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Concurrent finding of evidence should not be disturbed by Supreme Court

Concurrent finding of evidence should not be disturbed by Supreme Court

On February 22, the Supreme Court reaffirmed that when the Trial Court and the High Court make concurrent findings of fact, the Apex Court should not reconsider the evidence to assess the accuracy of those findings, unless there has been a clear violation of the law or a grave and serious miscarriage of justice as a result of misreading or ignoring relevant evidence. 

The decision was made by a bench made up of Justices Dinesh Maheshwari and Bela M. Trivedi in response to a petition challenging a mother's conviction and imprisonment for killing her child, which were later upheld by the Madras High Court.

Vahitha (the appellant) was found guilty of murdering her five-year-old child in her mother-in-home. law's The prosecution alleges that Vahitha, whose husband was stationed abroad, killed her kid because she saw it as a barrier to returning to her native country. When the mother-in-law and other witnesses arrived at the scene of the crime, the child had fled. She was last seen with Vahitha. She was found guilty and given a life sentence by the Trial Court for an offence covered by Section 302 IPC. The Trial Court's conclusions were supported by the Supreme Court.

The Court observed that concurrent judgements of the courts below had been criticised in a way that encouraged a reevaluation of all the available evidence. In this regard, the court reaffirmed, citing precedents, that the Apex Court would not interfere with concurrent findings of fact based on a straightforward evaluation of the evidence, nor is it within the purview of Article 136 of the Indian Constitution for this Court to engage in a reappraisal of the evidence in order to reach a conclusion that differs from that reached by the trial court and upheld by the High Court.

In response to concerns raised about inconsistencies in the prosecution's case, the Court ruled that minor errors that do not significantly impact the outcome of the case shouldn't be used as justification for rejecting all of the prosecution's evidence. Regarding closely related witnesses, the Court reaffirmed the widely accepted rule that the evidence cannot be discounted just because the witnesses were connected to the decedent. The Court emphasised that even if the accused are entitled Article 313 CrPC to remain silent during the course of an investigation and during the examination stage, failing to exercise that privilege may lead to the drawing of unfavourable legal inferences. It was noted that conviction can be based on the same if the accused offers no explanation, gives a false explanation, flees, a motive is established, and there is supporting evidence forming a chain of events leading to the only inference for guilt of the accused, incompatible with any conceivable hypothesis of innocence. 

According to the Court, the case cannot be brought under the exceptions outlined in Section 300 IPC, and S. 302's conviction and sentence for the accused cannot be changed.

"Even if it be taken that there was a quarrel of the appellant with her mother-in-law (PW-1) in the morning of the date of incident because the appellant wanted to go the place of her father, it cannot be said that such a quarrel would make it a case of grave and sudden provocation. The circumstances as proved on record, and the manner of commission of crime, make it clear that the present case cannot be brought under any of the Exceptions of Section 300 IPC; and conviction and sentencing of the appellant under Section 302 IPC cannot be faulted"

Case title: Vahitha v. State of Tamil Nadu
Citation: Criminal Appeal No. 762 of 2012

Read the complete judgment

Appearances of the Advocates:-

For Appellant(s) 
Mr. Chanchal Kumar Ganguli, AOR
Ms. Simran Singh, Adv.

For Respondent(s)
Dr. Joseph Aristotle S., AOR
Mr. Shobhit Dwivedi, Adv.
Ms. Vaidehi Rastogi, Adv.

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