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Non­-fulfilment of Section 313 CrPC may cause grave prejudice to accused; solemn duty of court to consider defence: Supreme Court

While noting that the counsel for the accused-appellant had not submitted that there was prejudice caused due to individual questions not being asked at the trial, the top court decided to proceed with the matter on its merit.

It did so given the duration of the litigation.

At the outset, the Bench noted that it was trite that even related witness statements need to be scrutinized carefully. The eye-witness statement of the mother did not inspire confidence and there was no cartridges found at the alleged site of the offence, the Court noted.

Further, the appellant-accused had already been acquitted in another criminal case filed by the complainant, the Court noted.

“In the present case, the courts below failed to scrutinize the defence version put forward by the appellant-­accused in his Section 313 statement. The object of Section 313 of the Code is to establish a direct dialogue between the court and the accused,” the apex court said.

The purpose of Section 313 CrPC is to provide the accused a reasonable opportunity to explain the adverse circumstances which have emerged against him during the course of trial, the bench underlined.

“A reasonable opportunity entails putting all the adverse evidences in the form of questions so as to give an opportunity to the accused to articulate his defence and give his explanation,” the judgment stated.

Further, where an accused sets up a defence or offers an explanation, it is well­ settled that he is not required to prove his defence beyond a reasonable doubt but only by preponderance of probabilities, the Court added.

Source: Barandbench

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