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Delhi Riots: ‘Presumption Can’t be Stretched to Take Shape of Proof,’ Court Discharges Two from Attempt to Murder

The court quoted Dostoevsky, saying: ‘From a hundred rabbits you can't make a horse, a hundred suspicion don't make a proof.’
Delhi Riots

New Delhi, Mar 2: “From a hundred rabbits you can't make a horse, a hundred suspicion don't make a proof”, a Delhi court quoted from the Russian classic “Crime and Punishment” while discharging two accused from the offence of attempt to murder in a north-east Delhi riots case.

The court asked how a case of attempt to murder can be made out against them when the victim himself was absent from the police investigation and has never been seen by the police.

It said there was no statement on record by the victim about his gun-shot injury or about any mob or rioters.

“That being the case, who is going to say that who shot whom and by whom and where,” said Additional Sessions Judge Amitabh Rawat while discharging Imran and Babu from the offences under sections 307 (attempt to murder) of the Indian Penal Code and the Arms Act in a case in which one Rahul had allegedly received gun-shot injuries during the riots in Welcome area.

The court, however, said there was ground for presuming that both the accused persons have committed the offences of unlawful assembly and rioting and transferred the case back to a magistrate court as the offences were not exclusively to be trialled by the sessions court.

Noting the prosecution's submissions that the accused persons were part of the rioting mob and thus it was presumed that they allegedly committed the offence of attempt to murder, the court said presumption cannot be stretched to take the shape of proof.

“The criminal jurisprudence says that there must be some material against the accused persons to frame a charge. Presumption can't be stretched to take the shape of proof/evidence. The charge-sheet depicts nothing for charging them under section 307 IPC or Arms Act.”

“(Fyodor) Dostoevsky in, 'Crime and Punishment' says 'From a hundred rabbits you can't make a horse, a hundred suspicion don't make a proof'.  Thus, both the accused persons are discharged of the offences under Section 307 IPC & Arms Act,” the court said in its order passed on Monday.

It further said the police have, after a long investigation, concluded that the Rahul, who is stated to have been shot by the mob/rioters comprising the accused persons, had given a wrong address as also a wrong mobile phone number in his Medico Legal Case (MLC).

“The gunshot injury is stated to be caused to Rahul but where is he. His statement is not on record... So by the time police arrived at the hospital the alleged victim Rahul had vanished. It is not as if Rahul gave any initial statement and then vanished. The State is categorical in saying that the police never saw Rahul.”

“That being the case, who is going to say that who shot whom and by whom and where. The alleged victim has never been seen by the police. He has never given any statement about any gunshot injury or about any mob/rioters. So how is Section 307 IPC made out against the accused persons when the victim is absent from even the police investigation. How is the gunshot injury established. There is no murmur of that,” it noted.

It said there was only one police witness, Constable Pushkar, but even he did not make any direct or even tangential reference to the firing by rioters or gunshot injury caused to alleged victim Rahul or even to the accused persons firing causing injury to the victim. 

“With the case of the prosecution as it is, Section 307 IPC is out of bounds. With nothing in the charge-sheet to dig in, no case under Section 307 IPC is made out and there is no ground for presuming that these two accused persons have committed the offence of attempt to murder as defined under Section 307 IPC,” it added.

It further noted that even charging of accused persons under Arms Act has to be met disapprovingly as there was no recovery of ammunition or cartridge causing injury to the alleged victim.

Communal violence had broken out in North-East Delhi on February 24 last year after clashes spiralled out of control leaving at least 53 people dead and around 200 injured.

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