August 07, 2019

Weakness in the defence taken cannot become the strength of the prosecution as per Section 313 of the Cr.P.C.

[ by Legal Era News Network ]


The Supreme Court of India in a case of murder held that if there are materials which the prosecution is unable to answer, the weakness in the defence taken cannot become the strength of the prosecution.

There was a land dispute between the accused and the complainant regarding which a civil suit was pending. The deceased was beaten to death by a group of four persons. The trial court convicted all the four. However on appeal, the High Court acquitted two of them stating that the assault was made on the spur of the moment without premeditation.

On appeal to the Supreme Court, the appellants submitted that the High Court erred in altering the conviction and that the assault was premeditated. The Supreme Court held that the accused were armed and there was no material to prove the plea of self defence that the assault took place on the spur of the moment.

The Court held that if the accused takes a defence, which is not improbable and appears likely, there is material in support of such defence, the accused is not required to prove anything further.

The Supreme Court noted that the fact that a defence may not have been taken by an accused under Section 313 of the Criminal Procedure Code, cannot absolve the prosecution from proving its case beyond all reasonable doubt. The burden lies on the prosecution to prove the allegations. In contradistinction to the same, the accused has only to create a doubt about the prosecution case and the probability of its defence. An accused is not required to establish or prove his defence beyond all reasonable doubt, unlike the prosecution.

The Court, citing the case of Partap vs. State of U.P., (1976) 2 SCC 798, held that “It is well settled that the burden on the accused is not as onerous as that which lies on the prosecution. While the prosecution is required to prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt, the accused can discharge his onus by establishing a mere preponderance of probability.”

The Court held dismissed the appeal stating that it would not interfere with the order of the High Court.

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