The Allahabad High Court upheld the acquittal of an accused in 1984 Attempt to Murder case on account that the possibility of retrial after a long gap of 36 years since the occurrence of the incident is bleak.

The Lucknow Bench was dealing with a Government Appeal preferred by the Uttar Pradesh State against the judgment of the Additional Session Judge in a case under Section 307 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) by which the Trial Court acquitted the accused.

A Division Bench comprising Justice Sangeeta Chandra and Justice Ajai Kumar Srivastava-I observed, “This incident took place in the year 1984 and the respondents were acquitted thereafter on 11.03.1987. Thereafter this appeal was filed in the year 1987 and record was called for but record could not be made available to this Court. Efforts were made to get the record reconstructed, however, the same remained unsuccessful. About 36 years have passed since acquittal under challenge. It is a long gap. Since no paper relating to this case is available except the impugned judgement, therefore possibility of retrial at this stage, after a long gap of about 36 years since the occurrence of the incident appears to be bleak.”

AGA Meera Tripathi represented the appellant while Advocate Pawan Kumar Tiwari represented the respondents.

Facts of the Case -

In 1984, the informant was going home from office when he found 10 persons who were ex-employees of a company staging a Dharna at the gate of the factory after being dismissed. All the ex-employees, including the accused persons (respondents)assaulted the informant with a Danda and he sustained injuries on his left hand, right leg, and forehead. Based on a written report, an FIR under Sections 147, 148, 149, and 302 was registered against the accused.

Various opportunities were afforded to the prosecution to adduce evidence is support of its case but it failed to adduce the sane and consequently, the Trial Court closed the opportunity of adducing evidence. It acquitted the respondents as there was no evidence against them. Hence, the State was before the High Court challenging the judgment of the Trial Court.

The High Court after hearing the contentions of the counsel said, “Adverting to the case in hand, we are constrained to observe that the circumstances, which led the trial Court to close the opportunity of prosecution to adduce the evidence leading to the acquittal of the respondents herein cannot be adjudicating by this Court for want of record of trial Court. Even reconstruction of record of Session Trial No.472 of 1984 is not possible, which is reflected from the report of then District Judge, Lucknow and the officer-in-charge of record room, District Court Lucknow.”

The Court further referred to the judgment of the Supreme Court in the case of Chandrappa and others v. State of Karnataka, (2007) 4 SCC 415 in which it was held that an appellate court must bear in mind that in case of acquittal, there is double presumption in favour of the accused.

“Firstly, the presumption of innocence is available to him under the fundamental principle of criminal jurisprudence that every person shall be presumed to be innocent unless he is proved guilty by a competent court of law. Secondly, the accused having secured his acquittal, the presumption of his innocence is further reinforced, reaffirmed and strengthened by the trial court. It also held that if two reasonable conclusions are possible on the basis of the evidence on record, the appellate court should not disturb the finding of acquittal recorded by the trial court”, it added.

Accordingly, the Court dismissed the appeal and acquitted the accused.

Cause Title- State of U.P. v. Hirdai Narain And Others (Neutral Citation: 2024:AHC-LKO:34405-DB)


Appellant: AGA Meera Tripathi

Respondents: Advocates Pawan Kumar Tripathi and Pranjal Krishna.

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