SC: The law does not taboo adopting of the alternate pleas.

The Hon’ble Supreme Court, on 21st January 2020, in the matter of Paul v. State of Kerala observed that the fact that a false case is set up by itself may not deprive an accused of the right to establish the fact that the case against him would still be embraced within any of the exceptions under Section 300 IPC. The law does not taboo adopting of the alternate pleas.

The Hon’ble Supreme Court observed that:

Principles of law however cannot be appreciated or applied irrespective of the facts obtaining in a particular case. There can be no doubt that the burden to prove that the case is made out in a particular case is on the prosecution unless the law declares otherwise. (Para 16)

To be murder within the meaning of Section 302 undoubtedly, the offence must be culpable homicide. In order that it is culpable homicide it must fall under Section 299 of the IPC but all acts which amount to culpable homicide do not constitute murder. (Para 16)

There can be no doubt that the burden of proving that the case fall within the four corners of any of the exceptions under Section 300 of the IPC is on the accused. It is equally true that even without adducing any defence evidence it may be possible for the accused to discharge the said burden with reference to material appearing by virtue of the prosecution evidence which includes the cross examination of prosecution witnesses. The test is one of preponderance of probability. (Para 17)

The fact that a false case is set up by itself may not deprive an accused of the right to establish the fact that the case against him would still be embraced within any of the exceptions under Section 300 IPC. The law does not taboo adopting of the alternate pleas. Ultimately, the question would fall to be decided, no doubt, on the basis of appreciation of evidence and the requirements of law flowing from the particular provision of law. The accused may also be entitled to the benefit of reasonable doubt. (Para 18)

Murder is homicide of the gravest kind. So is the punishment appropriately of the highest order. Murder requires establishment of the special mens rea while all cases of culpable homicide may not amount to murder. (Para 28)

Copy of judgement: Judgement_21-Jan-2020

-Adv. Tushar Kaushik 

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