RAVINDER SINGH @ KAKU VS STATE OF PUNJAB

RAVINDER SINGH  @ KAKU VS STATE OF PUNJAB - Supreme Court Case Decision 2022


Landmark Cases of India / सुप्रीम कोर्ट के ऐतिहासिक फैसले


REPORTABLE
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION
CRIMINAL APPEAL NO.1307 OF 2019
[ARISING OUT OF SPECIAL LEAVE PETITION [CRL] NO.9431 OF 2011]
RAVINDER SINGH  @ KAKU                …..APPELLANT
VERSUS
STATE OF PUNJAB          ……RESPONDENT
WITH
 CRIMINAL APPEAL NOs. 1308­1311 OF 2019 
(ARISING OUT OF SPECIAL LEAVE PETITION [CRL] NOs.9631­9634 OF 2012)
J U D G M E N T
VINEET SARAN, J.
1. These appeals arise out of the judgment dated 22.02.2011
passed by the High Court of Punjab & Haryana in a case in
which  two  children  namely;  Aman  Kumar and   Om,  aged
about 10 years and 6 years respectively were kidnapped and
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murdered.   There were three accused namely; Anita @ Arti
(mother of the children) (A­1); Ravinder Singh @ Kaku (A­2)
and Ranjit Kumar Gupta (A­3).  The Trial Court convicted all
the   three   accused   and   sentenced   them   to   death   for   the
offence punishable under Section 302 read with 120B IPC
and   rigorous   imprisonment   for   10   years   and   fine   of
Rs.5000/­each for the offence punishable under Section 364
IPC.
2. Being   aggrieved   by   the   Trial   Court   order,   the   present
appellant filed a criminal appeal before the High Court of
Punjab   and   Haryana,   which   got   tagged   along   with   the
criminal appeals filed by the other co­accused persons. 
3. The High Court, vide judgment dated 22.02.2011, acquitted
Anita @Arti (A­1) and Ranjit Kumar Gupta (A­3) and partly
allowed the appeal filed by Ravinder Singh @ Kaku (A­2) and
while   setting­aside   the   death   penalty,   sentenced   him   to
undergo rigorous imprisonment for 20 years under Section
302 IPC. 
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4. The   facts   leading   to   the   present   case   are   dealt   with   in
paragraphs 2,3 and 4 of the judgment dated 25.05.2010 of
the Trial Court, which are reproduced below:
“2.   Tersely   put,   on   24.09.2009,   complainant
Rakesh Kumar son of  Khushal Chand, resident
of Nanak Nagri, Moga moved application to the
Station House Officer (SHO), Police Station City1.   Moga   regarding   missing   of   his   two   sons
namely Aman Kumar and Om, aged about 10
years and 6 years respectively.  He submitted in
the application that on 24.09.2009, both of his
sons had gone for tuition as usual near their
house.  Usually, they used to return from tuition
at about 6 p.m. But on that day, they did not
return to their house till 9 p.m.  He (complainant)
along with his neighbours searched for them.  It
is further submitted that two days prior to the
occurrence, his wife had a dispute with Ranjit
Kumar Gupta (Accused) and his wife Sanju. And
Sanju threatened the complainant and his wife
to take care of their children and, therefore, they
had   suspicion   that   their   children   might   have
been abducted by Ranjit Kumar Gupta and his
wife Sanju.  On the basis of such application of
the complainant, report No. 23 dated 24.09.2009
was made in the Roznamcha.  The matter was
entrusted   to   S.I.   Subhash   Chander   for
investigation and on the basis of his report, F.I.R
under   Sections   364/506/120­B   IPC   was
registered against Ranjit Kumar Gupta and his
wife Sanju.
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3. On 25.09.2009, in the morning, dead bodies
of both the children were found from the paddy
field   of   Bhagwan   Singh   son   of   Piara   Singh,
resident of Purana Moga, which were handed
over   to   their   relatives   for   getting   the   autopsy
conducted   from   Civil   Hospital,   Moga.   And
Section   302   IPC   was   added.     During
investigation,   on   the   basis   of   statements   of
Krishan Lal, son of Shiv Lal Bansal, resident of
Nanak Nagri, Moga and Amarjit Singh, son of Jai
Singh, resident of Mehme Wala, Moga, Ravinder
Singh   alias   Kaku   and   Anita   alias   Arti   also
nominated   as   accused.     The   accused   were
arrested   on   27.09.2009.     However,   during
investigation,   accused   Sanju   was   found
innocent.     After   completion   of   entire
investigation, accused Anita alias Arti, Ravinder
Singh alias Kaku and Ranjit Kumar Gupta were
challaned   to   face   trial   in   this   case   under
Sections 302/364/506 read with Section 120­B
IPC.   And   Sanju,   wife   of   Ranjit   Kumar   Gupta
(accused) was placed in column No.2 of report
under Section 173 Cr.P.C.
4. On commitment of the case to this Court,
charge under Sections 302/364/120­B IPC was
framed   against   accused   Anita   alias   Arti,
Ravinder Singh  alias  Kaku  and  Ranjit  Kumar
Gupta,   to   which   they   pleaded   not   guilty   and
claimed trial”.
5. The High Court opined that the prosecution had established
the motive of the offence committed by A2, which was his
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determination   to   eliminate   the   school   going   children   of
Rakesh Kumar (PW5) and A1 because he was madly in love
with A1. The High Court further held that the prosecution’s
attempt   to   rope   in   A1   in   the   crime   of   murder   was   not
successful   as   their   only   witness   against   A1   i.e.   PW10
[Krishan Lal, who accompanied PW5 while searching for the
deceased kids] turned hostile. However, against A2 and A3, it
was held that the prosecution has partially established the
last seen theory through the testimonies of PW6 and PW7.
The High Court further rejected the evidence of PW13 which
was in the nature of extra judicial confession of A2 and A3.
6. As far as A2 i.e. the present appellant is concerned, the High
Court, while upholding his conviction held that:
“As regards the second accused, it is evident that
PW12   who   raided   his   house,   arrested   him   on
27.09.2009   and   recovered   the   mobile   phone
bearing sim card No. 9781956918. A school bag
and   a   rope   also   were   recovered   from   the   field
based on the disclosure statement given by him.
DW1 had been fielded by A2 to bat his cause. In
the face of the credible evidence as to the arrest of
A2 by PW12 on 27.09.2009 during the raid of his
house, the evidence of DW1 does not seem to be
trustworthy. The arrest of second accused and the
recovery   effected   based   on   his   disclosure
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statement lend corroboration to the case of the
prosecution as against the second accused.
.
.
At the initial stage the first accused Anita was not
at all suspected. Later on she was arrested from
her house on 27.09.2009 and from her custody
the   mobile   phone   bearing   sim   cards   No.
9592851851   and   9914505216   were   recovered.
The   recovery   of   those   mobile   phones   and   the
relevant   call   details   Ex.D41   to   Ex.D44   would
support the case of the prosecution that A2 had a
close intimacy with A1 which culminated in the
unfortunate occurrence.
.
.
As far as the second accused is concerned, the
motive part of the case has been established by
the prosecution. Through the first limb of the last
seen   theory   as   regards   the   second   accused
projected   through   PW10   Krishan   Lal   by   the
prosecution failed, the prosecution could establish
the second limb of the last seen theory through
PW6 Amarjit Singh and PW7 Gurnaib Singh. His
arrest and recovery of the material objects also
would   support   the   case   of   the   prosecution   as
against   him.   The   failure   to   establish   the   extra
judicial confession alleged to have been given by
the second accused to PW13 Goverdhan Lal does
not affect the case of the prosecution as against
him. It is to be noted that arrest of A2 and the
recovery of material objects from his person and
also at his instance were established.
.
.
6
A2 is convicted only based on the circumstantial
evidence   produced   by   the   prosecution.   The
infatuation   he   had   with   A1   had   completely
blinded his sense of proportion and ultimately he
had committed the cruel murder of the children of
PW5 Rakesh Kumar. The murder of the children
as such had not been committed in a diabolic or
monstrous manner. Both the children had been
strangulated to death by A2. A2 was just 25/26
years   old   at   the   time   when   he   committed   the
crime.   The   crime   was   committed   propelled   by
sexual   urge   at   the   young   age   on   account   of
infatuation   towards   a   women.   Reformation   is
possible during the long years of his imprisonment
in jail. Further, if the second accused having spent
his prime time in jail comes out after 20 years, he
may not be a menace to the society.”
7. Challenging his conviction and sentence of 20 years, the
present appellant Ravinder Kumar @ Kaku filed Criminal
Appeal No. 1307 of 2019 @ SLP (Crl.) 9431 of 2011, which
shall be treated by us as the lead appeal/petition.
8. The case of the prosecution herein has remained that the
Trial Court and the High Court have rightly convicted A2
since the prosecution could successfully establish that there
was a motive for the murder. It is contented that the call
details produced relating to the phone used by A1 and A2
have established that they shared an intimate relationship,
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which became the root cause of offence committed herein. It
is further submitted that the last seen theory, the arrest of
the accused, the recovery of material objects and the call
details produced, would conclusively establish the guilt of
the accused persons in conspiring the murder of the children
of PW5.
9. We have heard learned counsel for the parties at length and
have perused the record.
10. The   conviction   of   A2   is   based   only   upon   circumstantial
evidence.   Hence,   in   order   to   sustain   a   conviction,   it   is
imperative   that   the   chain   of   circumstances   is   complete,
cogent and coherent. This court has consistently held in a
long line of cases [See Hukam Singh v. State of Rajasthan AIR
(1977 SC 1063); Eradu and Ors. v. State of Hyderabad (AIR
1956  SC  316); Earabhadrappa    @ Krishnappa  v. State  of
Karnataka (AIR 1983 SC 446); State of U.P. v. Sukhbasi and
Ors. (AIR 1985 SC 1224); Balwinder Singh @ Dalbir Singh v.
State of Punjab (AIR 1987 SC 350); Ashok Kumar Chatterjee
v. State of M.P. (AIR 1989 SC 1890)] that where a case rests
squarely on circumstantial evidence, the inference of guilt
8
can be justified only when all the incriminating facts and
circumstances   are   found   to   be   incompatible   with   the
innocence of the accused. The circumstances from which an
inference as to the guilt of the accused is drawn have to be
proved beyond reasonable doubt and have to be shown to be
closely   connected   with   the   principal   fact   sought   to   be
inferred from those circumstances. In Bhagat Ram v. State of
Punjab (AIR 1954 SC 621), it was laid down that where the
case   depends   upon   the   conclusion   drawn   from
circumstances, the cumulative effect of the circumstances
must be such as to negate the innocence of the accused and
bring the offence home beyond any reasonable doubt. We
may also make a reference to a decision of this Court in C.
Chenga Reddy and Ors. v. State of A.P. (1996) 10 SCC 193,
wherein it has been observed that:
“In a case based on circumstantial evidence, the
settled law is that the circumstances from which
the conclusion of guilt is drawn  should be fully
proved   and   such   circumstances   must   be
conclusive   in   nature.  Moreover,   all   the
circumstances  should   be   complete   and   there
should be no gap left in the chain of evidence.
Further   the   proved   circumstances  must   be
consistent only with the hypothesis of the guilt of
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the   accused   and   totally   inconsistent   with   his
innocence....”.
[Emphasis supplied]
11. Upon thorough application of the above settled law on the
facts of the present case, we hold that the circumstantial
evidence   against   the   present   appellant   i.e.   A2   does   not
conclusively   establish   the   guilt   of   A2   in   committing   the
murder of the deceased children. The last seen theory, the
arrest of the accused, the recovery of material objects and
the call details produced, do not conclusively complete the
chain   of   evidence   and   do   not   establish   the   fact   that   A2
committed the murder of the children of PW5. Additionally,
the   argument   of   the   Respondent   that   the   call   details
produced relating to the phone used by A1 and A2 have
established that they shared an intimate relationship and
that this relationship became the root cause of offence is also
unworthy of acceptance. 
12. The High Court fell in grave error when it fallaciously drew
dubious inferences from the details of the call records of A1
and A2 that were produced before them. The High Court
inferred from the call details of A2 and A1 that they shared
an   abnormally   close   intimate   relation.   The   court   further
10
inferred from this, that unless they had been madly in love
with each other, such chatting for hours would not have
taken place. The High Court eventually observed that:
“We have to infer that the unusual attraction of A2
towards A1 had completely blinded his senses,
which   ultimately   caused   the   death   of   minor
children. It is quite probable that A2 would have
through that the minor children had been a hurdle
for his close proximity with A1”
  [Emphasis supplied]
The above inferences were drawn by the High Court through
erroneous extrapolation of the facts, and in our considered
opinion, such conjectures could not have been the ground
for conviction of A2. Moreover, the High Court itself observed
that “there is no direct evidence to establish that A1 and A2
had   developed   illicit   intimacy”   and   in   spite   of   this
observation, the court erroneously inferred that the murder
was caused as an outcome of this alleged illicit intimacy
between A1 and A2.
13. When   a   conviction   is   based   solely   on   circumstantial
evidence,   such   evidence   and   the   chain   of   circumstances
must be conclusive enough to sustain a conviction. In the
present   case,   the   learned   counsel   of   the   appellant   has
11
argued that conviction of A2 could not just be upheld solely
on the ground that the prosecution has established a motive
via the call records. However, we hold that not only is such
conviction   not   possible   on   the   present   scattered   and
incoherent pieces of evidence, but that the prosecution has
not   even   established   the   motive   of   the   crime   beyond
reasonable doubt. In the present case, the fact that A1 and
A2   talked   on   call,   only   proves   that   they   shared   a   close
relationship. However, what these records do not prove, is
that the murder was somehow in furtherance of this alleged
proximity between A1 and A2. The High Court’s inference in
this regard was a mere dubious conclusion that was drawn
in absence of any cogent or concrete evidence. The High
Court itself based its inferences on mere probability when it
held that “It is quite probable that A2 would have through
that   the   minor   children   had   been   a   hurdle   for   his   close
proximity with A1”. Moreover, the prosecution has also failed
to   establish   by   evidence   the   supposed   objective   of   these
murders and what was it that was sought to be achieved by
such an act. The court observed that the act of A2 was
inspired by the desire to “exclusively possess” A1. However,
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it   seems   improbable   that   A2   would   murder   the   minor
children of PW5 and A1 to increase or protect his intimacy to
A1 rather than eliminate the husband of A1 himself. Hence,
the inference drawn by the High Court from the information
of call details presented before them suffers from infirmity
and cannot be upheld, especially in light of the fact that
there   is   admittedly   no   direct   evidence   to   establish   such
alleged intimacy and that the entire conviction of A2 is based
on   mere   circumstantial   evidence.   We   cannot   uphold   a
conviction which is based upon a probability of infatuation of
A2, which in turn is based on an alleged intimacy between
him and A1, which has admittedly not been established by
any direct evidence.
14. In the context of the Prosecution’s Last Seen Theory, it is
imperative to examine the evidence of PW6 and PW7, since
the prosecution claims to have established the theory against
A2 on the testimonies of these two witnesses. In essence, the
prosecution tried to establish the first limb of its Last Seen
Theory against A1 through PW10, claiming that A2 and A3
used to visit the house of A1 and hence all three colluded to
commit the murder of the minor children. However, the High
13
Court rightly rejected this limb of the theory and held that
since the entire attempt to rope A1 in as an accused was
based on the testimony of PW10 and he himself had turned
hostile and had come up with a self­contradictory version of
his testimony, no portion of his evidence could be relied
upon.
15. However, where the High Court has erred is that it held that
the second limb of the prosecution’s Last Seen Theory stands
duly established against A2 and A3 through the evidence of
PW6 and PW7. PW6 (Amarjit Singh) is the farm servant of
PW7 (Gurnaib Singh) who claims to have seen A2 and A3
along with the deceased children of PW5. PW6 deposed that
though   he   was   present   when   the   police   was   conducting
inquest on the dead bodies, he chose not to disclose the fact
of the presence of A2 and A3 to the police. Rather, PW6
shared  this  information  with  PW7 and  thereafter both  of
them proceeded to inform the police about the presence of
A2   and   A3.   However,   the   High   Court   erred   in   not
appreciating   the   numerous   contradictions   and
inconsistencies that the evidence of PW6 and PW7 entail.
These   contradictions   and   inconsistencies   assume   capital
14
important in light of the fact that the entire conviction of A2
is based merely on circumstantial evidence, and they also
render the evidence non­conclusive to establish the guilt of
A2.
16. In   the   context   of   the   abovementioned   contradictions   and
inconsistencies,   the   following   must   be   noted:  Firstly,  W6
deposed   that   when   he   saw  A2  in   the   field   with   the   two
children, he went ahead and made inquiries from him, to
which A2 responded that his associate has gone to answer
the call of nature. PW6 gives no reason in his deposition as
to why he went ahead and asked such questions from A2.
The need and rational of such line of inquiry is missing from
his   testimony   and   the   same   appears   to   be   cooked   up.
Secondly,  PW6 did not immediately disclose the fact to the
police that he had earlier seen A2 and A3 with the deceased
children. More importantly, the story of the prosecution is
that   the   accused   were   arrested   on   27.09.2009.   However,
PW6   said   in   his   testimony   said   that   “the   accused   were
present in the CIA staff when I visited there on 25.09.2009”.
When the prosecution itself says that the police arrested the
accused on 27.09.2009, it is not understood that how could
15
they   have   been   present   in   the   CIA   staff   on   25.09.2009.
Moreover, PW7 in his testimony stated that when he reached
the CIA Staff, A2 and A1 were not present there and he did
not ask the police if the accused persons were arrested. Such
material contradictions regarding the arrest of the accused
persons make it difficult to believe the evidence of PA6 and
PW7. Thirdly, PW6 explicitly stated that he and PW7 came to
condole the death of the kids to PW5 and that PW5 and PW7
had previous relations with each other. On the contrary,
PW7   in   his   testimony   explicitly   states   that   he   had   no
acquaintance with the complainant (PW5) and that he and
PW6 did not go to condole the death of the kids of PW5.
Lastly,  the testimonies of PW6 and PW7 also differ on the
question of when did they reach the police station to report.
PW7 deposed that he and PW6 reached the CIA Staff at 6 PM
and remained there only for 2 hours i.e. they left by 8 PM.
However,   contradicting   this,   PW6   clearly   states   that   he
reached the CIA Staff along with PW7 at 9 PM.
17. In   a   case   where   the   conviction   is   solely   based   on
circumstantial   evidence,   such   inconsistencies   in   the
testimonies of the important witnesses cannot be ignored to
16
uphold the conviction of A2, especially in light of the fact
that the High Court has already erred in extrapolating the
facts to infer a dubious conclusion regarding the existence of
a motive that is rooted in conjectures and probabilities. 
18. With respect to the extra judicial confessions, suffice it to say
that the attempt of the respondent herein to rely on that is
untenable   since   the   High   Court   has   taken   note   of   the
inconsistences in the evidence of PW13 Goverdhan Lal and
has rightly rejected his evidence “in toto”. We uphold the
judgement of the High Court to the extent that it rejects the
testimony of PW13 and finds the theory of extra judicial
confession of A2 and A3 to be unnatural.
19. The last piece of evidence against A2 remains the alleged
recovery of the school bag at the instance of the disclosure
statement   given   by   A2.   However,   similar   to   the   other
evidence   against   A2,   this   also   suffers   from   the   same
inconsistencies and incoherence that makes it difficult for
the such evidence to support the conviction of A2. In this
context, it is imperative to understand that there were two
bags involved in the entire offence, which belonged to the two
deceased children. The learned counsel for the respondent
17
has contended that the recovery of one of such bags was at
the instance of the disclosure statement given by A2. The
High Court also has supported its conviction of A2 on this
piece of evidence. However, where the High Court has erred
is that it analysed this evidence in isolation with the other
testimonies. However, when the claim of the prosecution is
examined in the entire context of the other testimonies and
evidence, it  becomes apparent  that  even  this  evidence  of
Recovery is not free from contradictions and inconsistencies.
For instance, PW6 categorically mentions in his deposition
that he observed “two bags” near the dead bodies of the
children when he arrived the next day at the place of the
unfortunate incident. He further said that he saw those two
bags in court also. This contradiction is also supported by
the Testimony of PW5 i.e. father of the deceased children
himself,  who   explicitly   states  that  “The   belongings   of   the
children i.e. clothes, bags and chapels were recovered from
the spot.”  He further went on to testify in great detail that
“The bags contained exercise books, books, geometry box etc.
I bought the bags from the market. I identified both the bags
and belongings on 30.09.2009 in the police station”. Hence, it
18
is not understood that when both the bags were recovered
beside the dead bodies itself on the day of the inquest by
police, then how could a bag be recovered at the instance of
the   disclosure   statement   of   A2.   Moreover,   to   add   to   the
inconsistency, PW9 in his testimony states that “when I had
gone to my field, I found dead bodies of two children in my
field.   Nothing   else   was   lying   by   their   side.”  Although  the
prosecutions maintains that the second bag was recovered at
the instance of A2, the statement of the Investigating Officer
(PW12) itself contradicts the stand of the prosecution. PW12
stated in his testimony that “one school bag of Aman Kumar
deceased containing books and geometry box etc. was lifted
from the spot.”. As for the second bag, PW12 deposed that
“Thereafter   on   29.09.2009,   accused   Ranjit   Kumar[A3]
suffered disclosure statement that one school bag was kept
concealed by him in the fields of paddy along with the rope
which only he knew and he could get the same recovered.”
These contradictions and inconsistencies in the testimonies
of   PW6,   PW5,   PW9   and   PW12   make   the   story   of   the
prosecution weak and non­conclusive to hold and establish
19
the guilt of A2, especially in light of the fact that there is
virtually no direct evidence to link A2 to the commission of
the offence.
20. Lastly,   this   appeal   also   raised   an   important   substantive
question of law that whether the call records produced by
the prosecution would be admissible under section 65A and
65B   of   the   Indian   Evidence   Act,   given   the   fact   that   the
requirement of certification of electronic evidence has not
been   complied   with   as   contemplated   under   the   Act.   The
uncertainty of whether  Anvar P.V. vs P.K. Basheer & Ors
[ (2014) 10 SCC 473] occupies the filed in this area of law or
whether  Shafhi   Mohammad   v.   State   of   Himachal   Pradesh
(2018) 2 SCC 801  lays down the correct law in this regard
has   now   been   conclusively   settled   by   this   court   by   a
judgement dated 14/07/2020 in Arjun Panditrao Khotkar
vs   Kailash   Kushanrao   Gorantyal   [   (2020)   7   SCC   1]
wherein the court has held that:
“We may reiterate, therefore, that the certificate
required   under   Section   65B(4)   is   a   condition
precedent to the admissibility of evidence by way
of electronic record, as correctly held in Anvar P.V.
(supra),   and   incorrectly   “clarified”   in   Shafhi
20
Mohammed (supra). Oral evidence in the place
of such certificate cannot possibly suffice as
Section 65B(4) is a mandatory requirement of
the law. Indeed, the hallowed principle in Taylor
v.   Taylor   (1876)   1   Ch.D   426,   which   has   been
followed   in   a   number   of   the   judgments   of   this
Court, can also be applied. Section 65B(4) of the
Evidence   Act   clearly   states   that   secondary
evidence is admissible only if lead in the manner
stated   and   not   otherwise.   To   hold   otherwise
would render Section 65B(4) otiose.
.
.
Anvar P.V. (supra), as clarified by us hereinabove,
is the law declared by this Court on Section 65B
of   the   Evidence   Act.   The   judgment   in   Tomaso
Bruno (supra), being per incuriam, does not lay
down the law correctly. Also, the judgment in SLP
(Crl.)   No.   9431   of   2011   reported   as   Shafhi
Mohammad   (supra)   and   the   judgment   dated
03.04.2018 reported as (2018) 5 SCC 311, do not
lay   down   the   law   correctly   and   are   therefore
overruled.
.
.
The   clarification   referred   to   above   is   that   the
required   certificate   under   Section   65B(4)   is
unnecessary   if   the   original   document   itself   is
produced. This can be done by the owner of a
laptop computer, computer tablet or even a mobile
phone,   by   stepping   into   the   witness   box   and
proving that the concerned device, on which the
original   information   is   first   stored,   is   owned
and/or   operated   by   him.  In   cases   where   the
“computer”   happens   to   be   a   part   of   a
21
“computer   system”   or   “computer   network”
and it becomes impossible to physically bring
such   system   or  network   to   the   Court,   then
the   only   means   of   providing   information
contained in such electronic record can be in
accordance   with   Section   65B(1),   together
with   the   requisite   certificate  under   Section
65B(4).”
21. In light of the above, the electronic evidence produced before
the High Court should have been in accordance with the
statute   and   should   have   complied   with   the   certification
requirement, for it to be admissible in the court of law. As
rightly   stated   above,   Oral   evidence   in   the   place   of   such
certificate,   as   is   the   case   in   the   present   matter,   cannot
possibly   suffice   as   Section   65B(4)   is   a   mandatory
requirement of the law.
22. To conclude, the tripod stand of Motive, Last Seen Theory
and Recovery, that supported the conviction of A2 according
to the High Court, is found to be non­conclusive and the
evidence   supporting   the   conviction   of   A2   is   marred   with
inconsistencies   and   contradictions,   thereby   making   it
impossible   to   sustain   a   conviction   solely   on   such
circumstantial evidence.
22
23. Accordingly, the appeal filed by the appellant Ravinder Singh
(A2) i.e. Criminal Appeal No.1307 of 2019 is allowed and the
impugned order of the High Court is set aside to the extent
that it convicts A2 under section 302 and 364 of the Indian
Penal   Code.   Hence,   the   conviction   of   A2   is   set   aside.
However, the acquittal of A1 and A3 by the impugned order
is   upheld.   Accordingly,   the   appeals   filed   by   the
Respondent/State against the impugned order challenging
the acquittal of A1 and A3  i.e. Criminal Appeal Nos. 1308­
1311 of 2019 are dismissed. Therefore, we direct that a copy
of this order be communicated to the relevant jail authorities
and the appellant i.e. Ravinder Singh (A2) be immediately set
at liberty, unless his detention is required in any other case.
No order as to costs. 
       …………………………..J
                                                    (UDAY UMESH LALIT)
                              
                                                                   
.……………………..J
                (VINEET SARAN)
New Delhi
Dated: MAY 4, 2022
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