Landmark Cases of India / सुप्रीम कोर्ट के ऐतिहासिक फैसले

1. The appellants were convicted under Sections 302 of the Indian Penal
Code, 1860 (hereinafter “IPC”) and sentenced to life imprisonment as well as 7
years under Section 364, IPC and imprisonment for 5 years under Section 201,
IPC. Their conviction and sentence was upheld by the Uttarakhand High Court.1
2. Haseen, aged about 7 years, was the son of Bisarat, (PW-1), a resident of
village Akbarpur. He went missing on 08.10.1999. On 10.10.1999, at about
1 By judgment and order dated 05.10.2012 in Crl. No. 358/2004
16:30, the dead body of Haseen was found in the sugarcane field of Yaqub in
Village Narayanpur, situated at a distance from Akbarpur, Haseen’s village.
Information was sent to the Police Station Manglor. Inquest proceedings were
held by ASI Dalchand, PW-6. The post-mortem was conducted on 11.10.1999
by Dr. A.K. Jain (PW-9). According to his statement, death had occurred about
two days before the post-mortem examination.
3. PW-1, Bisarat moved an application under Section 156(3) Code of
Criminal Procedure (hereinafter “Cr. PC”) on 19.11.1999. Based on the order of
the magistrate concerned, the first information report (FIR) was recorded on
21.11.1999. In the FIR, the informant alleged that his son Haseen was missing
since 3 PM on 08.10.1999 and that despite search, he could not be found. He
went to PS Manglor on 10.10.1999 on the day dead Haseen’s body was found.
He also narrated about the post-mortem examination on 11.10.1999. PW-1
stated that he was busy in making inquiries. He was told by Sayeed Ahmad
(PW-3) and Murad Ali (PW-2) that they had seen A-3 Husn Jahan taking
deceased boy Haseen into her house on 08.10.1999 at about 3.30 PM. Suleman
(PW-4) told him that on 09.10.1999 at about 6 AM he had seen Haseen standing
along with A-1 Jabir and A-2 Jakir on the road near Yaqub’s sugarcane filed. He
(PW-1) immediately went to PS Manglor to lodge the report on the morning of
12.10.1999, but his report was not recorded. He then met S.P., Haridwar on the
same day, but police did not interrogate him or his witnesses nor take any action
against the accused persons. Based on these allegations, the police investigated
the incident, and during the course of those proceedings, arrested the accusedappellants.
4. After investigations were completed, the police, in their final report,
alleged that the appellants were guilty of the offences. Charges were framed
against them, by the court. The prosecution, to establish its allegations, relied on
the testimony of 12 witnesses. The defence did not examine any witness. Based
on the materials placed before it, the trial court convicted the appellants, who
then appealed to the High Court. The impugned judgment affirmed the trial
court’s findings.
Appellants’ contentions
5. It is argued, on behalf of the appellants, that the conviction and sentence
imposed in this case, is unsustainable. It was argued that no reason was given
why the FIR was lodged almost five weeks after the deceased boy went missing
and after his body was found on 10.10.1999. The complainant stated that on
12.10.1999, he was told by the witnesses that on 8.10.1999, the third appellant,
A-3 Husn Jahan, was seen taking the child inside her house, and on 9.10.1999 at
6 AM, the child was seen along with accused Jabir and Jakir. The application
under section 156(3) Cr. P.C. was moved on 19.11.1999, i.e., after more than
one month. In the mean-time no application was sent to any officer. There is no
explanation for a delay of more than a month.
6. It was urged that there is discrepancy in the testimonies of various
witnesses, particularly that of PW-1 (father of the deceased) and the others,
particularly PW-4 and PW-5, as to whether the suspicion of the accused’s
involvement was, in fact, reported within a couple of days after the boy’s body
was found. Counsel especially highlighted that the police witnesses did not
support the version of PW-1 that he had voiced suspicions contemporaneously.
Further, it was submitted that the testimonies of witnesses were that the
accused’s role was not known to PW-1 and others on 10.10.1999, but this was
not reflected in the inquest report.
7. Learned counsel submitted that the prosecution witnesses are
untrustworthy since they appear to have been added as after thoughts. It was
submitted that the appellants’ consistent case was that they were named much
after the incident, on account of enmity with the deceased father’s family. It was
pointed out that in the testimony of the first IO, (PW-8) that PW-2 did not
mention about the role and involvement of A-3 and that she was with the
deceased on 8th October, 1999. Further, that witness (PW-8) also testified that
the villagers had initially suspected Saleem and Mansoor, and not the present
8. Learned counsel highlighted that P-4 and PW-5 are wholly unreliable
witnesses. In fact, the police statement of PW-4 was recorded much after the
incident in December, 1999. This witness, as indeed PW-5, were introduced to
somehow implicate the first two appellants (A-1 and A-2) since there was no
other witness who supported the prosecution with respect to their alleged
involvement or presence. The idea of introducing them was to link them with
the deceased. It was submitted that PW-4’s testimony was unreliable, because
he recorded his police statement after two months, and as per his admission,
though he had seen the deceased in the first two appellants’ company and
informed PW-1 about this as early as on 12.10.1999. Likewise, PW-5 deposed
having informed PW-1 on 12.10.1999 about witnessing the boy in the company
of the first two appellants on (09.10.1999). No explanation was given by the
prosecution why he was examined so late. Furthermore, the deceased’s father,
PW-1, did not mention having been told about the involvement of the first two
appellants by PW-5 in his written complaint.
9. It is argued that the “last seen” theory is, on the face of it, an afterthought and concocted in as much as PW7 Mansab stated before the court that
PW2 Murad Ali, Sayeed Ahmad PW3, and PW4 Suleman, who all were closely
related to the deceased child, were present at the time of inquest proceedings
held on 10.10.1999, yet they for the reasons best known to them kept silent for 2
days and for the first time informed Bisarat PW1, only on 12.10.1999. Yet, that
witness PW-1 did not mention these facts in his written version.
10. It was contended that all prosecution witnesses were of the same family,
as complainant Bisarat PW1 is the nephew of Murad Ali PW2; Sayeed Ahmad
(PW-3) is son of Sharif, PW-1’s cousin, and PW4 Suleman as well as PW5
Munfaid too belonged to PW-1’s family. It was urged that there was reason for
the witnesses to cook up a false story against the appellants because in the year
1996, Munfaid, father of the appellants had lodged an FIR against Murad Ali
(PW-2), Phurkan and Shamshad under Section 307, 452, 504, 506 IPC and they
were prosecuted. This clearly established their motive to falsely implicate the
11. Counsel highlighted that according to Mansab’s (PW-7) deposition (who
was a witness to establish the Inquest Report) Munfaid, Sayeed, and Murad Ali
were also present at the time of inquest. It is unimaginable that had they seen
the deceased in the company of accused persons, they would not disclose the
same even after seeing the dead body of their kith and kin. This incongruity
went to the root of their credibility, falsifying the prosecution version.
12. Learned counsel relied on Hanumant vs. The State of Madhya Pradesh,2
Sharad Birdhi Chand Sarda vs. State of Maharashtra,3
and Tanviben
Pankajkumar Divetia vs. State of Gujarat4
 to contend that in circumstantial
evidence-based cases, each incriminating circumstance must be clearly
established by reliable and clinching evidence and the circumstances proved
must form a chain of events from which the irresistible conclusion of the
accused’s guilt can be safely drawn; no other hypothesis is possible. It was
2 1952 (1) SCR 1091
3 1985 (1) SCR 88
4 1997 (7) SCC 156
submitted that this court has cautioned that in a case depending upon
circumstantial evidence, there is a danger that conjecture or suspicion may take
the place of legal proof. The Court must satisfy itself that various circumstances
in the chain of events have been established clearly, and such a completed chain
of events must be such as to rule out a reasonable likelihood of the innocence of
the accused. It has also been indicated that when the important link goes, the
chain of circumstances gets snapped, and the other circumstances cannot, in any
manner, establish the guilt of the accused beyond all reasonable doubts. Counsel
also stated that this court has to be watchful and avoid the danger of allowing
the suspicion to take the place of legal proof for sometimes, unconsciously it
may happen to be a short step between moral certainty and legal proof. It has
been indicated by this court that there is a long mental distance between “may
be true” and “must be true” and the same divides conjectures from sure
conclusions. It was contended that in the present case, the prosecution was
unable to prove beyond reasonable doubt, every circumstance, and the courts
below erred in treating suspicion as proof, leading to the appellants’ conviction.
State/Prosecution’s contentions
13. Learned counsel appearing on behalf of the state argued that this court
should not disturb the concurrent findings of the trial court and the High Court.
He first dealt with the issue of delayed lodging of the FIR and relied on the trial
court’s reasoning, as well as the testimony of PW-1. He argued that when the
deceased went missing, there was nothing unnatural on the part of PW-1, his
father, in not reporting the absence immediately and instead searching for him.
It was only when he was informed that the dead body was found, that he
approached the police; the post mortem corroborated that the boy died due to
shock on account of injuries caused due to violence and injuries caused on his
person. Learned counsel submitted that all the eyewitnesses who deposed to
having seen A-1 to A-3, clearly stated that they had seen the boy in the company
of the said appellants. Therefore, the last seen theory was correctly applied.
Furthermore, PW-1 in fact, sought to complain to the police, but without avail.
Eventually, he approached the magistrate under Section 156 (3) Cr. PC, which
was allowed.
14. It was also submitted that the cumulative effect of the depositions of PW4 and PW-5 was that the deceased boy was seen last, in the company of the first
two accused, early morning near the place where his body was discovered
subsequently. Given that the report of this was made immediately after
discovery of the body, on 10.10.1999, the informant could not be faulted for not
taking prompt action. The inquest, which was held the next day, also concluded
that death occurred under suspicious circumstances, having regard to the nature
of injuries on the deceased’s body.
15. It was submitted that the trial court and the High Court both correctly
inferred that the informant’s complaint was not entertained by the police, and he
could not become a victim of that inaction. Investigations that took place after
21.11.1999, no doubt resulted in statements of some witnesses, but the
investigation was not conducted satisfactorily. Therefore, it was directed to be
taken over by PW-12, after which it was conducted properly and a charge sheet
accusing all the appellants was filed. Counsel for the state relied on the
testimonies of PWs 2 and 3 to contend that they had deposed convincingly that
the third appellant was last seen holding the deceased boy’s hands on 8.10.1999.
PWs 4 and 5 deposed to having seen the deceased boy the next day, early
morning, in the company of the first two appellants. These facts, conclusively
established the appellants’ guilt.
Analysis and Findings
16. As may be gathered from the previous discussion, that the concurrent
conviction of the appellants rests entirely on the “last seen” theory, upheld by
the courts below. The deceased- it has been held, was seen by PW-2 and PW-3
with the third appellant, Husn Jahan, on the afternoon of 8th October, 1999; she
was holding his hand. The boy went missing; his father, PW-1, and other family
members searched for him. No report was lodged at that time, and the search
continued. The boy’s body was discovered, partly buried, on 10th October, in an
open agricultural field, in another village (Narayanpur). Post mortem was
conducted the next day, i.e., on 11th October, 1999; the inquest proceedings too
were held that day. PW-1 stated that he attempted to lodge an FIR on 12th
October, 1999, against the present appellants, but without success. The FIR was
eventually lodged, pursuant to an order under Section 156 (3) Cr. PC. upon an
application dated 19.11.1999. Investigations were conducted by PW-8 and, later,
from 2.12.1999, by PW-12. The appellants were arrested and charged for the
offences, and later convicted.
17. The testimonies of PW-2 and PW-3 were relied upon to prove that Husn
Jahan, the third appellant and sister of the first two appellants, was seen in the
company of the deceased on 8th October, 1999 at 3:30 p.m. PW-2 claims to have
informed this to PW-1 on 10-10-1999 at 12:00 p.m., before the deceased’s body
was found (i.e., at 01:00 p.m.). On the other hand, PW-3, who claimed to have
witnessed Husn Jahan holding the deceased’s hand on 8.10.1999, informed PW1 about noticing this on 12.10.1999, (since he had gone to visit his son to
Bijnor, during the intervening period). The other circumstance is that the boy
was seen last, in the company of the first two appellants, by PWs-4 and 5.
18. For the moment, if the delay in recording the FIR (which is 42 days) is
ignored, the salient fact which stares at one’s face is that the conviction is solely
based on the testimonies of these two sets of witnesses. PW-4 Sulaiman deposed
to having seen the deceased with the said appellants, early morning on
09.10.1999. He claims to having informed the boy’s father, PW-1 about this
fact, after discovery of the body, on 12.10.1999. PW-5’s deposition seeks to
corroborate that of PW-4. This witness also claimed to having seen the boy on
the morning of 09.10.1999. However, intriguingly, despite noticing him in the
company of two accused and despite having heard a cry from the boy, this
witness did not look back. In terms of his admission, PW-5 is a cousin of PW-1.
Therefore, his behavior in not interceding upon seeing the boy in the company
of the accused, early morning, away from his house – given that the boy was
only 7 years, is unnatural. It is also unnatural that since the prosecution- and
PW-1’s allegation is that the accused had a previous enmity with him, PW-5, a
close relative, was neither surprised nor did anything to intervene when he saw
the boy in the company of the first two appellants. Another important aspect is
that the police statement of PW-5 was recorded more than two months after the
start of investigation; even the application under Section 156 (3) Cr. PC does
not mention that he had witnessed the boy with the accused despite the
witness’s statement that he informed PW-1, the boy’s father on 12.10.1999
about what he saw on 9.10.1999.
19. PW-4 Sulaiman deposed that his house was 8-10 paces to the north of
Bisarat’s house, and that he was in his house the whole of the night of 8th
October, 1999. He also deposed to going out in the morning of 09-10-1999 to
answer the call of nature, at around 6 AM when he noticed that the deceased
was with Jakir and Jabir, the first two appellants. In cross examination, he
admitted to not going out of his house on 9th October, 1999. He also deposed to
having not been in the village when the boy’s body was found. Interestingly, in
his cross examination, he stated that:
“I did not show the place to the IO at which the accused Jabir and Jakir
were standing with Haseen, on the other hand I told to the IO that the
accused were standing in the field of Yaqoob with Haseen. The accused
Jabir and Jakir were standing in the northern side of the field of the field
of Yaqoob.”
This statement renders PW-4’s testimony unreliable, because Yaqoob’s field was
located at Narayanpur. PW-4 was a resident of Akbarpur; if he went out to
answer the call of nature, at 6 AM or so in the morning, and returned home
immediately, there is no explanation how he knew that the accused were
standing at a specific spot, in another village, Narayanpur, with the deceased.
Besides this glaring discrepancy, it is unnatural and improbable, that one as
close a neighbour of PW-1 living 8-10 paces away would not be aware that the
boy went missing on 8th October, 1999. In fact, the improbability of the
witness’s ignorance of the fact (that Haseen was missing) is evident, if one
considers the testimony of PW-1 who deposed:
“Firstly, we searched him in the village, we also got made proclamation
on the same day in the evening.”
20. PW-2 Murad Ali’s father was the brother PW-1 Bisarat. Likewise, Sayed,
PW3 is also related; he is PW-1’s second cousin, and like him, similarly related
to PW-2. In his testimony, PW-2 deposed he had seen the boy with Husn Jahan,
the third accused. He also stated that the dead body was found at about 1 PM
“I told the Bisarat on that very day when the dead body of Haseen was
found that perhaps Husn Jehan has kidnapped the child.”
He further deposed to telling Bisarat “at about 12 in the noon” that he saw Husn
Jehan taking Haseen in her house holding his hand. He again deposed that:
“I told this fact to Bisarat at the place where the dead body was found. I
told this fact to Bisarat 2-4 minutes before the arrival of the police. When
the police came near the dead body of Haseen, then I did not tell the
police regarding the fact that I saw Husn Jehan taking Haseen holding
his hand. I told to the police that "that I had suspicion that perhaps the
child Haseen has been disappeared. I cannot tender any explanation if
this fact is not written in my statement.
If these facts are true, there is no explanation why PW-1 (as well as other
witnesses, such as PW-2, and PW-3) did not mention about the involvement of
Husn Jahan, at least in the inquest proceedings. PW-7 Mansab, deposed that
many family members of PW-1, as well as he, were present during the inquest
“At the time when the inquest was being prepared many persons of the
village were collected there. At that time the complainant of the case
Bisarat, Suleman s/o Bashir Jhoja, Munfait s/o Mohd. Ali, Sayeed s/o
Sharif and Murad Ali s/o Ali Hasan were also present.”
PW-7’s testimony, (about the presence of PW-1 to PW-5 during the inquest) not
only renders suspect the deposition of PW-2, but also fatally weakens the
testimony of PW-5 who claims to have left the village, on 09-10-1999 and
returned only on 12-10-1999. This aspect assumes importance, because PW-7
was not declared hostile, and he is a witness to the inquest proceedings.
21. A basic principle of criminal jurisprudence is that in circumstantial
evidence cases, the prosecution is obliged to prove each circumstance, beyond
reasonable doubt, as well the as the links between all circumstances; such
circumstances, taken cumulatively, should form a chain so complete that there is
no escape from the conclusion that within all human probability, the crime was
committed by the accused and none else; further, the facts so proved should
unerringly point towards the guilt of the accused. The circumstantial evidence,
in order to sustain conviction, must be complete and incapable of explanation of
any other hypothesis than that of the guilt of the accused, and such evidence
should not only be consistent with the guilt of the accused but should be
inconsistent with his innocence.5
 These were so stated in Sarad Birdichand
Sarda (supra) where the court, after quoting from Hanumant, observed that:
“153. A close analysis of this decision would show that the following
conditions must be fulfilled before a case against an Accused can be said
to be fully established:
(1) the circumstances from which the conclusion of guilt is to be drawn
should be fully established.
It may be noted here that this Court indicated that the circumstances
concerned 'must or should' and not 'may be' established. There is not
only a grammatical but a legal distinction between 'may be proved' and
"must be or should be proved" as was held by this Court in Shivaji
Sahabrao Bobade v. State of Maharashtra (1973) 2 SCC 793 where the
following observations were made: [SCC para 19, p. 807: SCC (Cri.) p.
Certainly, it is a primary principle that the Accused must be and not
merely may be guilty before a court can convict and the mental distance
between 'may be' and 'must be' is long and divides vague conjectures
from sure conclusions.
(2) the facts so established should be consistent only with the hypothesis
of the guilt of the Accused, that is to say, they should not be explainable
on any other hypothesis except that the Accused is guilty,
(3) the circumstances should be of a conclusive nature and tendency,
(4) they should exclude every possible hypothesis except the one to be
proved, and
(5) there must be a chain of evidence so complete as not to leave any
reasonable ground for the conclusion consistent with the innocence of
5 Ibid 3
the Accused and must show that in all human probability the act must
have been done by the Accused.”
154. These five golden principles, if we may say so, constitute the
panchsheel of the proof of a case based on circumstantial evidence.”
These panchsheel precepts, so to say, are now fundamental rules, iterated time
and again, and require adherence not only for their precedential weight, but as
the only safe bases upon which conviction in circumstantial evidence cases can
soundly rest.
22. This court is of the opinion that given the testimonies of two sets of
witnesses (PWs2 &3 and PW-4 &5) who deposed to seeing the accused with
Husn Jahan and the first two accused, on 8th October 1999 and 9th October 1999,
respectively, and also given the serious flaws in their testimonies, with respect
to the knowledge of PW-1, the flaws in their testimonies regarding their
presence at the place and time, deposed to by them, as well as other glaring
inconsistencies, the prosecution cannot be said to have proved its case. If benefit
were to be given to PW-1’s statement, and he were to be believed that the police
did not take any action, till he applied under Section 156 (3) his conduct, in not
stating anything during inquest proceedings, despite being informed about the
facts, by PW-2, PW-3 and PW-4, that about seeing the boy in the company of A3 Husn Jahan, on 08-10-1999, and later, on the early morning of 09-10-1999,
undermines the prosecution story. Likewise, if the prosecution version that there
was a previous enmity or grudge on the part of the accused, which constituted a
motive to kill the child, is correct, the conduct of PW-4 and PW-5 in not taking
any steps to ensure the safety of the child, when they saw him in the company
of the accused, is unnatural. This is more so, because PW-5 is admittedly related
to PW-1. As discussed previously, the testimony of PW-5 with respect to the
circumstances under which he saw the deceased early morning of 09-10-1999,
renders it untrustworthy and unbelieved.
23. This court is also of the opinion that apart from the above serious
infirmities, there is no evidence, oral or any material object, which connects the
appellant-accused with the crime. It has been repeatedly emphasized by this
court, that the “last seen” doctrine has limited application, where the time lag
between the time the deceased was seen last with the accused, and the time of
murder, is narrow; furthermore, the court should not convict an accused only on
the basis of the “last seen” circumstance. In Jaswant Gir vs. State of Punjab,6
this court explained the soundness of such a rule:
“Without probing further into the correctness of the "last-seen" version
emanating from P.W. 14's evidence, even assuming that the deceased did
accompany the accused in their vehicle, this circumstance by itself does
not lead to the irresistible conclusion that the Appellant and his
companion had killed him and thrown the dead body in the culvert. It
cannot be presumed that the Appellant and his companions were
responsible for the murder, though grave suspicion arises against the
accused. There is considerable time-gap between the deceased boarding
the vehicle of the Appellant and the time when P.W. 11 found the dead
body. In the absence of any other links in the chain of circumstantial
evidence it is not possible to convict the Appellant solely on the basis of
the "last-seen" evidence, even if the version of P.W. 14 in this regard is
believed. In view of this, the evidence of P.W. 9 as regards the alleged
confession made to him by the Appellant assumes importance.
6 2005(12) SCC438
24. Recently, in Rambraksh vs. State of Chhattisgarh,7
 this court after
reviewing previous decisions, stated as follows:
“10. It is trite law that a conviction cannot be recorded against the
accused merely on the ground that the accused was last seen with the
deceased. In other words, a conviction cannot be based on the only
circumstance of last seen together. Normally, last seen theory comes into
play where the time gap, between the point of time when the accused and
the deceased were seen last alive and when the deceased is found dead,
is so small that possibility of any person other than the accused being the
perpetrator of the crime becomes impossible. To record a conviction, the
last seen together itself would not be sufficient and the prosecution has to
complete the chain of circumstances to bring home the guilt of the
11. In a similar fact situation this Court in the case of Krishnan v. State
of Tamil (2014) 12 SCC 279, held as follows:
21. The conviction cannot be based only on circumstance of last seen
together with the deceased. In Arjun Marik v. State of Bihar (1994) Supp
(2) SCC 372)
“31. Thus the evidence that the Appellant had gone to Sitaram in the
evening of 19-7-1985 and had stayed in the night at the house of
deceased Sitaram is very shaky and inconclusive. Even if it is accepted
that they were there it would at best amount to be the evidence of the
Appellants having been seen last together with the deceased. But it is
settled law that the only circumstance of last seen will not complete the
chain of circumstances to record the finding that it is consistent only with
the hypothesis of the guilt of the accused and, therefore, no conviction on
that basis alone can be founded.”
22. This Court in Bodhraj v. State of (2002) 8 SCC 45) held that:
“31. The last seen theory comes into play where the time gap between
the point of time when the accused and the deceased were last seen alive
and when the deceased is found dead is so small that possibility of any
person other than the accused being the author of the crime becomes
It will be hazardous to come to a conclusion of guilt in cases where there
is no other positive evidence to conclude that the accused and the
deceased were last seen together.
23. There is unexplained delay of six days in lodging the FIR. As per
prosecution story the deceased Manikandan was last seen on 4-4-2004 at
Vadakkumelur Village during Panguni Uthiram Festival at Mariyamman
Temple. The body of the deceased was taken from the borewell by the fire
service personnel after more than seven days. There is no other positive
material on record to show that the deceased was last seen together with
the accused and in the intervening period of seven days there was
nobody in contact with the deceased.
7 2016 (12) SCC 251
24. In Jaswant Gir v. State of Punjab (2005) 12 SCC 438), this Court
held that in the absence of any other links in the chain of circumstantial
evidence, the Appellant cannot be convicted solely on the basis of "last
seen together" even if version of the prosecution witness in this regard is
Again, in Nizam & Ors. v State of Rajasthan,8
it was held as follows:
“Courts below convicted the Appellants on the evidence of PWs 1 and 2
that deceased was last seen alive with the Appellants on 23.01.2001.
Undoubtedly, "last seen theory" is an important link in the chain of
circumstances that would point towards the guilt of the accused with
some certainty. The "last seen theory" holds the courts to shift the burden
of proof to the accused and the accused to offer a reasonable explanation
as to the cause of death of the deceased. It is well-settled by this Court
that it is not prudent to base the conviction solely on "last seen theory".
"Last seen theory" should be applied taking into consideration the case
of the prosecution in its entirety and keeping in mind the circumstances
that precede and follow the point of being so last seen.”
25. In the present case, save the “last seen” theory, there is no other
circumstance or evidence. Importantly, the time gap between when the deceased
was seen in the company of the accused on 09-10-1999 and the probable time of
his death, based on the post mortem report, which was conducted two days later,
but was silent about the probable time of death, though it stated that death
occurred approximately two days before the post mortem, is not narrow. Given
this fact, and the serious inconsistencies in the depositions of the witnesses, as
well as the fact that the FIR was lodged almost 6 weeks after the incident, the
sole reliance on the “last seen” circumstance (even if it were to be assumed to
have been proved) to convict the accused-appellants is not justified.
8 2016 (1) SCC 550
26. For the above reasons, the conviction and sentence of the appellantaccused cannot be sustained. The impugned judgment is hereby set aside; the
appellants shall be released forthwith unless required in any other case. The
appeal is allowed, but without order on costs.
New Delhi,
January 17, 2023.
(For Judgment)
 S U P R E M E C O U R T O F I N D I A
Criminal Appeal No. 972/2013
JABIR & ORS. Appellant(s)
 IA No. 65511/2022 - GRANT OF BAIL
Date : 17-01-2023 This matter was called on for pronouncement of
 Judgment today.
For Appellant(s) Mr. Vikrant Singh Bais, AOR
 Mr. Yogesh Tiwari, Adv.
Mr. Dushyant Singh Chauhan, Adv.
Ms. Neema, Adv.
For Respondent(s) Mr. Sudarshan Singh Rawat, AOR
 Mr. Sudarshan Singh Rawat, Adv.
Mr. Vikas Negi, Adv.
Mr. Sunny Sachin Rawat, Adv.
 UPON hearing the counsel the Court made the following
 O R D E R
Hon’ble Mr. Justice S. Ravindra Bhat pronounced the
reportable judgment of the Bench comprising His Lordship and
Hon’ble Mr. Justice Padmidighantam Sri Narasimha.
The Court inter alia observed as under:
“26. For the above reasons, the conviction
and sentence of the appellant-accused cannot be
sustained. The impugned judgment is hereby set
aside; the appellants shall be released
forthwith unless required in any other case. The
appeal is allowed, but without order on costs.”
The appeal is allowed in terms of signed reportable
Pending applications, if any, stand disposed of.
(Signed reportable judgment is placed on the file)


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