knife, murder, fear-376381.jpg

Reasonable doubt is not a mere possible doubt but a Fair Doubt based upon reasons and Common Sense: Supreme Court

-Report by Mahak Gulbake

The Supreme Court has held it in the case of Dibaker Nunia & Anr. V. The State of Assam that it is important for the prosecution to prove the case beyond reasonable doubts in serious offences.


In this case, an F.I.R. had been filed by a person at the Ghungoor Police Outpost on 01st October 1999 at approximately 10 a.m. He alleged that at 12.30 a.m. the day before, as he was coming home, he discovered a man lying in front of the Congress Party election office. According to the informant and based on an electric lamp, he identified the individual on the ground as his younger brother. He returned home and learned from his parents that the appellants(or accused) had attacked the deceased in the evening. The case was investigated and a charge sheet was filed in relation to the offences under section 302/34 IPC. A trial was conducted before the trial court and the accused were convicted. The High Court dismissed the appeal filed by the present appellants and affirmed the judgment as passed by the Sessions Court, Cachar, Silchar, Assam convicting the appellants of an offence under Sections 302/34 Indian Penal Code, 1860 (‘IPC’) and awarded the rigorous imprisonment for a lifetime.


Learned counsel for the appellants argued vehemently that both the Sessions Court and the High Court, in this case, proceeded based on irrelevant considerations and ignored major weaknesses in the prosecution case. According to the learned counsel, the conviction of the appellants is primarily based on the testimony of the mother and father of the accused, but their statements not only include major contradictions but also contain inbuilt implausibilities. If their statements are considered, it is not a normal activity for any person to return home, eat a meal and sleep after having seen his kid being assaulted by some people. Further, none of the independent witnesses has corroborated the story of the father of the deceased.


The learned counsel for the State has addressed properly the impugned judgement and order and has argued that, when the totality of the circumstances is considered, it cannot be said that the statements of the witnesses are completely unreliable and that the concurrent findings based on those statements do not merit interference.


After the cross-examination of the shreds of evidence, it has been held that it is true that the deceased was violently abused and sustained many injuries to essential organs, but based on the information presented by the prosecution, it is difficult to conclude beyond a reasonable doubt that the appellants were solely responsible for these injuries. In light of the above, it was observed:

“It remains trite that in such a criminal case, the prosecution is expected to prove its case and to substantiate the charge beyond reasonable doubt. A reasonable doubt is not a mere possible doubt but a fair doubt based upon reasons and common sense. It must grow out of the evidence in the case1. When a reasonable doubt arises in a matter, benefit of doubt must be given to the accused. In the present case, the doubts reasonably arising in the matter had been brushed aside by the High Court on the logic that itself remains unacceptable.

The order of the High Court was set aside and the accused were acquitted.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *