Once Substratum Of Prosecution Case Is Dislodged, Acquittal Merits Status Quo For All Accused Persons: Kerala HC
The Kerala High Court invoked Section 482 of CrPC and acquitted the Petitioner, by relying on the decision of the Apex Court in the case of Sahadevan & another vs. State of Tamil Nadu [2012 (6) SCC 403], wherein it was held that, if the entire prosecution case has been found to be unreliable and the prosecution as a whole has not been able to prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt, then benefit should accrue to all the accused persons and not merely to the accused who faced trial.
Since all the accused except the petitioner and one more accused were acquitted, the Bench of Justice Kauser Edappagath observed that "Sections 143 and 147 read with 149 of the IPC cannot be invoked against the Petitioner as the substratum of the prosecution case is dislodged".
Advocate Rajit appeared for the Petitioner and Advocate Sreeja. V appeared for the Respondent.
Going by the background of the case, the accused persons (including Petitioner) had conducted a procession through the public road in front of a Fisheries School, in connection with the victory of one Nazari Moidunny of LDF, in the election. Since the first accused caused obstruction to the traffic, therefore in order to avoid further issues, the police took him into custody. Accordingly, other accused formed an unlawful assembly, assaulted those police officer and forcibly rescued the first accused from custody.
The trial court found that the accused are guilty of the offences and they were convicted and sentenced for the offences punishable under Sections 143, 147, 225B, and 353 read with Section 149 of the IPC. However, the Appellate Court found that the prosecution has failed to prove the offences against the accused and accordingly, they were acquitted. Hence, the petition was filed contending that in view of the acquittal of the remaining accused, the substratum of the prosecution case was dislodged.
After considering the submissions, the Bench found that the appellate court on evaluation of the evidence had found that the prosecution witness has admitted that he was not on law-and-order duty on the date of the incident in connection with the procession in question and hence, Section 353 is not attracted.
“The appellate court further found that, apart from PW3, there is no independent witness. The appellate court also found that there is no proper identification of the accused. When it is found that PW3 was not on duty, Section 353 of the IPC is not attracted”, added the Bench.
Therefore, relying on t Moosa v. Sub Inspector of Police [2006 (1) KLT 552] wherein it was held that in a case where the very substratum of the case is lost by the acquittal of the co-accused, the power under Section 482 of the CrPC could be invoked, the High Court concluded that the present is a fit case where the jurisdiction vested with this Court under Section 482 of CrPC could be invoked and accordingly, quashed all further proceedings against the petitioner on the files of the trial court.
Cause Title: Badusha v. State of Kerala