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Criminal Lawyer: The accused were acquitted from conviction under murder due to absence of charge; SC.

Supreme Court of India

Justice Hemant Gupta and Justice L. Nageswara Rao

The SC { SMT. CHINTAMBARAMMA & ANR. v. STATE OF KARNATAKA } while setting aside the conviction of the appellants for murder, holds that the conviction of the appellants is probably on the basis of the lack of explanation of the injuries suffered on the person of the deceased. It was held, however, from the statement of Saroja (PW-20) it could be seen that there were five persons who were performing Puja and two of them were Swamis, therefore, it could not be said that the appellants were alone with the deceased. Thus, the appellants cannot be held guilty for the offence punishable under Section 302 read with Section 34 IPC. It was held the chain of circumstances has not been completed so as to lead only one conclusion that the appellants and the appellants alone were responsible for committing the crime. 

It was held by the SC that Charge No. 3 against the appellants was that accused Nos. 4 and 5 have conspired with the appellants by receiving money. However, both the Courts have found the charge of conspiracy as not proved. The SC therefore examined the question, whether, in these circumstances, the appellants could be convicted for an offence under Section 302 IPC even without there being charge to this effect?

Answering the said question, it was held that since the prosecution story proceeded on the basis that the role of the appellants is that of conspirators but having failed to prove the charge of conspiracy, the appellants could not be convicted for the offence under Section 302 IPC, as no charge regarding that was framed against the appellants separately. It was further held that such conviction has caused not only prejudice but also failure of justice, therefore, conviction cannot be sustained, and was set aside by the SC.

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