Jammu and Kashmir High Court

State v. Abdul Qayoom

The accused had been charged with the killing of four ladies and two children at the house of the father of army personnel. The mere presence of the accused at the crime scene cannot be the sole reason to invoke charges against the accused, the Jammu and Kashmir High Court held recently by acquitting the person accused of murder charges of the father and other relatives of an Army Personnel.

Background of the Case

The Court was dealing with an appeal instituted by the appellant against the judgment passed by the court of Principal Sessions Judge, Rajouri wherein it was pronounced that the respondent stands acquitted of the charges framed against him under Section 302, 120-B,121,123,449 Ranbir Penal Code read with Sections 4/27 and 7/25 Arms Act.

The accused had charges of murder of four ladies and two children at the residence of the father of an Army Personnel.

Case of the Appellant

The appeal was filed on the grounds that the accused’s complete acquittal by the trial court constituted a legal error. Additionally, the appellant claimed that the trial court had not fairly considered the prosecution’s evidence because the prosecution’s witnesses had amply bolstered and supported the prosecution’s case, demonstrating the veracity of the accusations made against the accused.

Court’s Observation

Taking these factors into account, the Court decided that the accused should be given the benefit of the doubt regarding their attendance at the crime scene. The Court observed that, notwithstanding the eyewitness testimony attesting to the accused’s presence, there is no evidence in the testimony of any such conduct demonstrating the accused’s involvement in the killings.

His presence cannot be the only ground to accuse him of such serious charges unless his participation in killings is proved through direct or circumstantial evidence.

“There can be every possibility that the accused was forced to accompany the other three persons to the house where the killing took place.”

“Except for stating the presence of the accused on the spot, there is no murmur in the statement of the witness about the accused carrying the killings himself or helping the others in the diabolic act. The mere presence of the accused, in any case, cannot implicate him in the case”, the Court observed.

Adv. Khanak Sharma

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