Summary of Recent judgment

Case: Mallappa & Ors. v. State Of Karnataka

Date of Order / Judgment: 12th February, 2024

The Matter Heard by Bench: Justice Bela M. Trivedi and Justice Satish Chandra Sharma


In the present case, the trial court has acquitted the accused persons for the charges of committing murder punishable under Section 302 Indian Penal Code. The trial court after the appreciation of evidences found that the testimonies supplied by the Prosecution Witness No. 3 is of an artificial nature and cannot be relied upon to convict the accused. The Trial Court observed that the chain of circumstances created by the testimony of PW-3 is not consistent with the outcome of guilt. On the acquittal of the accused, an appeal was preferred by the State before the High Court. The High Court re-appreciated the entire evidence and came to the finding that PW-3 being an injured witness and there was no reason to disbelieve his testimony. The High Court convicted the accused and reversed the trial court’s acquittal order. Aggrieved by this decision the accused preferred criminal appeal before the Supreme Court.


Whether the High Court was correct in reversing the order of acquittal of the Trial Court and thereby convicting the accused persons under Section 302 Indian Penal Code?


The Court observed that “Notably, all these aspects have been carefully analysed and appreciated by the Trial Court, but the High Court rejected all the doubts by observing that PW-4 was an injured witness and there was no reason to disbelieve his testimony. The High Court omitted to take note of two material aspects – the fact that the statement of PW-4 was recorded after a period of one month from the date of incident and the factum of family relationship between the deceased and PW-4. The former aspect raises a grave suspicion of credibility, whereas the latter raises the suspicion of being an interested witness.”


The Supreme Court set aside the High Court's order convicting the accused. It observed that if the Appellate Court while appreciating the evidence in an appeal against acquittal, finds that two views are plausible, then the view favouring the innocence of an accused must be taken.