Theft And Murder Not Safe To Draw An Inference That The Person In Possession Of Stolen Property Was The Murderer: Supreme Court - Synopsis
Nilanjana Ganguly 1 Jun 2020

The Supreme Court acknowledged that, in the case of theft and murder, it is not possible to conclude that the person in possession of the stolen property was the murderer.

In this case, Sonu @Sunil vs. Madhya Pradesh Government, the appellant was accused of theft and murder. He was sentenced to death by the Trial Court. Earlier, the High Court reversed the death penalty and granted life imprisonment.

The Court acknowledged that the evidence against him was largely based on the recovery of the cell phone. It was also noticed that there was a difference of around two months between the date of recovery and the date of incidence.

The bench consisting of the judges Sanjay Kishan Kaul and KM Joseph outlined the measures to be carried out in the event of recovery of an article from an convicted person while he is also accused of committing crimes other than theft (in this case murder).

The following are the 8-point criteria set out by the Court :

·       The first thing to be identified is that robbery and murder is part of a single transaction.

·       The essence of the stolen item;

·       The manner in which the owner acquires it;

·       The essence of the evidence for its identification;

·       The manner in which the accused was treated;

·       The location and circumstances of its recovery;

·       The length of the period in question;

·       The willingness or otherwise of the accused to justify his possession.

The bench said ,”Nonetheless, where the only evidence against the accused person is the recovery of the stolen property and, while the circumstances that suggest,that theft and murder must have been committed at the same time, it is not safe to draw the conclusion that the person in possession of the stolen property has been murdered.”

This was followed in decisions Baiju v. State of Madhya Pradesh AIR 1978 SC 522, Shri Bhagwan v. State of Rajasthan AIR 2001 SC 2342 etc.

The bench also noted that there was a difference between the number of phones stated to have been stolen from the deceased, and the phone number stated to have been recovered from the accused. Applying these criteria to the facts of the case, the Tribunal acknowledged that it would not be reasonable to uphold the judgment of the accused and that he would be entitled to the benefit of the doubt.


C2RMTo Know More

Something Awesome Is In The Work









Sign-up and we will notify you of our launch.
We’ll also give some discount for your effort :)

* We won’t use your email for spam, just to notify you of our launch.

SAARTHTo Know More

Launching Soon : SAARTH, your complete client, case, practise & document management SAAS application with direct client chat feature.

If you want to know more give us a Call at :+91 98109 29455 or Mail