The Supreme Court on May 26 acquitted the late Jit Kakati in a rape case because the maximum evidence against him that the state of Assam provided was that they (he and victim Rekha Datta) were “last seen together” and this was coupled with “absence of satisfactory explanation” from the accused.
The Court maintained that “circumstances of last seen together along with the absence of satisfactory explanation are not sufficient for convicting the accused.”
The accused was charged for committing offences under Sections 302, 376(2), and 201, read with Section 34 of the IPC. The district court acquitted all of the accused, but the high court found them guilty of murder.
Datta was found dead on the railway tracks on December 28, 1992. As per the evidence, she was last seen together with Jit Kakati, the deceased, at 9 pm on December 27.
The trial court acquitted the accused as no circumstantial evidence other than the “last seen together” theory was proved by the prosecution. But the high court reversed the judgment and held that as there is no satisfactory explanation provided by the accused of the disappearance of the victim and the time gap, the “last seen together” theory is reliable and presumption of guilt is established.
Kakati is dead, and his criminal appeal stood abated, but the apex court had to decide whether the judgment delivered by the high court is in consonance with the prevailing law.
The apex court held on May 26, that due to the lack of chain of circumstances which lead to only a hypothesis of guilt against the accused, the judgment of the high court needs to be set aside and accused were acquitted.
—India Legal Bureau