facts of the case are that when the complainant and his family stopped their car at a railway crossing at around midnight five persons armed with sticks and knife attacked the complainant and his family. All of them got injured as the accused hit them with sticks. The accused persons also looted the complainant and his family of cash and jewellery. The complainant later filed a complaint against the accused. The trial court acquitted the accused from the charges levelled against them. The said order of acquittal of the trial court was challenged before the High Court.
The Court in the instant case referred to the reasons given by the trial court to acquit the accused. Firstly, the complainant had identified the accused after a period of three years and three months. In the FIR, the identity of the persons was not recorded nor was of any distinctive feature of the accused mentioned by the complainant while lodging his complaint. There was no corroborative evidence that testified that the identified accused in the identification parade were the ones who committed the offence against the complainant. The injuries that were suffered by the complainant were also not proved by the prosecution as the statement of the doctor who treated the complainant and his family was not recorded. In absence of any corroborative evidence except the test identification parade, it would hazardous to convict the accused. The Court concurred with the decision and the observations made by the trial court. Accordingly, the appeal was dismissed by the Court being devoid of merits and the acquittal of the accused was confirmed by the Court.
Key takeaway: In absence of any corroborative evidence except the test identification parade, it would hazardous to convict the accused. Accordingly, an accused may not be convicted only on the basis of his identification by the complainant in the test identification parade
About the Author: Abhishek is a 2018-23 Batch student at Gujarat National Law University, Gandhinagar.
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