The Scarf of the Deceased: A Legal Case Summary

In a landmark decision by the Supreme Court of India, the case revolving around the recovery of the scarf of the deceased has taken a significant turn. The appellants, previously convicted by the High Court, have been acquitted of all charges. This case, which gripped the nation, sheds light on the intricacies of circumstantial evidence and the concept of guilt beyond reasonable doubt. Justice has been served as the accused walk free. #SupremeCourt #LegalCase #Innocence #Acquitted


  • The recovery of the Scarf of the deceased was a key piece of evidence
  • Recovery of the drawing book with pages used for threatening letter implicated the appellants
  • PW5 witnessed the appellants with the rexin bag containing the dead body
  • These circumstances were deemed sufficient by the High Court to convict the appellants
  • The appellants appealed the judgment and order of conviction by the Trial Court
  • The High Court dismissed the appeal and upheld the convictions under Sections 364-A, 201, and 302 read with 34 IPC
  • The Trial Court had sentenced both appellants to 10 years for Section 364-A IPC and life imprisonment for Section 302 read with Section 34 IPC
  • Sentence for Section 201 read with Section 34 IPC was not separately recorded
  • All sentences were to run concurrently
  • The FIR initially named someone else as a suspect.
  • The minor girl went missing on 08.01.2006 while playing in front of her house.
  • Threatening calls were made to the father of the missing girl on 11.01.2006 and 12.01.2006.
  • Appellants were not named in the FIR, but confessional statements led to the recovery of incriminating items.
  • Various items related to the missing girl were found in the appellants’ houses after their arrest.
  • The dead body of the girl was found in a rexin bag in the Dam.
  • Multiple witnesses testified regarding calls made from STD booths and items found at the appellants’ houses.

Also Read: Legal Analysis: Sheikh Noorul Hassan vs. Nahakpam Indrajit Singh – Permissibility of Subsequent Pleading in Election Petition Proceedings


  • The Court emphasized that circumstances must be established as ‘must or should’ and not ‘may be’.
  • No forensic analysis or handwriting expert examination was done to link the threatening letter to the appellants.
  • Circumstance No. 4 indicated that the accused carried the dead body in a rexine bag a day after the girl went missing.
  • Post-mortem indicated death occurred 3 to 7 days prior, contradicting the timeline of events presented by the prosecution.
  • The ownership or control of mobile numbers receiving threatening calls from the appellants was not firmly established.
  • Identification of appellants by one witness for making calls does not directly link the calls to the intended victims.
  • All circumstances in a case based on circumstantial evidence must form a complete chain of evidence excluding any other hypothesis.
  • The body was discovered ten days after the supposed date of death, raising questions about the timeline presented by the prosecution.
  • The circumstances from which the conclusion of guilt is drawn should be fully proved and must be conclusive in nature.
  • All the circumstances should be complete and there should be no gap left in the chain of evidence.
  • The proved circumstances must be consistent only with the hypothesis of the guilt of the accused and totally inconsistent with his innocence.
  • In cases based on circumstantial evidence, the circumstances must be cogently and firmly established, forming a chain so complete that there is no escape from the conclusion of guilt within human probability.
  • The circumstances should be incapable of explanation on any hypothesis other than the guilt of the accused and inconsistent with their innocence.
  • The law requires that the circumstances from which an inference of guilt is drawn must be proved beyond reasonable doubt and closely connected with the principal fact sought to be inferred.
  • The cumulative effect of the circumstances must negate the innocence of the accused and bring home the offences beyond any reasonable doubt.
  • The facts established should be consistent only with the hypothesis of the guilt of the accused, exclude every possible hypothesis except the one to be proved, and form a chain of evidence so complete as to leave no reasonable ground for the conclusion consistent with the innocence of the accused.
  • The principle of circumstantial evidence mandates that before a case against an accused can be fully established, the circumstances from which the conclusion of guilt is drawn must be fully established and all incriminating facts must be incompatible with the innocence of the accused or the guilt of any other person.
  • The circumstances presented do not form a complete chain of events that leave no reasonable doubt or exclude every possible hypothesis except the one to be proved.
  • The circumstances at Serial Nos. 2, 5, and 6 are considered, but in the totality of the circumstances, the prosecution has failed to establish the case against the appellants.

Also Read: CRPF Act: Validity of Rule 27 for Compulsory Retirement – Case of Head Constable vs. CRPF


  • The appellants are entitled to the benefit of doubt.
  • The appeal is allowed, and the appellants are acquitted of the charges against them.
  • The appellants are to be released immediately unless they are needed in custody for any other offense.

Also Read: DAMEPL vs. DMRC: Curative Petition and Arbitral Award Restoration


Case Number: Crl.A. No.-000042-000042 / 2018

Click here to read/download original judgement

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *