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Mental condition or state of mind of accused is one of the factors that can be taken into account in

Manoj Suryavansh Versus State of Chhattisgarh, Criminal Appeal No Of 2020 Arising out of SLP (Crl.) No. 8682 of 2014.

“It is a case of circumstantial evidence and therefore before convicting the accused on the basis of circumstantial evidence, the prosecution has to prove beyond doubt and complete the chain of events which lead to the conclusion that it is the accused alone who has committed the offence.”

The bench encompassing Justice Uday Umesh Lalit, Justice Indira Banerjee and Justice M. R. Shah collectively pronounced the judgment on remission of death sentence. Learned counsel appearing on behalf of the appellant-original accused has vehemently submitted that in the facts and circumstances of the case both, the learned Trial Court and the High Court have committed grave error in holding the appellant-­original accused guilty for the offences punishable under Section 302 and Section 364 IPC. It is further submitted on behalf of the   appellant-original accused that both the Courts below ought to have appreciated that there was no eye­witness to the incident and the whole conviction was based on the circumstantial evidence. It is submitted that, in a case of circumstantial evidence, unless the entire chain of events is complete, which leads to the only conclusion that it is the accused only who has committed the offence, a person cannot be convicted. It is submitted that in the present case the prosecution has failed to form a complete chain of circumstances and the instance which leads exclusively to the conclusion that the appellant only was guilty of committing the offence.

It is vehemently submitted by the learned counsel appearing on behalf of the respondent­-State   that in the facts and circumstances of the case both, the learned Trial Court and the High   Court   have rightly convicted the accused for the offence punishable under Section 302 IPC for having killed the three minor children of the complainant and both the Courts below have rightly awarded the death sentence. The impugned judgment and order passed by the High Court is well­-reasoned and has been passed after hearing the parties and considering the entire facts and circumstances and therefore the same is not required to be interfered with by this Court in exercise of powers under Article 136 of the Constitution of India.  It is further submitted by the learned counsel appearing on behalf of the respondent­-State that though the present case  is based on circumstantial evidence, however, the prosecution has been successful in completing the chain of events which lead to the only conclusion that it is the accused alone who had killed the three innocent children.

Having heard the learned counsel appearing for the respective parties at length the court has also gone through and considered in detail the Judgment and order passed by the learned Trial Court as well as the impugned judgment and order passed by the High Court convicting and accused for the offences punishable under Sections 302 and 364 IPC. The court has also gone through and considered in detail the evidence on record ­ both oral and documentary.

The appellant-­accused has been held guilty for having committed the murder/killing of three minor children aged about 8 years, 6 years and 4 years, respectively and has been convicted by both the Courts below for the offences punishable under Sections 302 and 364 IPC.   The learned Trial Court, after having held the appellant­-accused guilty for the aforesaid offences, has imposed the death sentence, which has been confirmed by the High Court by the impugned judgment and order.

We are conscious of the fact that it is a case of circumstantial evidence and therefore before convicting the accused on the basis of circumstantial evidence, the prosecution has to prove beyond doubt and complete the chain of events which lead to the conclusion that it is the accused alone who has committed the offence.  Therefore, in the facts and circumstances of the case, it is required to be considered   whether   the   prosecution   has   been   successful   in establishing   the   complete   chain   of   events   which   lead   to   the conclusion   that   it   is   the   appellant-­accused   alone   who   has committed the offence.

“The Judgment and Order passed by the learned Trial Court and confirmed by the High Court convicting the accused for the offences punishable under Sections 302   and 364 IPC is hereby confirmed. However, the death sentence imposed by the learned Trial Court, confirmed by the High  Court, is converted  into the life   imprisonment. It is further observed and directed that the life means till the end of the life with the further observation and direction that there shall not be any remission till the accused completes 25 years of imprisonment.”

– Karthik K.P

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