Read Order: S.Murugesan Vs. The Inspector Of Police 

Tulip Kanth

Chennai, May 31, 2022: While dismissing a criminal revision petition, the Madras High Court has opined that getting the benefit of acquittal from the fact that the witnesses turned hostile cannot be termed as an ‘Honourable Acquittal’.

Referring to the judgment of the Apex Court in Union of India and others vs. Methu Meda, the Bench of Justice M.Nirmal Kumar said, “This Court as well as the Apex Court have held that the expression ‘Honourable Acquittal’ is unknown in the criminal law, it is in the service laws the same is employed and that to, it is clearly held that it is the Screening Committee or the Disciplinary Authority to decide upon each facts of the case to consider whether it is merely an acquittal or otherwise.”

The gist of the case is that a flex board, which was placed near Surya Bakery in Five road junction, Dharapuram was damaged by the petitioner and other accused due to prior enmity and political difference. Likewise, on the same day another flex board was also damaged. Hence, a case was registered and on conclusion of the trial, the Trial Court acquitted the petitioner and the other accused. Thus, the petitioner filed this petition seeking a  declaration that  the acquittal was an honorary acquittal. 

The Bench took note of the fact that the complaint was lodged by the prosecution witness against the other rival group in the party, FIR was registered against unknown persons and thereafter, during investigation finding the role of the petitioner and the other accused, both of them were arrested. It was also highlighted by the Bench that some witnesses turned hostile and did not support the prosecution’s case of the prosecution. As per the Bench this could have been for the fact that the witnesses were all from the same political party and there could have been an intra-party rivalry which could have been later resolved.

So, considering these aspects, Justice Kumar held that the witnesses turned hostile and thereafter getting benefit out of the same, and getting acquittal could in no way be termed as a Honourable Acquittal. Hence, it was held by the High Court that the petitioner’s plea to declare the acquittal order made on the file of the Assistant Sessions Judge, Dharapuram as Honourable Acquittal was not sustainable.

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