Criminal Law

Principle of transparency in criminal law

The agencies investigating crimes need to provide all the documents and materials seized during the investigation to the accused.

Importance of properly questioning the accused

This summary discusses the significance of correctly questioning the accused during criminal trials. It references various court decisions to emphasize the duty of the trial court to present each material circumstance to the accused and allow them an opportunity to explain. Failure to adhere to this requirement may result in a serious irregularity and potentially vitiate the trial. However, if the irregularity does not prejudice the accused or cause a failure of justice, it can be considered a curable defect.

Key Points:

  1. The trial court must present each material circumstance individually to the accused.
  2. The purpose of examining the accused under Section 313 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) is to enable them to explain any incriminating evidence.
  3. If material circumstances are not put forth to the accused, they should be excluded from consideration.
  4. Failure to present material circumstances to the accused can be a serious irregularity that vitiates the trial if it prejudiced the accused.
  5. Appellate courts can question the accused on material circumstances not presented during the trial.
  6. In case of an irregularity, the trial can be remanded to the stage of recording a supplementary statement under Section 313 of the CrPC.
  7. The delay in raising an objection regarding the omission is one factor among several to consider when determining if prejudice has occurred.

Properly questioning the accused is essential in criminal proceedings. The court must present each material circumstance individually, allowing the accused an opportunity to explain. Failure to comply with this requirement can be a serious irregularity that may prejudice the accused and potentially vitiate the trial.

Confessional statement regarding body of the deceased

Title: Criminal Appeal No. 1439 of 2009: Boby vs. State of Kerala

In Criminal Appeal No. 1439 of 2009, Boby challenged the judgment and order passed by the High Court of Kerala at Ernakulam, which upheld the conviction and sentence passed by the trial court, but acquitted accused No. 2. The Supreme Court of India set aside the judgment and acquitted Boby of all charges charged with, as there was no confessional statement of Boby recorded with regard to the recovery of the dead body of the deceased. The Court reiterated that the two essential requirements for the application of Section 27 of the Evidence Act are that the person giving information must be an accused of any offense and must also be in police custody.

Keywords: Criminal Appeal No. 1439 of 2009, Boby, State of Kerala, Supreme Court of India, High Court of Kerala, conviction, sentence, trial court, confessional statement, Evidence Act.

decided on 12th. Jan, 2023

An act of madness as a defence for the offense of murder

Section 300-Indian Penal Code-Murder

This is a criminal appeal case presented before the Supreme Court of India. The appellant, Prakash Nayi @ Sen, has pleaded temporary insanity in the murder case of Laertes’ father. He seeks reversal of his conviction order by the Division Bench of the High Court of Bombay at Goa, on the grounds of Section 84 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860. The court recognizes the agony of a man who justifies his act of madness through the words of Shakespeare’s play, Hamlet. The report also highlights the mental illness of schizophrenia and its impact on an individual’s behavior. The prosecution accuses the appellant of committing the murder without any provocation or premeditation. The incident took place in May 2004, and the appellant was seen by an eyewitness, PW2. The appellant neither fled from the scene nor made any attempts to conceal the evidence.

“For the aforesaid reasons, we are unable to give our imprimatur to the
conviction rendered against the appellant as he is certainly entitled to the
benefit conferred under Section 84 of the IPC.

The order dated 25.07.2006 of the trial court of conviction and sentence of
the appellant punishable under Section 302 of the IPC and the judgment and
order dated 02.06.2008 of the High Court affirming the same are set aside.”

Convicting for murder on the basis of extra judicial confession

The utility of an extra judicial confession as evidence in a murder trial is weak if there is no corroboration.

Criminal Appeal No. 2230 of 2010 in the Supreme Court of India involved the conviction of an accused for murder based on an extra-judicial confession.

The evidentiary value of such a confession is generally weak, but it can sustain a conviction if it is voluntary and truthful. The reliability of the confession is also important, and it is expected to be made to someone in whom the confessor has implicit faith.

“The prosecution’s case about extra­judicial confession does not inspire confidence at all. Moreover, there are no other circumstances brought on record which could support or corroborate the prosecution case. Therefore, in our considered view, the evidence in form of the extra­judicial confession of the appellant deserves to be discarded. Admittedly, there is no other evidence against the appellant. Therefore, the conviction of the appellant cannot be sustained.”

Pawan Kumar Chourasia …..Appellant
State of Bihar …..Respondent
decided by the Supreme Court on 14.03.2023

Adoption of the view favouring the accused

The cardinal principle in the administration of criminal justice in cases where heavy
reliance is placed on circumstantial evidence, is that where two views are possible, one pointing to the guilt of the accused and the other towards his innocence, the one which is favourable to the accused must be adopted. [Kali Ram v. State of H.P. (1973) 2 SCC 808].

Quashing of FIR for the offense of using threats for procuring false evidence

In a recent judgement, the Supreme Court discussed the ingredients of the offense of using threats to procure false evidence and quashed the FIR which did not indicate the ingredients of the offense.

The Supreme Court of India examined the applicability of Section 195A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) in a case involving threats to withdraw a complaint or settle a dispute. The court emphasized the necessity of meeting the essential elements of the offense under this section and discussed related legal concepts.

Section 195A of the IPC deals with threats or inducement to procure false evidence. It allows a witness or any individual to file a complaint if they receive threats intended to compel them to provide false testimony in court proceedings.

Legal Analysis: The court noted that for Section 195A to apply, the threats must be aimed at making the person offer false evidence before the court. The complainant needs to lodge the complaint before the court where the evidence is being recorded.

Extortion and Consent: The judgment also delved into the legal aspects of extortion as per Section 386 of the IPC. Extortion involves inducing someone to deliver property or valuable security through fear of injury. Consent plays a crucial role here, as the property transfer must occur due to the victim’s fear of harm.

Quashing Criteria: The court referred to established legal principles for quashing FIRs, including the case of Bhajan Lal. Parameters were outlined, including situations where the allegations are absurd, inherently improbable, or filed with malicious intent.

Importance of Careful Examination: The court stressed the importance of scrutinizing cases involving malicious intent, such as personal vengeance. It emphasized that while assessing the FIR, courts should consider not only the averments but also the overall circumstances and materials collected during the investigation.

Conclusion: In this judgment, the Supreme Court examined the requirements of Section 195A of the IPC and discussed the significance of consent in cases of extortion. The court also highlighted the need for a comprehensive review of cases involving malicious intent. As a result of this analysis, the court quashed the FIR under Section 195A in question, emphasizing that its observations pertain exclusively to the specific case at hand.

decided by the Supreme Court on August 8, 202