New Delhi: Benefit of doubt should always go to the accused in cases based on circumstantial evidence if the there is any doubt about the prosecution theory which is inconsistent with the innocence of the person charged, the
Supreme Court has held.
"We are of the view that in a case relating to circumstantial evidence, the court should see the circumstances very carefully before arriving at a finding of
guilt of the person concerned and yet if there is any doubt
which is inconsistent with the innocence of the accused, the
benefit should go to the accused," a bench of justices Asok
Kumar Ganguly and Deepak Verma said in a judgement.
The apex court passed the judgement while altering the
conviction of Yomeshbhai Pranshankar Bhatt to Section 304-Part
II(culpable homicide not amounting to murder) from 302
IPC(murder) for setting ablaze his maid-servant at the
latter`s house following an altercation in Vadodara.
According to the prosecution, Bhatt had gone to the house
of his maid servant and set her ablaze after she refused
to join duty as he was reportedly paying her a measly Rs 375
He was sentenced to life imprisonment by the sesssions
court and the Gujarat High Court dismissed his appeal, after
which he appealed in the apex court.