Appellate court can review acquittal: Supreme Court

November 13th, 2008 - 6:34 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Nov 13 (IANS) The Supreme Court has said that though the appellate court generally does not intervene with an acquittal order in a criminal case, there was no bar on a high court on reviewing evidence.The bench of Justice Arijit Pasayat and Justice C.K. Thakker said in a judgement last week that normally the appellate court does not interfere with the acquittal order because such an order strengthens the presumption that an accused is innocent till he is found guilty.

The judgement written by Justice Pasayat said grounds of “substantial reasons” were the underlying principle for the appellate court to re-appreciate the evidence and intervene with the acquittal order of the trial court.

The bench said the appellate court could re-examine the evidence if it felt that “admissible evidence” had been ignored.

The bench dismissed an appeal by the Haryana government against the judgement of a single judge of the Punjab and Haryana High Court acquitting Krishan convicted under section 304 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), relating to culpable homicide not amounting to murder.

The Bhiwani sessions judge had convicted Krishan and sentenced him to 10 years’ rigorous imprisonment.

The Supreme Court bench said that the trial court verdict could be reviewed only if the judgement under challenge was clearly “unreasonable and irrelevant and convincing material has been unjustifiably eliminated”.

“The golden thread which runs through the web of administration of justice in criminal cases is that if two views are possible on the evidence adduced in the case, one pointing to the guilt of the accused and other to his innocence, the view that is favourable to the accused should be adopted,” the bench said.

“The paramount consideration of the court is to ensure that miscarriage of justice is prevented. A miscarriage of justice which may arise from the acquittal of the guilty is no less than from the conviction of an innocent,” noted the judgement.

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