'This Is Blatant': Bombay HC Irked By Trial And Sessions Court Judge’s Casual Approach In Convicting Man

'This Is Blatant': Bombay HC Irked By Trial And Sessions Court Judge’s Casual Approach In Convicting Man

The trial judge and the session judge has convicted a person by overlooking the absence of an important piece of evidence. “This is blatant disregard to the responsibility bestowed on the stakeholders. The Investigating Officer has retired,” Justice SM Modak observed recently.

Urvi MahajaniUpdated: Monday, April 15, 2024, 11:03 PM IST
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Bombay HC | File Image

Mumbai: Irked by the casual approach of the police, the prosecution and the trial judge in dealing with evidence and conducting a trial in a case in which a man was convicted, the Bombay high court has asked the judicial academy to take this up at the training level with the judges at the Academy.

The trial judge and the session judge has convicted a person by overlooking the absence of an important piece of evidence. “This is blatant disregard to the responsibility bestowed on the stakeholders. The Investigating Officer has retired,” Justice SM Modak observed recently.

The court then said it deems fit to take up the issue at the training level for judges, while acquitting the man from the charges of misappropriation of funds.

“I deem it necessary to bring this lackadaisical approach of Police and Judges to the Joint Director, MJA (Maharashtra Judicial Academy). Because training is imparted to Judges. He can bring this fact to the notice of trial Court and Appellate Court Judges trained there,” Justice Modak added.

The court had directed the joint director of the MJA to take this up at the training level with the judges at the Academy. It has asked the joint director to inform of the steps taken to address the issue.

The HC was hearing an appeal filed by Anand Sakpal, a postmaster, who was accused of misappropriating an amount of Ra28,834 between August 20, 2006 to February 28, 2007.

Sapkal’s superior inspected the registers which contained entries of amounts deposited in the postal department accounts and suspected the crime. After cross-checking the amounts with the account holders, the superior filed a police complaint. He was booked for criminal breach of trust by public servant and forgery.

The Judicial Magistrate at Khalapur, Raigad acquitted Sapkal of the offence of forgery but convicted him for criminal breach of trust and sentenced to 3 years rigorous imprisonment.

The sessions court at Panvel upheld his conviction, which was challenged before the HC. The HC noted that the police failed to seize the relevant registers, those of 2006-2007, on which basis the complaint was lodged. Instead, the police seized registers of entries from August 2004 to February 2005, which were also not produced before the trial court, the HC added.

Justice Modak was displeased with the fact that both, the trial judge and the sessions judge, had overlooked the lacunae in the prosecution evidence. “Without inspecting registers, he was not in a position to conclude about misappropriation. I find lacuna in the prosecution evidence,” the court said while acquitting Sapkal.

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