Rajendra Pralhadrao Wasnik vs State of Maharashtra - Supreme Court Important Judgment

 Rajendra Pralhadrao Wasnik vs State of Maharashtra - Supreme Court Important Judgment 2018 - 

On 12th December, 2018, in the case of Rajendra Pralhadrao Wasnik v. State of Maharashtra [Review Petition (Criminal) Nos. 306-307 of 2013 in Criminal Appeal Nos. 145-146 of 2011], wherein the appellant had been convicted and sentenced to death by the Courts below for the rape and murder of a 3 year old girl, the effect of DNA evidence being not placed before the trial court nor being taken into consideration was one of the prominent issues that came to be examined by the Supreme Court.

 In the case at hand, samples had been taken from the body of the accusedappellant and sent for DNA profiling, however, the results was not produced before the trial court. On consideration of the matter, a three Judge Bench of the Supreme Court held that there was “absolutely no explanation for this and in the absence of any justification for not producing the DNA evidence”, “it would be dangerous, on the facts of this case, to uphold the sentence of death on the appellant.”

 The Bench observed that “for the prosecution to decline to produce DNA evidence would be a little unfortunate particularly when the facility of DNA profiling is available in the country” and “the prosecution would be well advised to take advantage of this, particularly in view of the provisions of Section 53-A and Section 164-A of the Cr.P.C.” The Bench did not go “to the extent of suggesting that if there is no DNA profiling, the prosecution case cannot be proved but” it was “certainly of the view that where DNA profiling has not been done or it is held back from the Trial Court, an adverse consequence would follow for the prosecution.”

 However, the Bench also observed that it “cannot overlook subsequent developments with regard to the two (actually three) similar cases against the appellant.” On facts, the Bench was of opinion “that it would be more appropriate looking to the crimes committed by the appellant and the material on record including his overall personality and subsequent events, to commute the sentence of death awarded to the appellant but” it was further directed that “he should not be released from custody for the rest of his normal life.” 


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