All adverse evidences should be put as questions u/s 313 of CrPC - Avoid bundling circumstances together with only single opportunity to explain

All adverse evidences should be put as questions u/s 313 of CrPC - Avoid bundling circumstances together with only single opportunity to explain

Jai Prakash Tiwari Vs State of Madhya Pradesh

Supreme Court

04/08/2022

CrA 704 OF 2018

About/from the judgment:

Headnotes

Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 ; Section 313 - 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. 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- If all the circumstances are bundled together and a single opportunity is provided to the accused to explain himself, he may not able to put forth a rational and intelligible explanation. Such, exercises which defeats fair opportunity are nothing but empty formality. Non­ fulfilment of the true spirit of Section 313 may ultimately cause grave prejudice to the accused and the Court may not have the benefit of all the necessary facts and circumstances to arrive at a fair conclusion. Such an omission does not ipso facto vitiate the trial, unless the accused fails to prove that grave prejudice has been caused to him -The object of Section 313 of the Code is to establish a direct dialogue between the court and the accused. (Para 25-28)

Constitution of India, 1950 ; Article 21 - Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 ; Section 313 - Section 313 CrPC confers a valuable right upon an accused to establish his innocence and can well be considered beyond a statutory right, as a constitutional right to a fair trial under Article 21. (Para 19)

Criminal Trial - Related Witness - A close relative cannot automatically be characterized as an "interested" witness. However, even related witness statements need to be scrutinized more carefully. (Para 10)

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Referring to the judgments of the Trial Court and the High Court, the bench observed that they failed to scrutinize the defence version put forward by the accused in Section 313 statement. The bench also made the following observations regarding the right of the accused under Section 313 CrPC:

1. Section 313 CrPC confers a valuable right upon an accused to establish his innocence and can well be considered beyond a statutory right, as a constitutional right to a fair trial under Article 21 of the Constitution.

2. 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. 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.

3. If all the circumstances are bundled together and a single opportunity is provided to the accused to explain himself, he may not able to put forth a rational and intelligible explanation. Such, exercises which defeats fair opportunity are nothing but empty formality. Non­ fulfilment of the true spirit of Section 313 may ultimately cause grave prejudice to the accused and the Court may not have the benefit of all the necessary facts and circumstances to arrive at a fair conclusion. Such an omission does not ipso facto vitiate the trial, unless the accused fails to prove that grave prejudice has been caused to him.

4. The object of Section 313 of the Code is to establish a direct dialogue between the court and the accused.

5. It is the solemn duty of the courts below to consider the defence of the accused. The same must be considered with caution and must be scrutinised by application of mind by the judge. The Court may accept or reject the same, however it cannot be done cursorily. The reasoning and the application of mind must be reflected in writing.

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