SC: If prosecution has no answer, weakness in defence is inconsequential

The Hon’ble Supreme Court, on 6thAugust 2019,  in the matter of Anand Ramachandra Chougule v. Sidarai Laxman Chougala And Other pronounced that if there are materials which the prosecution is unable to answer, the weakness in the defence taken cannot become the strength of the prosecution to claim that in the circumstances it was not required to prove anything.

The Hon’ble Supreme Court observed that:

The burden lies on the prosecution to prove the allegations beyond all reasonable doubt. In contradistinction to the same, the accused has only to create a doubt about the prosecution case and the probability of its defence.(Para 9)

 An accused is not required to establish or prove his defence beyond all reasonable doubt, unlike the prosecution. If the accused takes a defence, which is not improbable and appears likely, there is material in support of such defence, the accused is not required to prove anything further. The benefit of doubt must follow unless the prosecution is able to prove its case beyond all reasonable doubt. (Para 9)

The fact that a defence may not have been taken by an accused under Section 313, Cr.P.C. again cannot absolve the prosecution from proving its case beyond all reasonable doubt. (Para 10)

If there are materials which the prosecution is unable to answer, the weakness in the defence taken cannot become the strength of the prosecution to claim that in the circumstances it was not required to prove anything. (Para 10)

A fair criminal trial encompasses a fair investigation at the pre-trial stage, a fair trial where the prosecution does not conceal anything from the court and discharges its obligations in accordance with law impartially to facilitate a just and proper decision by the court in the larger interest of justice concluding with a fairness in sentencing also. (Para 12)

Copy of judgement: Judgement_06-Aug-2019

-Adv. Tushar Kaushik

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