Justice K.R. Shriram dismissed a criminal appeal moved by the State against the verdict of the trial court which acquitted the accused from the charges stipulated under Section 392 of Penal Code, 1860.
The accused was charged with robbery, punishable under Section 392 of IPC. The trial court however acquitted the accused. Aggrieved at the verdict, the State filed for an instant appeal. The High Court during the perusal of the case found that the prosecution could not furnish sufficient proofs that nailed the accused beyond reasonable doubt. The trial court under these circumstances had granted the accused an acquittal. The Court observed that the charges levied against the accused did not carry any substantial proof with them. The prosecution could only faintly point at the accused for robbery though nothing it did could raise the stance of the court from a mere suspicion.
To this the High Court held that suspicion could not be a substitute for proof in criminal trial. It stated , “There is an acquittal and therefore, there is double presumption in favour of the accused. Firstly, the presumption of innocence available to the accused under the fundamental principle of criminal jurisprudence that every person shall be presumed to be innocent unless he is proved guilty by a competent court of law. Secondly, the accused having secured acquittal, the presumption of their innocence is further reinforced, reaffirmed and strengthened by the trial court. For acquitting the accused, the Trial Court observed that the prosecution had failed to prove its case….When the evidence adduced did not conclusively lead to the guilt of the accused and only pointed needle of suspicion towards the accused and nothing more, he cannot be committed because suspicion is no substitute for proof in criminal trial.” The High Court thus found no fault with the verdict and upheld the decision of the trial court.