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Pragya Sharma

Name of the case: KALI RAM v STATE OF HIMACHAL


PRADESH
Citation: AIR 1973 SC 2773

Facts/Procedural History
Kali Ram was tried in the court of Sessions Judge for an offence
under Section 302 of the IPC for causing death of two people Dhianu
and Dhainus daughter Nanti. He was also charged for committing
robbery. The learned Sessions Judge convicted the accused under
Section 302 IPC and sentenced him to death. On appeal, the High
Court affirmed the decision of the Sessions Court. The accused
thereafter made a special leave petition in the Supreme Court.
Rule (Indian Evidence Act)
Section 114 of the Indian Evidence Act
Issues
Are the evidences available to the court reliable enough to prove
that Kali Ram was liable for the murder of Dhainu and his daughter
Nanti?
Analysis
The prosecution rested its case on mainly three pieces of evidence, but the court
rejected all these evidences. First, a witness testified that Kali Ram had spent the night
near the victims residence, and on the evening of the crime was seen heading towards
the victims house. The Court concluded that the evidence that Kali Ram was headed
toward the victims house on the night of the crime was unreliable because the
testifying witness had waited for over two months to come forward, despite knowing
of the incident, since the crimes occurrence. The Court found that the prosecution did
not offer a cogent explanation as to why the witness was silent for so long. Second,
the prosecution asserted that they had a written confession from Kali Ram, which he
had mailed to the police station. The Court held that the prosecution had not verified

Pragya Sharma
the authenticity of the letter of confession nor displaced the possibility that it could
have been fabricated. It was necessary for the prosecution to do that before the letter
of confession had evidentiary value. Third, the prosecution asserted that Kali Ram
made an oral confession to a witness. Noting that the accused was entitled to the
presumption of innocence requiring the prosecution to establish guilt beyond a
reasonable doubt, the Supreme Court reviewed the prosecutions evidence. The Court
found the testimony of the witness regarding the oral confession highly questionable,
as the police had hired this witness to testify. The court may presume as per Section
114 of the Indian Evidence act, existence of any fact which it thinks likely to have
happened, regard being had to the common course of natural events, human conduct
and public and private business, in their relation to the facts of the particular case. The
court said that Section 114 is not exhaustive. They are based upon human experience
and have to be applied in the context of the facts of each case.
Conclusion
Having found all the prosecutions primary evidence questionable, the Court reversed
the conviction, explaining that the prosecution did not rebut the accuseds
presumption of innocence.