Acquittal Upheld: State v. Bhanwar Lal

In a landmark judgment, the Supreme Court of India has upheld the acquittal in the case of State v. Bhanwar Lal. The State had appealed against the High Court’s decision, but the Supreme Court has confirmed the decision to set Bhanwar Lal free. This ruling emphasizes the importance of credible and reliable evidence in legal proceedings.


  • The State has preferred an appeal against the acquittal of Bhanwar Lal – Original Accused No. 3 by the High Court.
  • The High Court confirmed the conviction of Jodhraj and Jagdish Prasad – Original Accused Nos. 1 and 12 based on the depositions of PW2 and PW3.
  • The convicted accused Jodhraj and Jagdish Prasad were sentenced to life imprisonment by the Learned Trial Court.
  • The prosecution’s case is that a group of 14 individuals, including Jodhraj, Hemraj, Bhanwar Lal, and others, formed an unlawful assembly and caused injuries to Hariram on the night of May 22, 2005.
  • The injuries sustained by Hariram according to the injury report include abrasions on the forehead, an incised wound on the neck, and a grievous wound on the abdomen.
  • To prove the case, the prosecution presented 18 witnesses, including eye-witnesses PW2 Om Prakash and PW3 Ram Dayal.
  • The prosecution also submitted documentary evidence such as the injury report of Hariram to support their case.

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  • The High Court has acquitted Bhanwar Lal based on the non-reliance on the deposition of PW2 and PW3.
  • Injury No.3, attributed to Accused Jagdish Prasad, was considered fatal by the State.
  • The State argues that no reliance can be placed upon the deposition of PW2 and PW3 concerning the appellants/accused.
  • The appellants-convicts’ Counsel argues that the High Court solely relied on PW2 and PW3’s deposition for confirming the conviction.
  • The appellants Jodhraj and Jagdish Prasad’s Counsel contends that the High Court erred in confirming their conviction, similar to Bhanwar Lal’s case.
  • The Counsel claims that PW2 and PW3’s statements were exaggerated and recorded after 18 days.
  • The grounds for Bhanwar Lal’s acquittal should apply to the appellants as well, based on the disbelief in PW2 and PW3’s deposition.
  • PW2 attributed Injury No 3 to Jagdish Prasad
  • Prior incident proved from PW2’s deposition
  • Deposition of PW2 considered reliable and believable
  • Jagdish Prasad rightly convicted for Injury No.3
  • Jodhraj rightly convicted for Injury No.2
  • Acquitted Accused Bhanwar Lal supported by his counsel
  • High Court provided cogent reasons for acquitting Bhanwar Lal
  • High Court’s acquittal of Bhanwar Lal to be upheld

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  • The High Court confirmed the conviction of the Appellants, Jodhraj and Jagdish Prasad, based on the statements of PW2 and PW3.
  • The benefit of doubt was given to one accused based on unreliable deposition of PW2 and PW3, raising questions about the reliability of their testimony.
  • The principle of treating all accused equally unless there is additional evidence against them is highlighted.
  • The High Court did not accept the deposition of PW2 and PW3 in relation to accused Bhanwar Lal, indicating inconsistencies or unreliability in their testimonies.
  • The need to distinguish credible evidence from unreliable testimony is emphasized in order to ensure a fair judgment.
  • The High Court has erred in confirming the conviction of the appellant solely based on the deposition of PW2 and PW3.
  • The deposition of PW2 and PW3 was doubted by the High Court and not relied upon in the case of one of the accused, Bhanwar Lal.
  • The reasoning applied in acquitting Bhanwar Lal should also be applied in the appellant’s case as no other evidence implicates them apart from the deposition of PW2 and PW3.
  • The High Court provided cogent reasons for not believing the deposition of PW2 and PW3.
  • In view of the lack of evidence except for the deposition of PW2 and PW3, the appeal of accused Jodhraj and Jagdish Prasad is allowed.

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  • The appeal filed by the State challenging the High Court’s decision to acquit the accused, Bhanwar Lal, has been dismissed.
  • Accused Bhanwar Lal is to be set free immediately, unless needed in another case.
  • The High Court’s judgment and order as well as the Trial Court’s decision convicting the accused under Sections 302/149 IPC have been quashed and both accused have been acquitted based on the benefit of doubt.
  • The accused have been acquitted for the offenses they were tried for.


Case Number: Crl.A. No.-001779-001779 / 2019

Click here to read/download original judgement

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