SC: Grave suspicion cannot take the place of proof.

On 16th April 2019, in the matter of Bal Mukund Sharma @ Balmukund Chaudhry Etc., Etc. v. The State of Bihar, the Hon’ble Supreme Court pronounced that the evidence on record may create grave suspicion in the mind of the Court, however, such grave suspicion cannot take the place of proof. It is for the prosecution to prove its case beyond reasonable doubt.

The Hon’ble Supreme Court observed that:

To determine whether an accused, being a member of an unlawful assembly, is liable for a given offence, it needs to be seen whether such act was committed in prosecution of the common object of the assembly, and alternatively whether the members of the assembly knew that the offence was likely to be committed in prosecution of such common object. This, in turn, has to be determined from the facts and circumstances of each case. (Para 8)

The evidence on record may create grave suspicion in the mind of the Court about the complicity of the other accused also, with the help of Section 149, IPC, however, such grave suspicion cannot take the place of proof. It is for the prosecution to prove its case beyond reasonable doubt. Even if the evidence on record creates suspicion in the mind of the Court, though grave, the same would not be sufficient to conclude that the other accused are liable to be convicted for the offence under Section 302 along with the accused, with the help of Section 149, IPC. (Para 8)

Copy of judgement: Judgement_16-Apr-2019

-Tushar Kaushik

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