It is not permissible to interfere with the finding of acquittal unless it is found that view taken by the court is perverse, the Supreme Court has said while upholding the acquittal of a man who was accused of killing his wife and setting her on fire.
The Supreme Court dismissed the appeal filed by the state of Rajasthan against the September 2009 judgement of the high court which had acquitted the accused while reversing the trial court order convicting him in the case.
“The scope of interference in an appeal against acquittal is very limited. Unless it is found that the view taken by the court is impossible or perverse, it is not permissible to interfere with the finding of acquittal,” a bench of Justices BR Gavai and PS Narasimha said in its recent judgement.
The top court observed that equally if two views are possible, it is not permissible to set aside an order of acquittal, merely because the appellate court finds the way of conviction to be more probable.
“The interference would be warranted only if the view taken is not possible at all,” it said.
According to the prosecution, the Jodhpur-based accused had killed his wife and set her on fire in order to destroy evidence.
He was charged with the alleged offences of murder and causing disappearance of evidence under the Indian Penal Code.
The trial court had in January 1986 convicted him for the offences of murder and causing disappearance of evidence and sentenced him to undergo life imprisonment.
The accused had filed an appeal in the high court challenging the trial court’s verdict.
The high court acquitted him in the case after which the state had moved the top court.
During the arguments before the top court, the counsel appearing for the state had argued that the extra-judicial confession made by the accused before one of the witnesses of the case would inspire confidence and the judgement passed by the high court needs to be set aside.
The bench noted that the high court, while relying on two judgements delivered earlier by the Supreme Court, had held that extra-judicial confession was a weak piece of evidence and conviction solely on its basis could not be sustained unless there was some corroboration.
“The view taken by the high court cannot be said to be either impossible or perverse meriting our interference,” the Supreme Court said.
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