Hon’ble Mr. Justice N.V. Ramana

Hon’ble Mr. Justice Mohan M. Shantanagoudar

Sections 302 read with 149, 307 read with 149, 148 IPC and Section 7 of Criminal Law Amendment Act, 1932 – Trial court convicted the accused whereas High court reversed the same –

Apex court held that We concur with the aforesaid order of acquittal rendered by the High Court, as the present case is ridden with multiple investigative laches and flaws which goes to the root of the matter. Firstly, it is apt to note that out of the seven eye witnesses who participated in the TIP, five of them identified the accused without committing any mistake. – no documentary evidence has been provided to proof that the identity of the accused was kept concealed. Secondly, it is surprising that, although the postmortem report describes that there were only two wounds in the body of the deceased, one being the entry and the other being the exit wound, allegedly a bullet was still recovered from the ashes of the deceased. Thirdly, the prosecution has failed to establish that the bullet allegedly recovered from the ashes of the deceased 20 days later was indeed fired from the pistol recovered from accusedrespondent Wasif Haider. Even, the recovery of pistol is doubtful. Fourthly, as regards to the place of incident, the prosecution failed to ascertain the same with precision. Fifthly, the prosecution failed to examine Ram Chandra, the orderly of the deceased who was also injured in the same incident and had suffered a gunshot injury. Sixthly, the prosecution has also failed to adduce any independent witness. Lastly, it is surprising that although the charges have been framed under Section 307 of IPC, the prosecution has absolutely failed to substantiate the charges by means of evidence.

In the instant appeals before us, the prosecution has failed to link the chain of circumstances so as to dispel the cloud of doubt about the culpability of the accused­respondents.

It is a well settled principle that a suspicion, however grave it may be cannot take place of proof, i.e., there is a long distance between “may be” and “must be”, which must be traversed by the prosecution to prove its case beyond reasonable doubt The accused cannot be expected to relinquish his innocence at the hands of an inefficacious prosecution, which is ridden with investigative deficiencies. The benefit of doubt arising out of such inefficient investigation, must be bestowed upon the accused.