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Law: Indian Supreme Court Judgement “Rajesh Singh & Ors. V State of U.P.”

In the case of Rajesh Singh & Ors. V State of U.P., Justice V.S. Sirpurkar reversed the acquittal of Rajesh Singh, Najai Srivastav and Mohan Singh for the murder of an eleven year old boy, Deepak. Giving judgement on 28th March 2011, the judge criticised the “peverse” findings of the original trial court.

Among the inconsistencies found in the trial case were the dismissals of eye witness accounts on “flimsy” grounds. The Father of the boy, Virendra Kumar, had been told that his testimony would be disregarded because he had told the court he was visiting a “paan” shop near the site of the murder. The defence alleged that it was unnatural for him to attend the food shop in question when another was available closer to home. Another witness had his testimony struck off because he told the investigation he had been going to purchase ice, when this was apparently not in his usual routine.

According to the witnesses, Deepak had been beaten in front of a crowd of about 150 people for stealing money. His Father pleaded with the three assailants to stop, but they dragged the boy into a nearby house. After about 30 minutes, the men ran away and Virendra Kumar along with some of his friends went into the home to find Deepak hanged from the roof.

Justice Sirpurkar criticised the lack of focus on the finding of the body at the home of Rajesh Singh:

the trial Court had acquitted the accused persons in a very casual manner.

17.    The   most   important   circumstance   in   this   case   is   the   finding   of   the dead body in the house of one of the accused persons.  Surely, the dead body   could   not   have   walked   inside   the   house   of   the   accused   person. There   was   absolutely   no   explanation   from   the   accused   persons,   more particularly,  accused Rajesh as to how the body was  found in a hanging position   in   the   house   of   one   of   the   accused.     All   the   witnesses   are unanimous on the point that all the three accused persons went inside the house   dragging   Deepak   with   them.     This   important   circumstance   was completely lost sight of by the trial Court.   That also can be said to be a perversity on the part of the trial Court.

18.    As regards the argument of learned counsel for the defence that it was   not   certain   as   to   which   accused   actually   caused   the   murder   and, therefore,   all   the   three   accused   persons   were   bound   to   be   given   the benefit   of   doubt,   it   has   to   be   said   that   the   argument   is   without   any substance.  It is clear that all the three accused persons had taken part in the beating of deceased Deepak and all the accused persons dragged him in   the   room   and   closed   the   door.     Therefore,   it   was   up   to   the   accused persons to explain as to how Deepak died.  It is very clear that all the three accused   persons  had  acted   with   common   intention  of   causing  the   death and, therefore, all the three accused persons would be guilty with the aid of Section 34, IPC.  The High Court has rightly held them guilty.

19. In   short,   after   examining   the   evidence   closely,   we   are   of   the   firm opinion that the acquittal in this case was completely out of the question. The reasoning  given by the trial Court was  wholly  unacceptable and can safely be called perverse.   The High Court having noted these defects in the judgment of the trial Court and the casual approach of the trial Court was justified in reversing the acquittal.   In our opinion, the appeal has no merits and must be dismissed.  It is accordingly dismissed.

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Editors and staffers from the Law Desk at The Global Herald.

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