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Conviction possible without establishing motive: Bombay HC

The Bombay high court, in a significant ruling, has said that in a murder case based on circumstantial evidence, conviction can be imposed even if the motive for killing is not established. The court relied on a Supreme Court judgment which says that when facts are clear, it is immaterial that motive has not been proved. The person, convicted by the lower court, had approached the high court submitting that there was no motive for him to have committed the crime and in a case such of him based on circumstantial evidence, motive assumes great significance.

The verdict was delivered by justices V K Tahilramani and V L Achliya, who on 11 November upheld the life sentence awarded to Railway Protection Special Force jawan Shivram Sharma (45) for gunning down head constable Udhal Singh in 2009. Sharma was convicted on 9 September 2010 by a sessions court in Mumbai. Aggrieved, he filed an appeal in the high court which has now upheld the lower court verdict.

Sharma’s counsel Arfan Sait argued that the relations between the appellant and the deceased were good and they were friends, hence, there was no motive for the appellant to have committed the crime.
He submitted that in such a case of circumstantial evidence, motive assumes great significance.

‘No doubt, this is so. But, motive is such that it is locked up in the mind of the accused and sometimes, it is difficult to unlock the same’, said the high court bench.

The bench relied upon a Supreme Court judgment which lays down that failure to discover the motive of an offence does not signify its non-existence.
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