The Supreme Court has observed that lower Courts should consider the defence of an accused person with caution and further noted that the acceptance or rejection of such defence should not be done in a cursory manner.

"…it is the solemn duty of the courts below to consider the defence of the accused. The same must be considered with caution and must be scrutinised by application of mind by the judge. The Court may accept or reject the same, however it cannot be done cursorily.", the Bench of Chief Justice NV Ramana, Justice Krishna Murari and Justice Hima Kohli observed.

In this case, the accused was convicted by the Trial Court for attempt to Murder. As per the case of the prosecution the accused person along with a co-accused had fired at the complainant with a pistol. The complainant escaped injury while the accused persons fled from the spot. The complainant's mother was allegedly present in the house at the time of the incident.

The Madhya Pradesh High Court confirmed the conviction and sentence of the accused.

Feeling aggrieved the accused approached Supreme Court.

Advocate Vikas Upadhyay appeared for the accused-appellant whereas State was represented by Advocate Pashupathi Nath Razdan.

The Court noted that the only evidence available to prove the presence of the accused at the scene, apart from the testimony of the complainant himself, was that of, his mother.

The Court observed thus "It seems highly improbable that the mother of the complainant, PW3 instantly recognized the appellant­accused at night. No effort has been made to conduct an identification test, to associate the accused-appellant with the alleged incident. After closely scrutinizing the statement of PW3, mother of the complainant, we must state that the same does not inspire confidence."

The Court also noted that no pellet, empty cartridge, or any remains of the gunpowder was recovered from the spot.

The Court also made another important observation that the accused while being examined had stated that he had gone to his village on the date of the incident. Further to support his case, he had produced two defence witnesses who had corroborated his presence in the village. Furthermore, the accused had claimed to be falsely implicated in the case owing to political rivalry.

The Court observed that the Trial Court and the High Court had failed to consider and examine the defence of the accused.

"In the present case, the courts below failed to scrutinize the defence version put forward by the appellant­accused in his Section 313 statement.", the bench noted.

The Court further noted that "The purpose of Section 313 CrPC is to provide the accused a reasonable opportunity to explain the adverse circumstances which have emerged against him during the course of trial. A reasonable opportunity entails putting all the adverse evidences in the form of questions so as to give an opportunity to the accused to articulate his defence and give his explanation."

The Court held that Non-­fulfilment of the true spirit of Section 313 can ultimately cause grave prejudice to the accused.

The Court noted that the lower courts had failed to consider the defence of the accused and observed that the evidence of the accused was dealt by the Court in a casual manner.

The Court held that "The evidence brought on record by the prosecution is insufficient to prove the case against the appellant beyond reasonable doubt."

Accordingly, the conviction and sentence passed against the accused was set aside by the Court.

Cause Title- Jai Prakash Tiwari v. State Of Madhya Pradesh

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