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The Supreme Court has held that in the event of an investigating officer making a mistake, the accused cannot stand to benefit from such a mistake.

A Divisional Bench of Justice R Banumathi and Justice AS Hrishikesh Roy passed the verdict while considering the complaint against the Allahabad High Court’s decision to acquit the accused in a murder case. In Jai Prakash v. State of Uttar Pradesh, the accused was arrested on the very next day of the incident, but the weapons involved in the incident were not recovered.

The Bench said that the case of prosecution has to be examined  de hors such omissions of the Investigating Officer like non-recovery of weapons etc. But material discrepancies in the prosecution evidence coupled with the unnaturalness of the its case and the non-recovery of weapons raise serious doubts about the prosecution case.

It was stated in the order of Allahabad High Court that there were serious irregularities in the investigation, such that non-recovery of “empties” fired from the guns on the deceased, non-recovery of firearms used by the accused etc. In this regard, the Court said: “It has been established that the lapse from the investigating officer cannot go against the prosecution. If the investigating officer has not deliberately done what he should do in the interest of justice, it means that such an act or omission cannot be passed on to the accused.”

“The prosecution case cannot be doubted only on the ground that no evidence of weapons and other evidence could be found… Any omission of the investigating officer cannot benefit the accused, but in a case where it is said that the crime The FIR was registered within half an hour of the incident and the investigation also commenced then and there, we do not see the reason why empty cartridges and bursts were not recovered from the spot,” the court noted.

—India Legal Bureau

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