The Delhi High Court acquitted five molestation-murder convicts giving them the benefit of doubt while terming the testimony of eyewitnesses as not truthful.
The appellant had been awarded life imprisonment by the trial court in 2019.
They had challenged the trial court order of conviction and sentence. This case is connected with the molestation and murder of a woman in the Uttam Nagar area on the night of 28-29 March 2014.
The Division Bench of Justice Siddharth Mridul and Justice Anup Jairam Bhambhani allowed five criminal appeals and set aside the judgement of conviction and order of sentence passed by the trial court.
The appeals were filed by Mantoo Sharma, Beerpal, Mohd. Naseem alias Samim, Naresh alias Anna and Jaipal. The High Court has acquitted them and directed the release of the accused from custody unless required in any other case.
The bench while acquitting five appellants observed, ” On the touchstone of the cardinal principle of criminal jurisprudence that ‘contradictions’ in testimony are not acceptable, though ‘discrepancies’ may be, we are not persuaded to accept the testimony of eyewitness as being truthful.”
“The eyewitness had confessed in the court that on the date of the incident he had consumed ganja. This yet again makes us doubt the credibility of the prosecution witness as an eyewitness,” the bench observed in the judgement of May 24, 2022.
The bench also observed, “If two views are possible on the evidence adduced in a case, the view favouring the innocence of the accused should be adopted, in our opinion, in this case, there are clearly two views that are possible in light of the several material contradictions in the prosecution case. Such contradictions must ensure the benefits of the accused and we are therefore persuaded to accept the view favourable to the accused persons.”
The case pertains to the molestation and murder of a woman. The allegation was that some of the appellants made the deceased consume liquor, and subsequently molested her and then hit her on the head with a beer bottle and with pieces of brick and stone, which led to her death. The appellants were arrested pursuant to FIR. They were convicted of murder by Tees Hazari Court.
The High Court also observed in the judgement, “No beer bottle nor any shards of glass were recovered from the crime scene; nor were any traces of alcohol found in the victim’s body during post-mortem. (ANI)