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Case Summary of Sharad Birdhi Chand Sarda v/s State of Maharashtra

Sharad Birdhi Chand Sarda v State of Maharashtra [1985] 1 SCR 88
Bench: Fazal Ali, Syed Murtaza
Date of Judgment - 17/07/1984

Relevant Facts:
In this case one-woman naming Manju Shri found dead at her Husband's Apartment.

As this is a criminal case here one Party is Manju Shri's husband Shard Birdichand Sarda with two Co-Accused his uncle Ramvilas and Brother Rameswar and another party is State of Maharashtra.

Cause of death of Manu Shri was found Potassium Cyanide (Poisonous Substance) in her body as per the Autopsy report.

In this case Accused got convicted and pronounced Life Imprisonment by High Court of Maharashtra where petition filed by party in Hon'ble Supreme Court through SLP under Article 136 of Indian Constitution.

This case provides a wide explanation of Circumstantial Evidence which became Landmark decision in the area of Evidence Law.

In this case:
  1. High Court of Maharashtra heard the Confirmation of Death sentence which was given by Session Court.
  2. Appeal against Trial Court's Decision.
  3. Criminal Revision Application filed by State
All these three pleas were combined by the High Court of Maharashtra.

Procedural History
  1. Firstly, case went for trial in Pune Additional Judge Court where judge made the decision that all the accused are liable for murder where main accused naming Shard will be punished by Death sentence and other two accused shall be punished through Rigorous Imprisonment.
     
  2. After appeal, confirmation and revision application from the state the High court of Maharashtra decided that the mail accused will punish by Life Imprisonment and other two Co-Accused shall be made free.
     
  3. Through SLP under Article 136 of Indian Constitution the Petitioner approached Supreme Court, where SC stated that the Prosecution is not able to prove the conclusiveness of Evidence, the guilt of Accused was not proved.

Rational of the Court
After trial and Revision in High Court of Maharashtra the Petition made before Hon'ble Supreme Court where the Defence smartly produced the relevancy of the Evidences which were provided before the court, they all were Circumstantial Evidences without any conclusive nature.

SC stated that all the evidences provided by Prosecution e.g., Autopsy Report,3 Letters written by Manju to her sister and one Friend, Last appearance of Sharad in the Apartment all are Circumstantial Evidences which were not conclusively provided by Prosecution because In such cases where direct evidences are not available at that time The Burden of Proof lies upon Prosecution which is the basic doctrine of Evidence Law.

SC further stated that when there are two presumptions like:
  • Offence is committed by Accused.
  • Offence is not committed by the Accused.
Available before the court then Benefit of Doubt always go with the Accused.

Ruling:
This case becomes the Landmark Judgement of Evidence Law which always helps in the interpretation of Circumstantial Evidence, Hearsay Evidence, Dying Declaration and Relevancy of the Evidences.

SC introduced one Panchsheel Test for the Relevancy of the Evidences which will be applied in such type of cases where Direct Evidences are not available.

Written By Ashutosh Banshwar, Final Yr. Student Of Law From Sharda University.
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/ashutosh-banshwar-259758181

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