The Bombay High Court recently expressed its concern over the Judges recording evidences without being conscious of their responsibilities and had requested Joint Director, Maharashtra Judicial Academy, Uttan to take necessary action, to sensitise and to apprise the newly appointed Judges in district judiciary about their responsibilities particularly when they were dealing with the cases involving technical subjects.

The Bench of Justice S.M. Modak observed that the matter was not dealt with properly by the concerned stake holders and said that "Neither the APP In-charge of the case was instrumental nor the witness Nos. 2 and 3 have given proper evidence. On the basis of available reports, they ought to have explained during their evidence. Ultimately, it is a technical subject and they are the experts in that field. Even, learned Judge was seized of the matter has simply recorded the evidence without being conscious of his responsibilities."

“...they should not act as a silent spectator. But, if any technical subject is there, on their own, they can put certain questions to the witnesses by giving a right of cross-examination to the defence” said the Court.

In this case, the Respondent was accused of tampering with three electricity meters through which there was supply to the respondent’s shop and residence. A complaint was lodged for offences punishable under Sections 39 and 44 of the Indian Electricity Act, 1910 and Section 379 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860.

The Trial Court had acquitted the respondent on the grounds that the meters were inspected in a routine course by the Meter Reader but the respondent was never informed about the tampering, that the officers placed no torque test reports on record, that they failed to explain the meaning of technical words R-Phase, Y-Phase and B-Phase and, that the officers also failed to explain as to how the figure of Rs.2,43,944/-, the alleged amount of theft of electricity, was arrived at.

APP Sharmila S. Kaushik appeared for the State and Advocate Arjun Kadam appeared for the Respondent.

The Court said that conducting the torque test in such situation was very important and though it was stated by the witness that the torque test was carried out, but nothing was mentioned about the same in the FIR.

The Court also noted that there were three inspection reports but there were no comments on these reports. And that, these reports were not at all considered by the Trial Court. Had these reports being considered there would have been no lacunas in prosecution case.

Therefore, the Court observed that the conclusion drawn by the learned Magistrate could not be faulted with as certain lacunas in prosecution case were rightly pointed out.

Accordingly, the appeal was dismissed.

Cause Title- The State of Maharashtra v. Indrakumar Ghisulal Solanki

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