The court observied that a person can be convicted based only on explicit evidence.
Observing that a person can be convicted based only on explicit evidence and not merely on grounds of morality, the Bombay High Court on Wednesday set aside the conviction and life term awarded to an accused in a rape and murder case.
Mohan Jadhav (24), a resident of Raigad, was convicted and sentenced to a life term by a local court in 2015 for an offence under sections 302 (murder) and 376 (rape) of the IPC.
Jadhav, however, challenged his conviction and sentence in the high court claiming that he was innocent.
The prosecution told the court that while there were no eye witnesses in the case, the police had relied on circumstantial evidence to arrest Jadhav and secure his conviction.
It was stated that the police had found Jadhav walking, in a frightened state, near the spot where the body of the 20-year-old victim was found.
The prosecution argued that the accused had also claimed before a friend that he, along with another person, had killed a woman.
However, the court ruled that Jadhav walking in a frightened state was not enough evidence. It noted that the police had failed to find any direct evidence or eyewitness accounts linking Jadhav to the crime.
"The cardinal principle of criminal jurisprudence is that, a case can be said to be proved only when there is certain and explicit evidence and no person can be convicted on pure moral conviction," a bench of Justices PB Varale and PD Naik said.
Considering the discrepancies in evidence, the accused is undoubtedly entitled to a benefit of doubt, it said, while setting aside the trial court order.