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The Supreme Court, while acquitting the accused of murder, said that the object of section 106 of the Indian Evidence Act is not to absolve the prosecution from its duty to prove the guilt of the accused. A bench of Justices Sanjiv Khanna and Bela M. Trivedi observed that by invoking the provisions contained in Section 106 of the Evidence Act, the burden cannot be shifted on the accused when the prosecution could not prove the substantive facts as against the accused. was alleged. ,
In this case, the lower court had sentenced the accused to life imprisonment while finding him guilty under section 34 and 201 read with section 302 of IPC. The High Court dismissed the appeal of the accused and upheld the conviction.
Before the top court, the appellant-accused argued that the case was based on circumstantial evidence as there were no eyewitnesses to the alleged incident and the prosecution failed to prove the full range of circumstances that led to the conviction of the accused. The State submitted, citing Section 106 of the Evidence Act, that no explanation was given by the accused in their further statements as to why the deceased Shashi left his house on the previous day and what he did throughout the night, when Shashi was not found.
Referring to the evidence on record, the bench observed that the deceased Shashi had left the house on the previous evening of the alleged incident and was not found the whole night. But such circumstance cannot be said to be sufficient evidence to conclude that the accused had killed and burnt Shashi. Rejecting the State's argument relied on Section 106 Evidence Act, the bench observed:
"The object of section 106 is not to absolve the prosecution from discharging its duty to prove the guilt of the accused... In this case, the prosecution has failed to prove the substantive facts as alleged against the accused. Provided that the burden cannot be transferred to the accused by pressing into service the provisions contained in section 106 of the Evidence Act.
No concrete evidence is being provided by the prosecution to prove the whole range of circumstances which may compel the court to come to the conclusion that the accused had only committed the alleged offence, the court having no hesitation to hold That the Trial Court and the High Court have committed a gross error of law in convicting the accused for the alleged offence* on the basis of mere suspicion, conjecture and presumption" Considering thus, the bench allowed the appeal and acquitted the accused. Case Name: Satya Singh Vs. State of Uttarakhand Quorum: Justices Sanjiv Khanna and Bela M. Trivedic Case No.|Date: CRA 2374 of 2014 | 15 February 2022
Indian Evidence Act, 1872 - Section 106 - Section 106 is not intended to absolve the prosecution from discharging its duty of proving the guilt of the accused - The burden shall not be transferred to the accused by suppressing the provisions contained in section 106 in service could. Evidence Act when the prosecution could not prove the basic facts alleged against the accused. (paras 15-16)
Criminal trial - circumstantial evidence - conviction may be based solely on circumstantial evidence, but it must be tested on the test of law relating to circumstantial evidence that all circumstances lead to the conclusion that the accused is the only one who committed the offence. and none - cannot take the place of evidence, however strong the circumstances, and that the guilt of the accused has to be proved by the prosecution beyond a reasonable doubt.