In ‘Siddhartha Vashisht @ Manu Sharma v. NCT of Delhi (2010)’, the Supreme Court laid down some principles to be kept in mind by Appellate Court while dealing with appeals, particularly, against the order of acquittal:
(i) There is no limitation on the part of the Appellate Court to review the evidence upon which the order of acquittal is found.
(ii) The Appellate Court in an appeal against acquittal can review the entire evidence and come to its own conclusions.
(iii) The Appellate Court can also review the Trial Court’s conclusion with respect to both facts and law.
(iv) While dealing with the appeal preferred by the State, it is the duty of the Appellate Court to marshal the entire evidence on record and by giving cogent and adequate reasons set aside the judgment of acquittal.
(v) An order of acquittal is to be interfered only when there are “compelling and substantial reasons” for doing so. If the order is “clearly unreasonable”, it is a compelling reason for interference.
(vi) While sitting in judgment over an acquittal the Appellate Court is first required to seek an answer to the question whether finding of the Trial Court are palpably wrong, manifestly, erroneous or demonstrably unsustainable. If the Appellate Court answers the above question in the negative the order of acquittal is not to be disturbed.
Conversely, if the Appellate Court holds, for reasons to be recorded, that the order of acquittal cannot at all be sustained in view of any of the above infirmities, it can reappraise the evidence to arrive at its own conclusion.
(vii) When the Trial Court has ignored the evidence or misread the material evidence or has ignored material documents like dying declaration/report of Ballistic Experts etc., the Appellate Court is competent to reverse the decision of the Trial Court depending on the materials placed.
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