A Division Bench of the Supreme Court comprising Justice Indira Banerjee and Justice JK Maheshwari held that the prosecution is required to prove its case beyond reasonable doubt and that the conviction cannot be based merely on basis of presumption.

Mr. H.K. Chaturvedi, Senior Advocate appeared for the appellant while Mr. Mukul Singh, Advocate appeared for the State.

In appeal, impugned before the Apex Court was the judgement of Madhya Pradesh High Court that confirmed the judgement of Add. Sessions Judge.

The charges under Section 307/34 IPC r/w Section 3/25(1B)(a) and Section 27/34 of the Arms Act were framed against both the accused. The defence of false implication was taken. Appellant took the defence that after coming back from jail he had surrendered his son in PS Sarwai and the police had prepared a false case sitting in police station implication the appellant and co-accused.

The accused were convicted for charges under 307/34 IPC r/w Section 3/25 (1B)(a) and 27 of the Arms Act and directed to undergo rigorous imprisonment for 4 years with fine of Rs. 2000/- and R.I. for two years with fine of Rs. 1000 and RI for 3 years with fine of Rs. 1000 respectively with default sentences to run concurrently.

The judgement of the Trial Court was challenged before High Court. Appellant Rajesh died and his appeal was abated while the appeal of Vasudev was dismissed.

The Court began by noting the ingredients to prove an offence under Section 307 IPC.

The Court made the following crucial observations:

"On perusal of the provisions, it is apparent that whoever does any act, with intention or knowledge, which may cause death and in furtherance to the said intention and knowledge, he was doing an act towards it. However, it is required to be seen by the evidence brought on record by the prosecution whether the ingredients to prove, the case of prosecution beyond reasonable doubt, the charge under Section 307/34 IPC have been established."

After analyzing the testimony, the Court held that it is apparent that the intention and knowledge to commit an act towards the police party has not been proved beyond reasonable doubt.

The Court noted that as per the statement of prosecution witnesses it had come on record that all proceedings including the arrest, seizure had been prepared at police station and not on the spot.

The Court noted that the defence taken appears to be plausible and creates reasonable doubt in proving the guilt by prosecution. The Court also noted that three independent witnesses in whose house incident had taken place did not support the case of the prosecution.

The Court made the following crucial observations:

"Therefore, the use of 12 bore gun which was seized from the appellant is not proved along with live and empty cartridges. As the use of the gun itself is not established by the FSL report, therefore, the conviction under Section 27 Arms Act also is not justified. Considering all these aspects, in our considered opinion, the ingredients of Section 307/34 IPC and Section 27 of the Arms Act have not been proved by the prosecution beyond reasonable doubt, proving the guilt of the accused/appellant."

The Court held that the trial court and High Court committed an error in convicting the appellant for the charge under Section 307/34 IPC read with Section 27 Arms Act. The appellant was acquitted except of the charge under Section 25(1B)(a) of the Arms Act.

The appeal was allowed in part and the appellant was directed to be released if he is not required in any other case.

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