04 August 2020

Accused is entitled for benefit of doubt when there is unexplained delay in forwarding seized article to the court

The alleged occurrence was on 15.11.2011. Ext.P8 property list shows that the seized substances were produced in the court only on 19.11.2011. The prosecution has not explained the reason for the delay in producing the seized substances, including the samples, before the court. It is not explained what prevented the detecting officer or the investigating officer to produce the seized articles in the court immediately after the seizure. In view of the unexplained delay in producing the seized articles before the court, tampering with such articles at the police station cannot be ruled out.[Para No.39]
   
    There is also no reliable evidence as to who was having the custody of the seized articles till they were produced in the court and in what condition they were kept in the police station. PW3 has given evidence that the properties might have been kept in the police station during the period between 16.11.2011 to 18.11.2011 and they would have been in the custody of the Station Writer. But, the evidence of PW6 Circle Inspector, who conducted the investigation of the case on the date of occurrence, is that the properties were in the custody of PW3 Sub Inspector till they were produced in the court. He has stated that he had received the properties but he entrusted them with the Sub Inspector himself for producing them before the court.[Para No.40]

Accused is entitled for benefit of doubt when there is unexplained delay in forwarding seized article to the court
    To put it in a nutshell, the unexplained delay in producing the seized substances before the court and absence of evidence as to how and in what condition the seized substances, including the samples, were kept in the police station till the date of their production in the court alongwith the circumstance that there is absence of evidence regarding the nature of the seal used by the detecting officer for sealing the sample packets, create doubt as to whether seizure of the substances was effected from the accused in the manner alleged by the prosecution. The benefit of that doubt shall be given to the accused.[Para No.45]

Kerala High Court

Faijas Kareem
Vs.
State Of Kerala

Decided on 03/08/2020





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