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Circumstantial Evidence And The Last Sight Theory With A Detailed Analysis Of The Aarushi Talwar Case

According to Section 3 of the Indian Evidence Act, evidence is a statement which the Courts require or permit to be made before witnesses and which relates to facts liable to prejudice. Evidence includes all documents and electronic records that are created for review by the court.

Evidence is of two kinds:

direct evidence and circumstantial evidence. Direct evidence may be considered testimony that goes directly to any particular point in question and proves that if it is assumed, without any deductive logic or deduction. For example, an eyewitness to a murder can be considered direct evidence.

A witness admitting a direct recollection of events can be considered as direct evidence. This may include things such as what the witness recorded with his senses, what the witness heard.

In any direct evidence, the witness generally tells what he directly experienced. An example would be when someone saw someone else shooting someone this can be considered direct evidence.

Circumstantial evidence refers to a situation where a witness cannot directly tell you a fact, a fact that needs to be proven. Instead of direct information, the witness gives some evidence about certain facts that can help guide the fact finder to some rational conclusion. This can help prove the claim to be proven.

The definition of circumstantial evidence has been developed through the interplay between different statutes and different judicial interpretations. Indirect evidence is also known as circumstantial evidence.

Circumstantial evidence can be thought of as an unrelated chain of events. The events that all come together can then lead to the conclusion that a crime has occurred.

According to Benthem, witnesses are the 'eyes and ears of justice', but witness statements are not always credible. The facts are therefore provable not only by witnesses, but also by circumstances. Circumstantial evidence is unrelated facts that, when considered together, can be used to draw a conclusion about something unknown. Information and testimony presented by a party in a civil or criminal proceeding that allows a conclusion to be drawn that indirectly proves the existence or non-existence of a fact or even a fact that the party is trying to prove.

The concept of circumstantial evidence arises because in most cases no direct evidence could be found, so the Court has to rely on circumstantial evidence to decide the case. The last seen theory is also based on the same lines as in some criminal cases, where there is no direct or tangible evidence as to how the crime was committed or who committed the crime, then the last option to decide the case is this theory based on the circumstances of the case.

According to this theory, if a person is last seen with the deceased just before his death or within a reasonable time after his death that no other person could have intervened between them, it can be assumed that he (the person who was last seen) is the perpetrator of the crime . And so the burden of proof shifts to him to deny this fact, and if he is unable to provide a clear and sufficient explanation of his innocence, then the presumption is even stronger.

Concept of Circumstantial Evidence Under Indian evidence Act

The term circumstantial evidence has been defined by Peter Murphy as "evidence from which the desired conclusion may be drawn but which requires the tribunal of fact not only to accept the evidence adduced but also to draw influence from it".

The term circumstantial evidence was first used in India by Sir James Stephen when he stated that these facts depend on other facts and exist if other facts are proved to have existed. This means that the conclusion is drawn according to a reasonable prudent person based on a previously proven fact.

An example of circumstantial evidence is a person's behavior at the time of the alleged crime. If someone was accused of stealing money and was then seen at the mall buying expensive things, the mall can be considered as circumstantial evidence of the individual's guilt.

Similarly, if a witness arrives at the crime scene seconds after hearing the gunshot and finds himself standing over the corpse holding a smoking gun, the evidence is circumstantial. Most criminal convictions are based at least in part on circumstantial evidence that sufficiently connects the criminal and crime.

The Basics of Circumstantial Evidence:

  • The circumstance from which guilt is established should be proven
  • Each of the facts should be based on the hypothesis of the guilt of the accused.
  • Circumstances should have an irreversible nature and tendency.
  • That the circumstances should, with ethical certainty, really rule out every hypothesis except the one to be documented.
  • The evidence should prove the guilty party beyond reasonable doubt.
  • The circumstances from which the inference of guilt is to be drawn ought to be established. Relevant circumstances "must" or "should" and not "may" be established.
  • The established facts should therefore correspond to the hypothesis of the guilt of the accused.
  • Circumstances should be conclusive in their nature and tendency.
     
  • Conditions For Conviction Based On Circumstances Evidence:

    In the case of Chandmal vs Province of Rajasthan, the court held that in situations where there is no direct evidence and the case is based only on circumstantial evidence, then in these situation, three conditions must be met -

    The first is that the conditions on which the proof of the fact depends must be built up immovably. The second is that the conditions must be precise and the conditions must point to the guilt of the individual being accused. The last is when all conditions are met in general and they should create a total chain and there should not be any kind of escape in the created chain.

    In one other case, Khem Karan Vs. State of Uttar Pradesh, the court held that if all the evidence and circumstances point to the guilt of the offender and there is no scope any other alternative hypothesis then in such a situation the accused can only be convicted on the basis of circumstantial evidence .

    When To Decide Based On Circumstantial Evidence:

    As decided in the case of Sudam Pandey v. State of Bihar (2001), the following pointers should be kept in mind while proving a case through circumstantial evidence:

    The circumstances from which the inferences are drawn should be fully demonstrated to have existed.
    • All facts that are proven should support the hypothesis of the accused's guilt.
    • The chain of circumstances should be well connected and complete to be conclusive.
    • The circumstances should negate any possibility that the accused is innocent.


    Shift Of The Burden Of Proof And Section 106 Of Evidence

    Indian Evidence Act,1872.

    Section 106 of the Indian Evidence Act which states that when a fact is known, it is for him to prove his innocence. For example, if the body of B was found in the house of A. It is for A to prove that even if he knew that the body of the deceased was found from his house, his participation in the crime is negligible.

    The inmates of the house are also obliged to give an explanation. If the defendant does not provide a viable explanation and does not provide evidence his innocence, this would form a chain of circumstantial evidence that proves the guilt of the accused. If there is no direct evidence against the accused and after the prosecution presents circumstantial evidence, the burden of proof shifts to the accused and he must prove his innocence by describing the circumstance or situation when he was last seen with the deceased.

    If the accused does not describe the situation correctly or the situation explained by the accused is false statement, then the circumstantial evidence provided by the public prosecutor will reveal that the accused committed the crime.

    The abnormal conduct of the accused may land the accused in big trouble if he fails to prove his innocence. The conduct of the accused plays a vital role in corroborating or establishing circumstantial evidence. Behavior of the accused which is unnatural and abnormal such as flight, incapacity to provide an explanation, the impossibility of revealing the place of the crime, the provision of a false alibi, the secret cremation of the dead body, which destroys the presumption of innocence, is a relevant factor in establishing guilt and building the chain of events. For example - After the murder of B the main accused C left the state and subsequently disappeared to avoid arrest. C's behavior is contrary to that of an innocent person. This increases the presumption of guilt.

    In Kashi Ram v/s State of Rajasthan - 2006 TMI 660 - SC, In this case accused Kashi ram killed his wife and two daughters and the court awarded him death sentence. The Supreme Court noted that the very provision of Section 106 of the Evidence Act is ambiguous and categorical in that it stipulates that if a fact is particularly known to a person, the burden of proof of this fact rests on him.

    So if the person was last seen with the deceased, they must provide an explanation of how and when they broke up. He must give an explanation which appears to the court to be probable and satisfactory. If he does so, he must be considered to have discharged his burden. If he does not give an explanation based on the facts within his special knowledge, he will not discharge the burden imposed on him by Section 106 of the Evidence Act.

    In a case based on circumstantial evidence, if the accused fails to give a reasonable explanation to discharge the burden placed on him ,that in itself constitutes another link in the chain of circumstances proved against him. Section 106 of the Evidence Act lays down the rule that if the accused does not shed light on facts which are particularly known to him and which could not support any theory or hypothesis, compatible with his innocence, the court may consider his failure to provide an explanation as another link that closes the chain. Kashi Ram was unable to provide a valid or satisfactory explanation and was therefore added as a reference to circumstantial evidence.

    Circumstantial evidence also understood as circumstantial evidence cannot be considered worse than direct evidence. If the above conditions are met, he can only be convicted on the basis circumstantial evidence without direct evidence. Circumstance requires a certain level of corroboration which can be demonstrated by the conduct of the accused and the surrounding circumstances. It is up to the judiciary to critically analyze the evidence. Absent evidence is used in both civil and criminal cases, but especially in criminal cases.

    Last Seen Theory
    The "last seen" theory is the last resort of the prosecution when there is no direct evidence against the accused. The prosecution must prove that the crime was committed by the accused who was last seen with the deceased. In this theory, the time gap between the time of death and the person last seen with the deceased should not be too long, as this weakens the theory.

    The prosecution should prove that there is no possibility of a third party committing the crime and should show that there was a minimum lapse of time between the death of the deceased and the last time the person saw the deceased. The gap of time plays a vital role in proving the guilt of the accused in the theory of "last seen together" because the basis of this theory is based on the principle of probability, cause and connection.

    This theory derives its relevance from Section 7 of the Indian Evidence Act which is called the "Doctrine of Inductive Logic" which states that if any fact related to occasion, cause or effect leads to the circumstances under which the thing occurred or provided occasion for this thing to occur, then these facts will be relevant. And in the last-seen theory, the person who was last present with the victim would also have a reasonable opportunity to commit the crime.

    In Bodhraj V. State of J&K - 2002 (9) TMI 858 - SC, Court held that last seen theory comes into play where the lapse of time between when the accused and the deceased were last seen alive and when the deceased found dead is so small that the possibility of the perpetrator of the crime being a person other than the accused is impossible.

    Although the theory relieves the court of the burden of proving guilt, it is a weak evidence and must be corroborated by other factors, such as whether there was a motive with the person last seen with the deceased, or could even exercise such a type. injuries that caused death.

    In the case of Jaswant Gir v. State of Punjab (2005), the Hon'ble Supreme Court held that unless other links are present to support the theory, it is not safe to convict on that theory alone. For example, when the deceased was last seen with an old lady who cannot walk properly on her own, and the deceased died from multiple stab wounds.

    So in this case, it is not reasonable to believe that the old lady committed the murder, and so it will be proven that she was last seen, but it will not be logical to consider her guilty. The fact of the last seen should therefore be supported by other factors so that the circumstances are infallibly determining and convincingly prove the person's guilt. The court must be alert while deciding such matters as even minor details can change the entire scenario of the case.

    Aarushi Talwar's Murder And The Ongoing Trial

    Background
    The Aarushi Talwar case is often referred to as the "Noida Double Murder Case". In this case, 14-year-old Aarushi Talwar was brutally murdered and 45-year-old Hemraj Banjade, a domestic help, was murdered in the same manner. Both were killed on the night of 15-16 May 2008 at Aarushi's house.

    The case received extensive media attention. He made various allegations about the nature of both the deceased and the accused. Moreover, critics also cited it as a media trial. A sessions court in Ghaziabad found Aarushi's parents guilty as prime suspects after investigating two CBI teams. The case was appealed to the Allahabad High Court.

    Facts
    The dead body of young 14-year-old Aarushi Talwar at 6:00 AM at L-32, Jalayu Vihar Flats in Sector 25 Noida, Uttar Pradesh on May 16. At that time in the F.I.R the father, Rajesh Talwar named their missing domestic help, Hemraj as the prime suspect.

    The next day, May 17, the decomposed body of Hemraj was found on the terrace. Aarushi Talwar (24 May 1994 – 16 May 2008) was a student of Delhi Public School Noida. She was the daughter of a dentist couple, Dr. Rajesh Talwar and Dr. Nupur Talwar, who were born through IVF (in vitro-fertilization) treatment. She was the only daughter of a couple of dentists and they lived in the very apartment in which she was found brutally murdered. Hemraj made a living as a domestic helper and cook in the Talwar family and lived in the utility room of the apartment.

    After the discovery of Hemraj's decomposed dead body, the possibility of him being a suspect in the murder of Aarushi Talwar was ruled out and the prime suspects were now Aarushi's parents.

    Police have developed two theories for the motive of Dr. Rajesh Talwar to murder Arushi and Hemraj:
    1. Rajesh Talwar murdered the two in a fit of rage on seeing the deceased in a compromising position on the fateful night. OR
    2. Hemraj blackmailing Rajesh over his alleged extramarital affair with Anita Daurani, with whom they shared a Noida dental clinic, and Hemraj confronting Aarushi about the same. The case was handed over to the CBI. The CBI team suspected the assistants of Talwar Krishna.

    Along with two other domestic servants - Rajkumar and Vijay. The CBI conducted a narco analysis of the three suspects. The three suspects confessed their involvement in the narco analysis and are believed to have killed Aarushi after they tried to sexually assault her and since Hemraj witnessed the same, they also killed Hemraj. But all three men were released because no evidence was found against them.

    Moreover, at the same time, the Talwars cleared themselves in the narco analysis and nothing was found against them and they were not involved at the crime scene. According to sec. 45, the results of the drug analysis test are not binding for the court.

    In September 2009, the case was transferred to a new CBI team headed by SP Neelabh Kishore with additional SP AGL Kaul as the investigating officer. A second CBI team suspected the Talwar couple but due to insufficient evidence suggested closure of the case and submitted a closure report stating that servants Krishna, Rajkumar and Vijay has a clean chit and is not involved in the crime as they said during the narco tests that it is not reliable and they also have a valid alibi.

    Moreover, there is no evidence that they were at Talwar's residence at the time of the incident. They also said that the possibility of an outsider committing the murders was ruled out because there were no signs of forced entry and no other evidence to suggest the presence of an outsider. So, when all possibilities are ruled out, all evidence points to the Talwars.

    The CBI has suspicions Mr. and Mrs. Talwar on circumstantial evidence but due to lack of evidence submitted a final report on 29 December 2010. In January 2011, the Talwars filed a petition against the CBI in a Ghaziabad court in an attempt to close the case. In February 2011, the Hon'ble Ghaziabad court converted the CBI's final report to the prosecution and Mr. and Mrs. Talwar were summoned to the court and thus a case was filed in the court against the parents of the deceased based on the final report of the CBI .

    Hemraj As A Suspect:
    On the morning of May 16,when Aarushi's dead body was found at the Talwar residence in her room. Her parents saw her dead first, and when the maid entered the house, then she

    saw the dead body of Aarushi lying on the bed and it was covered with a flannel blanket. Both the parents and the police suspected the live-in servant, Hemraj as the prime suspect here in the murder because he was not present at the scene of the crime. Rajesh Talwar suspected Hemraj of Aarushi's murder. Moreover, he told the police several times to catch Hemraj and stop wasting time at the Talwar residence while Hemraj flees the scene after committing the murder. He asked them to go to Hemraj's native village in Nepal and he

    offered them Rs. 25,000 for the same. The police also initially suspected Hemraj of the murder and assumed that Hemraj might have drunk Scotch whiskey from a bottle that was lying on the table. Then in that drunken state of mind he might have gone to Aarushi's room and tried to sexually assault her. She could have resisted it, so he killed her and cut her throat.

    But on 17th may police discover Hemraj's body on the terrace when the terrace door was broken open, the police's suspicion of Hemraj was disproved and it was also shameful part on the part of the police as they failed to investigate the crime scene.

    Krishna, Rajkumar And Vijay As Suspects:
    These three are other servants of the Talwars .All the workers were of Nepalese origin. They were Hemraj's friends. Drug analysis of all of them shows that they were involved in the murder of the twins. Based on Narco analysis , CBI recovered blood stained khukhri and trousers. All three in the narco analysis confessed to the crime and discussed the chain of events, but there was a confrontation in the sequence of events narrated by them.

    Krishna decided to plead for an alibi. Both Krishna's family members and his landlord testified that Krishna was in the house when the murders occurred. Puneesh Tandon who

    is a neighbor and employer of Vijay Mandal testified in court that Vijay Mandal was present in their garage at the time of the murders. Rajkumar was employed by Daurrani and Daurrani testified that he was at the Daurrani house until 12:30 and then everyone in the house was asleep. Moreover, it has a watchman Jalvayu Vihar , he testified that he did not see anyone wandering around in a suspicious condition. He didn't even see anyone going in or out of the apartments.

    In their defense, they said the drug test was not admissible as evidence. Additionally, no DNA of either of them was found at Talwar's residence. The investigation team was unable to abstract DNA from the blood on the khukhri. So they found no strong evidence against them, 3 of them were released.

    PARENTS AS SUSPECTS:
    There is no direct evidence and based on circumstantial evidence the CBI suspected the parents: How is it possible that the parents slept all night and did not hear what was happening in the house? Or how is it possible that they didn't hear Aarushi scream.

    The door of Aarushi's room was such that it could be opened from inside and keys had to be used to open it from outside. The room keys were left with Nupur, then who else could open the door except the parents. Another possibility is to see Aarushi and Hemraj in a compromising position, Rajesh killed them in a fit of rage. So there is the possibility of an honor killing. They cremated Aarushi's body in hastw. So the cremation was unduly hasty.

    Aarushi's father tried to mislead the investigation by asking the police to look for Hemraj and also offered to pay their way to his hometown in Nepal. Later when he was asked for the keys to the terrace he denied knowing where the keys were and finally when Hemraj's body was found he said he would not be able to say whether it was Hemraj's body.

    Rajesh's extra marital affair was known to both the servant and Hemraj and hence he was blackmailed.

    The golf club that was suspected to be the murder weapon appeared to have been cleaned and appeared to be different from the other golf clubs.

    Trial court
    The judge in the Trial Court was Justice Shyam Lal, called 'Saza Lal' at the Ghaziabad bar for his strict approach towards the accused. That was the nickname he went by from his days at the Bulandshahr District Court.

    Almost a month after the crime was committed, a survey was conducted in six major Indian cities. A survey conducted by the Hindustan Times found that nine out of ten people feel that the media is "obsessed" with the Arushi Talwar murder case. 75% of respondents said they follow the news very closely. They also believed that the media had already declared Rajesh Talwar guilty and 64% believed that the coverage would distort both the investigation and the courts.

    Interestingly, a perusal of the 210-page judgment of the Trial Court would reveal that public interest (or perception) weighs heavily on the judge's mind. The judge repeatedly cited this factor in drawing conclusions.

    Here is a list of instances where he relied on public pressure to reach conclusions:
    At page 51 of his decision, he relied on Shivaji Sahabrao Bobade v. State of Maharashtra to dispose of the doubts raised by the defense in the theory of grave and sudden provocation advanced by the CBI.

    The judge borrowed the words of the Supreme Court to observe:
    "Only reasonable doubt belongs to the accused. Otherwise, any practical justice system will collapse and lose credibility with the community.

    On page 54 of the judgment, he quotes Justice Holmes as saying, "This court is aware of the felt needs of the time" as he managed to convey the message that the court was aware of the fact that the conviction of the accused was "necessary".

    Again relying on National Textile Workers' Union v. P.R. Ram Krishna at page 58, he says:
    "…..if the law does not respond to the needs of a changing society, then it will either stifle the growth of society and stifle its progress."

    And finally at page 80 of his decision, State of West Bengal v. Mir Mohammad Umar is cited to dispel serious doubts raised by the defense about the prosecution story. The following excerpt was quoted from the case as if to argue that disbelieving the prosecution's story would harm society as a whole-

    "On the other hand, if the traditional rule regarding the prosecution's burden of proof is allowed to be wrapped in pedantic coverage, the perpetrators of serious crimes would be the main beneficiaries and society would be the victim."

    The judge's behavior drew the ire of the Allahabad High Court. In the High Court, a bench of the Appellate Division heard where one judge wrote a five-page opinion with the sole motive of condemning Justice Shyam Lal's conduct during the trial.

    Apart from the public interest angle, Justice Shyam Lal relied heavily on Section 106 of the Indian Evidence Act. The section states –

    If any fact is particularly within the knowledge of any person, the burden of proving that fact is on him.

    The provision shifts the burden to the accused when the murder is committed in secrecy. However, the burden of proof is shifted only when the prosecution is unable to establish certain facts that are particularly well known to the accused. This provision was applied to Talwars after the testimony of Bharati Mandal. Bharati Mandal was the maid who first visited the Talwars on the morning of 16 May and also the first outsider to see Arushi's dead body.

    According to Judge Shyam Lal, the burden of proof shifted from the prosecution to the defense the moment the maid said the door to the Talwars' flat was locked from the inside. However, this was a problematic assumption for one main reason – Bharati Mandal was the trainer of the CBI. It is well settled in law that the testimony of a learned witness cannot be relied upon. However, the court overlooked this fact because Mandal, to quote the judge, was—

    "…a totally illiterate and bucolic lady from the lower strata of society and hailing from Malda district of West Bengal who came to N.O.I.D.A. perform menial jobs to support herself and her family…"

    The Court then relied on section 106 to essentially state that it was for the Talwars to explain everything that happened in the flat during the said six and a half hours and if they did not, it was a strong indication of their guilt.

    The judge summarily dismissed the Talwars' sleep defense. The Talwars claimed that they were sleeping in their room, which had a loud air conditioner, and therefore did not hear the sound of the door opening or closing or the sound of footsteps in the apartment. A sound stimulation test confirmed this. However, Justice Shyam Lal chose not to believe it. He sentenced both to life imprisonment.

    High Court
    A perusal of the Allahabad High Court's 273-page judgment in the Talwars' appeal shows that it was highly skeptical of the CBI's theory of grave and sudden provocation.

    According to the CBI, the chain of events was as follows – Rajesh Talwar saw Arushi and Hemraj in a compromising position in Arushi's room. He then took his golf club and hit both Arushi and Hemraj on the head with it. He and his wife then wrapped Hemraj's body in a sheet and dragged it to the terrace, where he cut his throat with a scalpel. He then returned and slit Arushi's throat, after which the two dressed up the crime scene by arranging her toys around her and covering her with a sheet.

    However, many questions remained unanswered by the CBI. For example - Hemraj's blood was not found in Arushi's room, which is impossible if both were hit with a golf club in the same room and Arushi's blood was splattered on the walls. Additionally, there was no evidence of rape or sexual assault. Furthermore, narcoanalysis and brain mapping of the Talwars were inconclusive.

    On the other hand, the narco-analysis of the servants (namely Krishna, who was Rajesh Talwar's compactor and Rajkumar, who was the domestic help of a close friend of the Talwars) showed that they blamed each other for the murders. Additionally, a trace of Hemraj's blood was found in a pillowcase recovered from Krishna's room (but this was later changed by the CBI to show that the pillowcase was found from Arushi's room and not from Krishna's room.

    The report states that it was found from Krishna's room was full of "typographical errors", according to the CBI). While progress was made in this direction, both servants were found to have solid alibis, rendering the theory obsolete. Hence, the CBI once again targeted the parents and if they failed, filed a closure report.

    In its ruling, the High Court called the doctors' testimony "medically blasphemous" for supporting the prosecution's theory of grave and sudden provocation. It happened that the participating doctors significantly improved their statements during the examination compared to what they had previously stated in their statements several times under Section 161 of the Criminal Code.

    The court also noted that in the absence of evidence of intercourse, Rajesh Talwar had no motive to murder his only daughter. Furthermore, the court ruled that Bharati Mandal's testimony was not reliable because she was a trained witness. The court also noted how the CBI planted (for example, Sanjay Chauhan, a government employee, was deposed to show the Talwars' lack of emotion after the discovery of their daughter's body) and trained witnesses (Bharati Mandal, a maid and two doctors) to corroborate the theory of grave and sudden provocation.

    The forensic lab report showing the blood of Hemraj in Krishna's pillowcase was held to be authentic by the Court. This also meant that the CBI tampered with the evidence in its attempt to prove the presence of Hemraj's blood in Arushi's room. Finally, the court cited the Supreme Court's decision to negate Justice Shyam Lal's thoughtless use of Section 106 of the Indian Evidence Act at the trial level. The decision stated that the provision does not shift the entire burden of proof to the prosecution. The court therefore found the defendants not guilty and released them.

    Supreme Court
    The CBI has decided to appeal the Allahabad High Court decision to the Supreme Court in March in the year, i.e. 2018. The success of the appeal is highly doubtful.

    The trial court's decision was largely based on two grounds:
    • The last seen theory, according to which the persons last seen with the deceased were supposed to explain the circumstances of the death.
    • Application of Section 106 of the Indian Evidence Act which shifts the burden of proof to the accused in special circumstances.
       
    It was only because of these two assumptions that the CBI succeeded in court despite a story with several missing links, uncertain medical evidence, supported by a trained and planted witness. Once the High Court ruled against the application of Section 106, it is virtually impossible for the prosecution to establish a chain of circumstances to secure the conviction of the Talwars.

    There seems to be a trend of sloppy investigations among our investigative agencies.

    "We use a stick to investigate. The suspect is arrested. He was taken to the police station and tortured. He is forced to confess."- S.R. Darapuri, former Inspector General of Police, Uttar Pradesh.

    Avirook Sen, who attended the trial of the Talwars in the District Court of Ghaziabad and followed the case closely, wrote in his book about the instance which highlights the poor standard of investigation in our country-

    "For example, in Aarushi's panchnama, a line appears to have been added (visible in small letters) that her pajama strings were untied. This matched the theory - formulated two years later - that her genitalia had been cleaned. Singh (sub-inspector) denied making this amateurish alteration of the document... The judge smiled... Bachu Singh offered a wonderfully simple explanation for it in court: 'Hum aise hi karte hain' (this is how we do it)."

    Conclusion

    The law does not favor one form of evidence over another. What matters on a case-by-case basis is that each piece of evidence, which is direct evidence and circumstantial evidence, should be given great weight. These vary on a case-by-case basis depending on the facts of the case. Circumstantial evidence is very often debated because it has less weight and value compared to direct evidence. But this is not always true in practice and under the law.

    It can be stated that the principle of "last seen together" has been applied by the courts so cautiously that if there is no corroborative or circumstantial evidence, no conviction has been given. Any mistake or distortion of fact can cost the life of the accused who claims to be innocent. The circumstance of the last seen theory together does not lead to the conclusion that the crime was committed by the accused. The connection between the accused and the crime must be something more fundamental. However, the principles help the courts shift the burden of proof to the accused and the accused could create an interface in the chain of circumstantial evidence. Otherwise, he gets no benefit of the doubt.

    At last, it can be firmly extrapolated that the Aarushi Talwar murder case continued to be the epitome of what we now call the 'perfect murder mystery'. Despite the fact that there is extensive evidence and exhibits, the abstract count of evidence was very complex because the chain of circumstances must be consistent with the chain of evidence. However, on reading the judgment of the Ghaziabad Trial Court and the judgment of the Allahabad High Court, the reader feels that the second judgment is more accurate and precise as the precedents cited by the court were largely consistent with the circumstances suggested in this case .

    References
    Books
    1. Batuk Lal, The law of evidence Central Law Agency, (22nd Edition)
    2. Ratanlal and Dhirajlal , The law of edition , Lexis nexis (24th Edition )
    3. Avirook Sen, Aarushi, Penguin Books Ltd. (2015), p.256 (hereinafter Arushi)
    Websites:
    1. https://www.livelaw.in/news-updates/uttarakhand-high-court-circumstantial-evidence-legal-proof-chain-of-events-199724
    2. https://thelawbrigade.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/KrishnaPareekh.pdf
    3. https://www.latestlaws.com/latth est-news/supreme-court-last-seen-alive-weak-circumstantial-evidence-sustain-conviction-murder case
    Cases:
    1. Jaswant Gir v. State of Punjab (2005)
    2. Bodhraj V. State of J&K" – 2002
    3. Chandmal vs Province of Rajasthan
    4. Kashi Ram V. State of Rajasthan" – 2006SC
    5. Khem Karan Vs. State of Uttar Pradesh
    6. Sudam Pandey v. State of Bihar (2001

    Written By: Kaushiki Singh

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