The Sikkim High Court in the case of Sudeep Rai v. State of Sikkim comprising of a bench of Justice Bhaskar Raj Pradhan remarked that the natural witnesses who were present at the time of the relevant events gave oral depositions and except for the fact that the defense had not been able to prove the weapon of offence, their testimony cannot be questioned.

The court opined  “the oral depositions have been made by natural witnesses who were present during the relevant time. Their evidence cannot be doubted except for the fact that the prosecution had not been able to prove the weapon of offence.”

The court observed to make out an offence punishable under section 304-II IPC, the prosecution is required to prove the death of a person and such death was caused by the act of the accused and further that he knew that such act of his was likely to cause death.

The court at the very outset remarked “The above facts stand proved. It has been held so by the learned Sessions Judge who had also correctly discarded the evidence relating to the disclosure statement (Exhibit-3) purportedly recorded under section 27 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872.

The oral depositions have been made by natural witnesses who were present during the relevant time. Their evidence cannot be doubted except for the fact that the prosecution had not been able to prove that the hammer (M.O.I) was the weapon of offence. The chain of circumstances proved by the prosecution as enumerated above does lead to the inevitable conclusion that it was the appellant and the appellant alone who had committed the offence. There is no manner of doubt that it could have been done by anybody else.”

The court relied on the Judgment passed by the Supreme Court in State of U.P. vs. Dr Ravindra Prakash Mittal wherein, it was held that “the essential ingredients to prove the guilt of an accused by circumstantial evidence are: (a) the circumstances from which the conclusion is drawn should be fully proved; (b) the circumstances should be conclusive in nature; (c) all the facts so established should be consistent only with the hypothesis of guilt and inconsistent with innocence; (d) the circumstances should to a moral certainty, exclude the possibility of guilt of any person other than the accused.”

While dismissing the petition court remarked, The punishment prescribed for the offence under section 304-II IPC is imprisonment for ten years, or fine or both. The learned Sessions Judge has sentenced the appellant to undergo simple imprisonment for a term of seven years and pay a fine of Rs.10,000/-, which is found perfectly justifiable in the facts of the present case. Resultantly, the appeal fails and is dismissed.”

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