Conviction for murder on circumstantial evidence

Facts of the case:

After death of her husband, Meena Devi was living with her children viz. Jeewan Lal (PW-1) and Rekha Devi (PW-2) along with the accused Raj Kumar in the joint family. In their evidence, PW-1 and PW-2 clearly stated that on 23.08.2007, respondent came in drunkard condition and threatened to kill them. Jeewan Lal (PW-1) who is the son of deceased Meena Devi clearly stated that he had heard the cries of his mother and also seen accused taking his mother towards the house of accused Om Parkash. On 25.08.2007, body of Meena Devi was found hanging from a pine tree in the nearby forest. PW-24-Dr. Vivek Banyal who conducted the autopsy has clearly said that “anti-mortem injuries were caused due to gagging and hanging process of dead body was post-mortem”.

Evidence of the case

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Proof of recovery of contraband under NDPS Act

In a case of sudden recovery, independent witness may not be available. But if an independent witness is available, and the prosecution initially seeks to rely upon him, it cannot suddenly discard the witness because it finds him inconvenient, and place reliance upon police witnesses only. In the stringent nature of the provisions of the Act, the reverse burden of proof, the presumption of culpability under Section 35, and the presumption against the accused under Section 54, any reliance upon Section 114 of the Evidence Act in the facts of the present case, can only be at the risk of a fair trial to the accused.

The presumption against the accused of culpability under Section 35, and under Section 54 of the Act to explain possession satisfactorily, are rebuttable. It does not dispense with the obligation of the prosecution to prove the charge beyond all reasonable doubt. The presumptive provision with reverse burden of proof, does not sanction conviction on basis of preponderance of probability. Section 35 (2) provides that a fact can be said to have been proved if it is established beyond reasonable doubt and not on preponderance of probability. That the right of the accused to a fair trial could not be whittled down under the Act. Continue reading “Proof of recovery of contraband under NDPS Act”