Tamil Nadu

HC discharges woman medical student from theft case

The Madras High Court has discharged a medical student from a criminal case booked against her on the charge of trespassing into her landlord’s house using the keys handed over to her in good faith and stealing gold jewellery worth ₹75 lakh. It was alleged that she had broken open a locker with the assistance of her classmate.

Justice V. Bharathidasan reversed a lower court order refusing to discharge her from the case booked by Vishnu Kanchi police in Kancheepuram district in 2014. The judge said that there was no prima facie evidence to prosecute the medical student but for a reported confession made by the co-accused.

“Confession of co-accused cannot be elevated to the status of substantive evidence... The court shall not start with the confession of co-accused. It must first consider the other available evidence and after forming an opinion with regard to quality and veracity of the evidence, it can use the confession to lend assurance to the other evidence.

“Further, it is settled law that at the time of framing charges, the court can sift and weigh the materials available on record for a limited purpose to find out as to whether a prima facie case is made out against the accused and the materials available on record disclose a clear suspicion against the accused.

Prosecution’s case

According to the prosecution, the incident occurred on February 10, 2014 when the petitioner was in the second year of her MBBS course and was residing as a tenant on the first floor of a residential building. The house owner, occupying the ground floor, had handed over his keys to her before leaving the house to attend a marriage reception.

The prosecution alleged that the woman sought the assistance of her male classmate to break open a locker in the bedroom and steal the jewels which were handed over to a female classmate staying at the college hostel.

The police had listed the petitioner’s male classmate as the first accused and her as the second.

After discharging her, Justice Bharathidasan directed the lower court concerned to proceed with the trial against the sole accused and decide the case on merits without being influenced by observations made by him while deciding the present revision petition.

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Printable version | Apr 15, 2021 3:39:34 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/hc-discharges-woman-medical-student-from-theft-case/article19878422.ece

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