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SC confirms life sentence for murder - absence of neutral witness cannot exonerate accused

The SC on April 27, 2020 {DHANPAL v. STATE NCT OF DELHI} held that to establish common intention to cause murder, overt act or possession of weapons by all the accused persons is not necessary. It was further held that in the event the nature of the assault is such that the target person is likely to die from the injuries resulting therefrom, the accused must be deemed to have known the consequences of his act.  

It was held by the SC Bench, comprising of Justice Deepak Gupta &  Justice Aniruddha Bose, that the delay in registering the FIR has been explained properly and judgment of conviction cannot fail for that reason. 

It was held by the SC that it is a fact that the eyewitnesses were known to the deceased and there was no neutral witness. It was held that for that factor alone SC cannot exonerate the appellants, particularly since the Court of first instance and the First Appellate Court have already examined the evidence and given their findings in favour of prosecution. 

In the present case, the Trial Court & High Court found the appellants guilty for offence under Sec 302/34 IPC relying on the testimonies of the three witnesses of fact. The Trial Court & High Court believed the depositions of the three eyewitnesses finding no major contradiction or discrepancy in their statements made in course of their examination. Each of the accused persons was sentenced to life imprisonment and subjected to fine of Rs.2,000/- each.The said conviction and sentence was  reaffirmed by the SC.

Accordingly, the judgment of conviction and order of sentence so far as the appellants are concerned was confirmed by the SC, and their appeal was dismissed.

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