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'Adnan's murder is going unpunished'

Judge Deshmukh says Evidence Act not updated to keep abreast of modern times
 
Decrying the outdated nature of the Indian judicial system, Judge S A Deshmukh systematically laid out why the youths accused of murdering Adnan Patrawala in 2007 managed to walk free.

In a 125-page judgment released yesterday, Judge Deshmukh of the Sessions Court stated that though evidence had been found to conclude that Adnan's death had been a homicide, it was not enough to convict the accused, as a result of which they were given the benefit of doubt.

After over four years behind bars, the four accused -- Sujit Nair (31), Ayush Bhat (21), Raj Dharaiya (25) and Amit Kaushal (28) were all acquitted last month by the Sessions Court  of charges of extortion, kidnapping and murder, as the court felt that evidence collected by the police was weak. Advocate Ashish Chavan had defended Nair.

Judge Deshmukh observed, "It will not be out of place to mention that unfortunately, innocent Adnan's murder is going unpunished. It is painful. But I cannot be swayed by the shocking and revolting crime. I have to consider the case on the basis of evidence... and fact and circumstances."

He also mentioned that the Indian Evidence Act, 1872 is 'old', implying that the law had not been updated to keep abreast of the times.

He even suggested that the standard of the burden of proof -- 'beyond reasonable doubt' -- was too high, and a middle path was required in the matter of accepting evidence in criminal trials. He observed, "There is tremendous scientific research. People are escaping by taking advantage of it. In such circumstances the old Evidence Act is not helpful."

Loopholes in the investigation
The photographer who took pictures of the crime scene was not examined, nor were any of the photos put on record. The fingerprint experts' reports were not produced. The call details of some prosecution witnesses were not produced to show that they were present at the scene of crime and witnessed the incriminating acts of the accused. Evidence procured from the TV channel that had broadcast the death of Adnan a day before the accused Sujit Nair 'showed' the body to the police, was not recorded.

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