Criminal Law:SC on Interference with Conviction Pronounced by Lower Court


March 27, 2018

Case name: Gorusu Nagaraju v. State of Andhra Pradesh


Date of Judgement: March 23, 2018

In the case, based on facts of the case the Supreme Court refused to interfere with the conviction pronounced by Sessions Court and High Court on appreciation on evidence. The Apex Court while dismissing the appeal opined that it can interfere only when the appellant would show arbitrariness or absurdity in the findings of the Lower Court.

In this case, the Appellant was convicted for the offences punishable under Sections 302 and 201 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860. Both the Trial Court and the High Court on appreciation of oral evidence had upheld the conviction of the appellant. Aggrieved by conviction the Appellant appealed in the Supreme Court and prayed the Court to interfere with the impugned judgment of High Court.

Bench’s Verdict

The Two-Judge Bench of the Supreme Court refused to interfere and dismissed the appeal while making the following observations:

That the Sessions Judge and the High Court, on appreciation of entire oral evidence, held the appellant guilty of the offences. In other words, both the Courts on appreciation of oral evidence adduced by the prosecution, recorded a finding of guilt against the appellant for commission of the offences in question and accordingly convicted him.

That where the findings of conviction are concurrent in nature and based on appreciation of evidence, such findings are usually binding on this Court. However, if the appellant is able to show any perversity, arbitrariness, absurdity or illegality in any such concurrent findings then, in such circumstances, the findings though concurrent are not binding on this Court.

That the Court cannot again appreciate the evidence de novo third time in the appeal subject to the exception pointed out above. It is also noticed that the conviction is largely based on circumstantial evidence.

That it is a well settled principle of criminal law that some minor contradiction or inconsistency in evidence cannot affect the material evidence and such contradiction or inconsistency cannot be made basis to discard the whole evidence as unreliable. It is much more so when the two Courts below took note of the said evidence and discarded it being wholly immaterial.

The entire case can be accessed here.