In the case of State of Orissa v. Mangulu Munda, an appeal filed by the Government of Orissa against the judgement of the Sessions Judge, which absolved the respondents of crimes covered by Sections 452, 302, and 201 of the Penal Code of 1860. In the current case, one of the suspects forced through the front door of the residence and dragged the dead outside while claiming that she was a witch. Following the deceased’s five-day disappearance, one of the witnesses filed a First Information Report against the suspect. The prosecution said that the three defendants admitted to murdering the deceased and throwing her body into the Baitarani River while the Sub-Inspector was there.
Conclusion of the court
The appeal was rejected by the Division Bench of the Orissa High Court Justices Dr. S. Muralidhar and Justice G. Satapathy, who also gave the accused persons the benefit of the doubt because the prosecution’s evidence did not meet the required standard.
The Court determined that because of inconsistencies in their testimony, the eyewitnesses could not support the prosecution’s case on significant issues. The Trial Court observed that the accused and two eyewitnesses may have known one another, but on a night without illumination, it was unable to distinguish between the three accused individuals. The Court also found no evidence to support the two eyewitnesses’ ability to identify the three accused individuals based on their voice, talking style, overall look, or walk. The Court also discovered inconsistencies in the medical testimony on the exact moment of the death. The Court emphasised the requirement that links in a chain point unmistakably to the accused’s guilt in circumstantial evidence. Additionally, the confession provided by the defendant that resulted in the discovery of the deceased’s corpse was given while they were not in the custody of the police, which renders it inadmissible in accordance with Section 27 of the Evidence Act of 1872. The Court concluded that the Trial Court did not mistake when it gave the accused people the benefit of the doubt and cleared them of the charges they faced. As a result, the appeal was denied since there were no legitimate grounds for interfering.
CASE NAME – State of Orissa v. Mangulu Munda, GCRLA No. 36 of 2007