Conviction on the basis of ‘last seen together theory’ should also be accompanied with the completion of chain of circumstances by prosecution
Criminal Appeal No. 462 of 2016
Bench: Justice Jagdish Singh Khehar; Justice C. Nagappan
Case Brief: In the present case of criminal appeal, the bench has already allowed the special leave petition. In the story of the case, the appellant here, was second accused in the case before Trial Court, which has acquitted the First accused, and convicted this appellant. Both the accused persons were tried before the Trial Court for the offences punishable under section 302 read with section 34 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860. The appellant herein was convicted and sentenced to undergo imprisonment for life and to pay a fine of Rs. 500 and also in default to undergo rigorous imprisonment for five months for the offence punishable under section 302 of the Code. Moreover, he was also punished under section 201 of the Code and sentenced to undergo two years rigorous imprisonment and to pay fine of Rs. 100 in default to undergo rigorous imprisonment for one month, to run concurrently. When this appellant preferred appeal before High Court, the said Court dismissed the same as such present appeal is preferred.
The very basic ground on which the present appellant was convicted by both the lower courts was that he found by these court ‘last seen’ and the said ‘last seen evidence’, was the only base on which the said appellant was convicted. The main issue before this bench is also the said ‘last seen evidence’s correctness which challenged herein. Moreover, the bench decided firstly to observe that the conviction cannot be recorded, against the accused merely on the basis that the accused was last seen with the deceased, as it is a trite law. Moreover, the bench also seen the importance of the time, while considering the theory of ‘last seen’. The said time gap, which is starting from when the accused and the deceased were seen last alive to the point of time when the deceased is found dead, should be small to attract the possibility of any person other than the accused being the perpetrator of the crime. However, for recording the conviction on the said basis of last seen theory, the prosecution also required to complete the chain of circumstances. As such, the bench also observed that the High court failed to appreciate the said fact. Thus, the bench found satisfied with the contentions of appellant, that his conviction cannot be sustained in law and liable to be set aside. As such, his appeal was allowed and the impugned judgements were set aside.
Read the Judgement: Rambraksh @ Jalim Vs. State of Chhattisgarh