Does the missing body of the victim not directly guilt the accused? written by Shatakshi Kakkar, student at Symbiosis Law School, NOIDA
SANJAY RAJAK V. THE BIHAR STATE
The present case is an appeal by Appellant Sanjay Rajak to the Hon’ble Supreme Court against the decision of the High Court. The applicant questions his conviction under Section 364A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) of 1860, ie the offense of kidnapping Purposes of obtaining a ransom, punishable by either the death penalty or life imprisonment and a fine. A child around 5 or 6 years old was abducted after school by the appellate leader and his co-defendant Balram. Balram had been acquitted by the High Court, thus acquitting the applicant on charges of criminal conspiracy under Section 120-B of the IPC. However, since the applicant had not been acquitted of any other charges and was sentenced to life imprisonment, he forwarded this complaint to the Supreme Court.
The victim in the following case is a child of around 5-6 years. He is a schoolboy and was kidnapped from school by co-defendant Balram, who also made the ransom demands on his parents. In the case, there were various witnesses who made statements against the defendant and the co-defendant. The only point of contention was that no body of the child had been recovered, and the applicant’s case rests on that single fact, which is that, since the body was not recovered, it leaves room for doubt as to whether there was even a kidnapping incident or not.
The problem in the above case is that the case can be dismissed due to a lack of “corpus delecti”, ie the crime scene.
After analyzing all the facts, problems and circumstances of the case, the court dismissed the complaint. The Hon’ble Supreme Court enlisted the aid of various precedents such as Rama Nand and others against Himachal Pradesh state, Sevaka Perumal and another against Tamil Nadu state, Iqbal and another against Uttar Pradesh state, and Lohit Kaushal against. the state of Haryana and re-established the principles already adopted in those earlier cases that the “corpus delecti” or the body of crime is not the absolute necessity to prove the crime. If all other facts and circumstances are proven in court against the accused and only the victim’s body is missing, the case cannot be fully closed and the accused cannot be released. Taking into account these precedents, the witnesses, and all the facts and circumstances of the case, the Court upheld the applicant’s conviction under Section 364 A IPC.
The following case of Sanjay Rajak against Bihar State restored the fact that adherence to the doctrine of the old “body” doctrine, that is, it is important that the victim’s body be disposed of for the purpose of establishing the crime. This doctrine creates a great loophole through which the people who can destroy the body can roam free even after heinous crimes. Therefore, the victim’s body should not be treated as the sole and primary evidence, and even if the body is unavailable or recoverable, the defendant, despite the lack of corpus, should be tried if the other facts are sufficient to prove the crime.