Written by: Shivangi Arora (Intern)
Edited by: Anubhav Yadav (Content Head & Developer)
Apex Court bench of Justice UU Lalit, Justice Ravindra Bhatt and Justice Bela M. Trivedi on 9th of December while hearing the appeal in case of Rakesh Rai @ Vishal Rai @ Purna Rai & Anr. v. State of Sikkim, Criminal Appeal No. 172 of 2018 Citation: LL 2021 SC 744 held that recovery of any fact upon deposing any statement by the accused if made in another prosecution case would be unqualified to admit.
Facts in Brief
The background of the case could be traced back to West Sikkim where an unidentified body was found in the place called Dentam. The police registered the case in Kaluk Police Station under Section 174 of CRPC when the information of the same was received via phone call. During the course of investigation it was allegedly found that the deceased was murdered by four unknown person. The trial against them was initiated in Sessions Court of South and West Sikkim, Namchi. The accused were prosecuted under the Section 302 read with Section 34 of Indian Penal Code i.e. for the offence of Murder along with Group Liability. Subsequently all the four accused were acquitted by the trial court. The State of Sikkim filed a petition in Sikkim High Court challenging the order of acquittal by the Court of Sessions against only two of the accused i.e. Rakesh Rai and Tenzing Tamang. The appeal was accepted by the High Court and further High Court convicted the accused sentencing them imprisonment for life.
The present case in an appeal against the judgement of Sikkim High Court filed by the appellant accused.
The contentions of the prosecution is majorly based on the recovery of the dead body of Beena who was a deceased in another case pertaining to the disclosure statement made by Rakesh Rai. Beena and Sonam were identified in the company of the four accused of the above case during the day and timing around the murder of that unidentified dead body. Rakesh Rai’s (one of the appellants) Maruti Car was seen at Dentam Bridge. Guest House owner who was Prosecution Witness claimed that Rakesh Rai stayed at his Guest House using false identity along with a girl.
Supreme Court’s Observation
After listening to the contentions of the appellants and the respondent State, the Apex Court Bench observed that there was sufficient material to show that appellant Rakesh Rai was in a company of a girl but the same does not disclose the identity of the girl. There is no witness available who could confirm that the girl in the company of the four accused was Sonam. Moreover, the State had only challenged the acquittal order of only two accused i.e. Rakesh Rai and Tenzing Tamang. The acquittal of the other two accused was not even challenged. The bench further added that the disclosure statement of Rakesh Rai which eventually led to the discovery of Beena’s dead body on which prosecution majorly based its case is a subject matter of another separate trial which already in progress. In the context of the same the bench also noted that the police recorded the disclosure statement of Rakesh not for the present case but for the prosecution related to the death of Beena which relates to completely a different trial. Furthermore, the bench completely rejected the admissibility of the disclosure statement recorded under Section 27 of Indian Evidence Act as it was not recorded by the Police officer of the concerned jurisdiction.
For the appeal in the given case the Apex Court overruled the judgement of Sikkim High Court and upheld the judgement of the Trial Court acquitting all the four accused. Hence, the Supreme Court acquitted the appellants Rakesh Rai and Tenzing Tamang from the prosecution the given case.