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Criminal Lawyer: The SC grants clean acquittal to one of the accused in offence of murder - inconsistent testimonies of witnesses and perfunctory examination of accused u/s 313 Cr.P.C.

Supreme Court of India

Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Justice K. M. Joseph

The SC { SAMSUL HAQUE v. THE STATE OF ASSAM} holds that in criminal trial under Sec 313 Cr.P.C. the incriminating material is to be put to the accused so that the accused gets a fair chance to defend himself. This is in recognition of the principles of audi alteram partem

It was further held that the fall out of the omission to put to the accused a question on a vital circumstance appearing against him in the prosecution evidence, and the requirement that the accused’s attention should be drawn to every inculpatory material so as to enable him to explain it. It was held ordinarily, in such a situation, such material as not put to the accused must be eschewed. It was further held that no doubt, it is recognised, that where there is a perfunctory examination under Section 313 of the Cr.P.C., the matter is capable of being remitted to the trial court, with the direction to retry from the stage at which the prosecution was closed.

However, in the present case, such course was not adopted by the SC as it was held that the inconsistencies in the testimonies also create a doubt in the case of the prosecution qua any role of accused No.9 in the offence for murder. It was held that the aforesaid being the factual matrix, the appellate court could hardly have overturned the acquittal of the trial court into one of conviction, therefore, the judgment of the HC was set aside. And the appellant stands acquitted by the SC in the present case, inter alia, under Sec 302 IPC - which is clean acquittal of accused no. 9. 

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