The Supreme Court, in Anjan Kumar Sarma vs State of Assam, has reiterated that “last seen together” along with “absence of satisfactory explanation” cannot be made the sole basis of conviction, when the other circumstances could not be proved.
The high court, in the instant case, had convicted the accused holding that the onus was on the accused to explain and exculpate themselves when the ‘last seen theory’ was established and in the absence of any satisfactory explanation, the presumption would suggest the guilt of the accused. The accused were charged with offences of murder and rape. The Trial Court had returned an order of acquittal which was later challenged before the High Court.
Referring to various decisions on the aspect of ‘last seen together’, the bench comprising Justice L Nageswara Rao and Justice Navin Sinha observed that where the other links have been satisfactorily made out and the circumstances point to the guilt of the accused, the circumstance of last seen together and absence of explanation would provide an additional link which completes the chain. In the absence of proof of other circumstances, the only circumstance of last seen together and absence of satisfactory explanation cannot be made the basis of conviction, the bench added.
The court, while acquitting the accused, also said other circumstances relied upon by the prosecution are not proved and the circumstances of last seen together along with the absence of satisfactory explanation are insufficient for convicting the accused.
Read the Judgment here.