Ram Sunder Sen’s 12 year-old daughter was raped and murdered. One Narendra was arrested. Trial Court awarded Capital Punishment. Narendra filed an appeal before Madhya Pradesh High Court. HC allowed the appeal on the ground, prosecution failed to prove the chain of circumstances sufficient enough to connect Narendra with the alleged offence. Ram Sunder petitioned SC.
“It is settled law that when prosecution relies on circumstantial evidence, the following tests are to be clearly established:
(i) The circumstances from which an inference of guilt is sought to be drawn, must be cogent and firm;
(ii) Those circumstances should be of a definite tendency unerringly pointing towards guilt of the accused;
(iii) The circumstances taken cumulatively should form a chain so complete that there is no escape from the conclusion that within all human probability the crime was committed by the accused and none else; and
(iv) The circumstantial evidence in order to sustain conviction must be complete and incapable of explanation of any other hypothesis than that of the guilt of the accused and such evidence should not only be consistent with the guilt of the accused but should be inconsistent with his innocence.”
The appeal was dismissed [Ram Sunder Sen v. Narender, 2015 (10) SCALE 710 decided on 15.10.2015].
Interestingly, Narendra’s motive was stated to be “to satisfy his lust.” For proving that motive, “prosecution had argued, although the accused was married and had children, but his wife was living at her parent’s house.” SC noted, “it is not adequately established as to for how long the wife of the accused was not living with him.”
Narendra had “injuries on his private part” – but of course – “that, in medical opinion, could be a result of sexual intercourse with his wife. The accused was a married man having children and it was not established that his wife was living away from him.”
“There was serious lacunae in the investigating procedure”. It is admitted. But what happens to Ram Sunder Sen? Nobody seems interested.