The court while rejecting the contention of Aftab Amin Poonawala, accused in the Shraddha Walkar murder case, said that it would not be expedient in the interest of justice to expect the prosecution to bring on record the exact manner in which the alleged offence was committed.
The court also referred to an illustration which says “A is accused of the murder of B at a given time and place. The charge need not state the manner in which A murdered B.”
Advocate Akshay Bhandari counsel for accused Aftab had argued that on the charge of murder and disappearance can’t be framed conjointly. And, the prosecution ought to tell the manner in which the offence was committed by the accused.
While framing charges under sections 302 (murder) and 201 (disappearance of evidence) IPC the court rejected both the contentions.
“Whether the accused is liable to be convicted for the offence Under section 302 as well as for the offence section 201 IPC or not is a matter of trial and evidence and it cannot be decided at this stage,” the court said.
“The stage of leading evidence cannot be trumped and the matter cannot be prejudged,” the additional Sessions Judge (ASJ) Manisha Khurana Kakkar said.
“In fact, if there is sufficient material placed on record by the prosecution qua both the offences, there seems to be no bar in framing charge for both the offence U/s 302 and 201 IPC,” The ASJ added.
ASJ Kakkar said, “It is well settled that a charge is the first notice to the accused of the offences alleged against him and it should convey to him with sufficient eloquence, clarity and certainty what the prosecution wants to in prove so that the accused can put forth proper defence against the case of the prosecution.”
However, at the time of framing of charge, only a prima facie view has to be formed, in order to weigh whether there is sufficient material available on record to proceed against the accused, the court opined
The court said that sufficient material has been placed on record by the prosecution which warrants the trial of the accused for both offences.
“From the aforesaid material placed on record by the prosecution, prima facie case for the offence under section 302 and 201 IPC is made out against the accused,” the court said in the order passed on May 9.
While framing the charges the court noted that the prosecution has primarily relied upon circumstantial evidence and collaborative evidence such as the recovery of bones, a bunch of hair, and the jaw of the deceased which the accused had allegedly disposed of to conceal the murder of the deceased, and last seen the evidence, digital trails, blood stains in the fridge and kitchen shelves, DNA profiling report of alleged recovered bones, hair jaw and of afore stated blood stains, voice recording on Dr Practo App, previous complaint given by the deceased at PS Evershine, Vasai East, Mumbai on November 23, 2020, Postmortem report of deceased, call detail records, statements of the several witnesses apart from other material placed on record.
The court rejected the contention of the counsel for the accused and said, “Thus, in light of the aforesaid material placed on record, the contention raised by learned Counsel for the accused that no substantive material has been placed on record by the prosecution to frame charge against the accused is without any merits.”
Therefore, the contention raised by the counsel for the accused that the charges under section 302 and 201 IPC necessarily have to be alternate charges is misconceived and it is now settled that the offence under section 201 ‘IPC is not restricted and limited to a person who screens the actual offender and can also be applied even to the main offender, where sufficient material is found on record.
The court also said, “In the instant case, the prosecution has heavily relied upon circumstantial evidence such as last seen evidence, recovery of blood stains in the fridge and kitchen, recovery of body parts of deceased, recovery of a bunch of hair and jaw of deceased in order to bring on record the alleged offences and the said offences were alleged to have been unearthed after a period of about five to Six months.”
“Thus, it would not be expedient in the interest of justice to expect the prosecution to bring on record the exact manner in which the alleged offence was committed,” it said.
The court has listed the application seeking the release of the bones of the deceased on May 22 for a hearing.
This report is filed by ANI news service.