The SC held if there is the absence of motive in a case that is dependent upon circumstantial evidence then the case will weigh in favour of the accused.
The Bench of 3 judges comprising Justice Uday Umesh Lalit, Justice ShripathiRavindraBhat and Justice Pamidighantam Sri Narasimha made this remark while hearing the case of Nandu SinghVsState of M.P.
The bench said that when a case is based on substantial evidence (circumstantial evidence) then the motive assumes a much greater significance. It’s not that motive in itself can become a crucial link that has to be established by the prosecution in the case and if he fails to do so the case of the petitioner will be discarded. But at the same time, total lack of motive assumes another complexion and this lack favours the accused.
The background of the case which was being heard by the court is that the body of Shiv Kumar was recovered and a crime under Sec 302 IPC was registered. Consequently, the appellant was arrested for the crime. Based on his statement the weapon, blood-stained garments and the key of the cycle was recovered. Along with this prosecution relied on the testimony of witnesses. The Trial court convicted him under Sec 302 & Sec 201 of IPC. An appeal for it was dismissed and the court refused to interfere with the sentence, by Chhattisgarh HC. An appeal was made for the same in SC of India and the court accordingly acquitted him.
The SC noted in this case motive is a crucial link to establish and complete the chain of circumstances as it was a case of circumstantial evidence and not of direct evidence. The Bench also observed that the ‘Last Seen’ theory, in this case, is based on only one witness who was not able to give particulars and there also lacks proximity in terms of time. The court was of opinion that the prosecution failed to conclusively establish the circumstantial evidence. So the Supreme Court eventually acquitted the appellant.