Guesses & Conjectures II

There can be no conviction on the basis of surmises and conjectures or suspicion howsoever grave it may be. Strong suspicion, strong coincidences and grave doubt cannot take the place of legal proof. The onus of the prosecution cannot be discharged by referring to very strong suspicion and existence of highly suspicious factors to inculpate the accused nor falsity of defence could take the place of proof which the prosecution has to establish in order to succeed, though a false plea by the defence at best, be considered as an additional circumstance, if other circumstances unfailingly point to the guilt. In cases depending highly upon the circumstantial evidence, there is always a danger that the conjecture or suspicion may take the place of legal proof. Court has to be watchful and ensure that the conjecture and suspicion do not take the place of legal proof. There is a long distance between ‘may be true’ and ‘must be true’ and the prosecution has to travel all the way to prove its case beyond reasonable doubt. Sujit Biswas, (2013) 12 SCC 406 examined the distinction between ‘proof beyond reasonable doubt’ and ‘suspicion’.

Hon’ble Justice S. Abdul Nazeer, Digamber v. State of Chhattisgarh, [Criminal Appeal Nos. 428-430 of 2019].