Published on August 8 2022 at 22:00 IST
The Supreme Court reiterated that under Section 313 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), it is the duty of courts to consider the defence presented by an accused and give reasons in writing while adjudicating on the same.
A bench consisting of Chief Justice of India NV Ramana, and Justices Krishna Murari and Hima Kohli stated that such defence must be scrutinised by application of mind.
The Court explained that Section 313 CrPC envisions a reasonable opportunity to be given to accused where all adverse evidence is presented in the form of questions for them to articulate their defence.
The Supreme Court was hearing an appeal by a person convicted for attempt to murder based largely on the witness statements of the complainant and her mother.
The alleged offence took place in 2003, the trial court had convicted the appellant in 2005 and the Madhya Pradesh High Court upheld the same in 2017. The appellant upheld the same in 2018. He underwent about 1 year and 7 months of his sentence before he was released on interim bail by the top court.
The purpose of Section 313 CrPC is to provide the accused a reasonable opportunity to explain the adverse circumstances which have emerged against him during the course of trial, the bench underlined.
“A reasonable opportunity entails putting all the adverse evidences in the form of questions so as to give an opportunity to the accused to articulate his defence and give his explanation,” the judgment stated.
“Further, where an accused sets up a defence or offers an explanation, it is well settled that he is not required to prove his defence beyond a reasonable doubt but only by preponderance of probabilities,” the Court added.
The top court, therefore, allowed the appeal and acquitted the accused, who was already out on bail, and discharged his bail bonds.
“It is the duty of the Court to separate the grain from the chaff and to extract the truth from the mass of evidence”, the Bench stated before parting with the judgment.