Upholding the life sentence on 10 TDP supporters for the murder of two Congress workers, the Supreme Court has ruled that non-framing of a particular charge does not necessarily entitle the accused to acquittal.
“In unmistakable terms, Section 464 (CrPC) specifies that a finding or sentence of a court shall not be set aside merely on the ground that a charge was not framed or that the charge was defective unless it has occasioned in prejudice.
“Because of a mere defect in language or in the narration or in form of the charge, the conviction would not be rendered bad if the accused has not been adversely affected thereby, ” a bench of Justices D K Jain and R M Lodha observed in a judgement while dismissing the appeal of Anna Reddy Sambasiva Reddy.
In this case, some of the convicts took the plea that their conviction cannot be sustained as the sessions court convicted them under Section 302 IPC (murder) besides Section 149 (common object) though no charge was framed against them under the latter section.
It was their contention that since only a few of the accused had participated in the actual killing, the others cannot be held liable merely because they were present with the killers at the scene of offence.
However, the apex court rejected the argument and observed “Code of Criminal Procedure is designed to further the ends of justice and not to frustrate them by introduction of hyper-technicalities.”