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Section 378 and Section 374: Appeal before Supreme Court against acquittal - Scope of interfere - Comparison with the scope of appeal

While dealing with an appeal against acquittal, the power of Appellate Court is no less than the power exercised while hearing Appeals against conviction. In both types of Appeals the power exists to review the entire evidence. However, one significant difference is that an order of acquittal will not be interfered with, by an Appellate Court, where the judgement of the trial court is based on evidence and the view taken is reasonable and plausible.

It will not reverse the decision of the trial court merely because a different view is possible. The appellate court will also bear in mind that there is a presumption of innocence in favour of the accused and the accused is entitled to get the benifit of any doubt. Further, if it decides to interfere, it should assign reasons for differing with the decision of the trial court.

It is pointed out that the witnesses on hearing about the decoity had rushed to the police station and had no occasion to know the name s of the accused persons. The parameters for dealing with an appeal against the judgement of acquittal have been laid down by the Supreme Court in several cases.

The golden thread which runs through the web of administration of justice in criminal cases,is that if two views are possible on the evidence adduced in the case,one pointing to the guilt of the accused and the other to his innocence, the view which is favourable to the accused should be adopted.

The paramount consideration of the Court is to ensure that miscarriage of justice is prevented. A miscarriage of justice which may arise from acquittal of the guilty is no less than from the conviction an innocent. In a case where admissible evidence are ignored,a duty is caste upon the appellate court to reappreciate the evidence for the purpose of ascertaining as to whether any of the accused committed any offence or not.

State of U.P vs Awdhesh (2008) 16 SCC 238

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