Review of Death Penalty XXXI

High Court of Judicature at Allahabad, Bench at Lucknow confirmed Death Sentence. He shall be set at liberty forthwith.

The case on hand is one of circumstantial evidence as there was no eye witness. That we have ruled out circumstances relating to i) making of an extra-judicial confession and ii) discovery of the weapon of offence – snaps the chain of circumstantial evidence badly.

To consider any other circumstance, like ‘motive’, would not be necessary. Shankarlal Gyarasilal Dixit v. State of Maharashtra, (1981) 2 SCC 35 cautioned, “human nature is too willing, when faced with brutal crimes, to spin stories out of strong suspicions.” Court has held time and again, between ‘may be true’ and ‘must be true’ there is a long distance to travel which must be covered by clear, cogent and unimpeachable evidence. One could say, ‘motive’ in present facts and circumstances creates a strong suspicion. But suspicion, howsoever strong, cannot be a substitute for proof of guilt beyond reasonable doubt.

Hon’ble Justice J.B. Pardiwala, Ramanand v. State of Uttar Pradesh, [Criminal Appeal Nos. 64-65 of 2022].

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Also see, Hon’ble Justice J.B. Pardiwala, Subramanya v. State of Karnataka, [Criminal Appeal No. 242 of 2022] and Hon’ble Justice Dinesh Maheshwari, Md. Anowar Hussain v. State of Assam, [Criminal Appeal No. 414 of 2019], both decided on 13.10.2022, on circumstantial evidence.