SC:Tests w.r.t recovery when charges include offences other than theft also

The Hon’ble Supreme Court of India, on 29th May 2020, in the matter of Sonu @ Sunil v. State of Madhya Pradesh held that where theft and other offence form part of one transaction it is not safe to draw the inference that the person in possession of the stolen property was the person who committed the other offence.

The Hon’ble Supreme Court observed that:

(Para 28) In the case of recovery of an article from an accused person when he stands accused of committing offences other than theft also, what are the tests:

  1. The first thing to be established is that the theft and other offence form part of one transaction. The circumstances may indicate that the theft and other offence must have been committed at the same time. But it is not safe to draw the inference that the person in possession of the stolen property was the person who committed the other offence;
  2. The nature of the stolen article;
  3. The manner of its acquisition by the owner;
  4. The nature of evidence about its identification;
  5. The manner in which it was dealt with by the accused;
  6. The place and the circumstances of its recovery;
  7. The length of the intervening period;
  8. Ability or otherwise of the accused to explain its possession

As far as Section 34 of IPC is concerned, it proclaims the principle of vicarious criminal liability. The soul of the Section, and the principle which underlies criminal liability for the acts of another therein, is the shared intention or the common intention to commit an offence. The common intention must be for the very offence which the accused is charged with. (Para 30)

Copy of judgement: Judgement_29-May-2020

-Adv. Tushar Kaushik

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