Saturday, 25 August 2018

What are five golden principles for proving case against accused based on circumstantial evidence?

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 Sahebrao Bobade v. State of Maharashtra MANU/SC/0167/1973 : 1973CriLJ1783 where the following observations were made:

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 the accused and must show that in all human probability the act must have been done by the accused.

153. These five golden principles, if we may say so, constitute the panchsheel of the proof of a case based on circumstantial evidence.
The circumstances should be of a conclusive nature and tendency and they should be such as to exclude every hypothesis but the one proposed to be proved...

it must be such as to show that within all human probability the act must have been done by the accused."


Criminal Appeal No. 745 of 1983

Decided On: 17.07.1984

 Sharad Birdhichand Sarda Vs.  State of Maharashtra

Hon'ble Judges/Coram:
A. Vardarajan, S. Murtaza Fazal Ali and Sabyasachi Mukherjee, JJ.

Read full judgment here: Click here

Citation:  (1984) 4 SCC 116(1) 
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