In this landmark judgment, Justice Hans Raj Khanna, held the following valuable principles.
From Para 23,
23. Observations in a recent decision of this Court, Shivaji Sahabrao Bobade v. State of Maharashtra 1973 2 SCC 793 to which reference has been made during arguments were not intended to make a departure from the rule of the presumption of innocence of the accused and his entitlement to the benefit of reasonable doubt in criminal cases. One of the cardinal principles which has always to be kept in view in our system of administration of justice for criminal cases is that a person arraigned as an accused is presumed to be innocent unless that presumption is rebutted by the prosecution by production of evidence as may show him to be guilty of the offence with which he is charged. The burden of proving the guilt of the accused is upon the prosecution and unless it relieves itself of that burden, the courts cannot record a finding of the guilt of the accused. There are certain cases in which statutory presumptions arise regarding the guilt of the accused, but the burden even in those cases is upon the prosecution to prove the existence of facts which have to be present before the presumption can be drawn. Once those facts are shown by the prosecution to exist, the Court can raise the statutory presumption and it would, in such an event, be for the accused to rebut the presumption. The onus even in such cases upon the accused is not as heavy as is normally upon the prosecution to prove the guilt of the accused. If some material is brought on the record consistent with the innocence of the accused which may reasonably be true, even though it is not positively proved to be true, the accused would be entitled to acquittal.
From Para 25,
Kali Ram Vs State of Himachal Pradesh on 24 September 1973
25. Another golden thread which runs through the web of the administration of justice in criminal cases is that if two views are possible on the evidence adduced in the case, one pointing to the guilt of the accused and the other to his innocence, the view which is favourable to the accused should be adopted. This principle has a special relevance in cases wherein the guilt of the accused is sought to be established by circumstantial evidence. Rule has accordingly been laid down that unless the evidence adduced in the case is consistent only with the hypothesis of the guilt of the accused and is inconsistent with that of his innocence, the Court should refrain from recording a finding of guilt of the accused. It is also an accepted rule that in case the Court entertains reasonable doubt regarding the guilt of the accused, the accused must have the benefit of that doubt. Of course, the doubt regarding the guilt of the accused should be reasonable; it is not the doubt of a mind which is either so vacillating that it is incapable of reaching a firm conclusion or so timid that is is hesitant and afraid to take things to their natural consequences. The rule regarding the benefit of doubt also does not warrant acquittal of the accused by report to surmises, conjectures or fanciful considerations. As mentioned by us recently in the case of State of Punjab v. Jagir Singh 1974 3 SCC 227 a criminal trial is not like a fairy tale wherein one is free to give flight to one’s imagination and phantasy. It concerns itself with the question as to whether the accused arraigned at the trial is guilty of the offence with which he is charged. Crime is an event in real life and is the product of interplay of different human emotions. In arriving at the conclusion about the guilt of the accused charged with the commission of a crime, the Court has to judge the evidence by the yardstick of probabilities, its intrinsic worth and the animus of witnesses. Every case in the final analysis would have to depend upon its own facts. Although the benefit of every reasonable doubt should be given to the accused, the Courts should not at the same time reject evidence which is ex facie trustworthy on grounds which are fanciful or in the nature of conjectures.
Citations: [1975 MLJ CRI 1 313], [1973 CRLR 705], [1974 CRLJ 0 1], [1973 SCC CRI 0 1048], [1974 ILR HP 3 575], [1974 CAR 1], [1973 SCC 2 808], [1973 AIR SC 0 2773], [1973 SCC CR 0 1048], [1974 CRI LJ 1], [1973 AIR SC 773], [1974 SCR 1 722]
Other Source links: https://indiankanoon.org/doc/1072474/ or https://www.casemine.com/judgement/in/5609ab92e4b014971140cc9d