Additional sessions judge Sanjay Deshmukh, while acquitting the four accused of kidnapping and killing 16-year-old Adnan Patrawala in 2007, stressed the need for an amendment to the Indian Evidence Act.
On February 1, justice Deshmukh acquitted Sujit Nair, Rajiv Dhariya, Ayush Bhat and Amit Kaushal, because the prosecution failed to prove its case "beyond reasonable doubts" against the accused.
Justice Deshmukh, in his judgment, observed, "We have the old Evidence Act of 1872. That was enacted in the regime of the British. There is a lot of change in society. The acquittal rate in criminal matters is high because of the required standard of proof beyond reasonable doubt."
The judgment found several procedural loopholes in the investigation into the Patrawala case. It doubted the credibility of the evidence collected by the police from the accused as well as the spot where the boy's body was found in Vashi. According to the judgment, the police failed to follow the formal procedure of maintaining records of the evidence to be produced in court.
Further, the judgement said the chemical analysis report of Adnan's clothes, ignored by the prosecution, could have established the presence of the accused on the spot. "The panch witnesses, who were present when Adnan's clothes were seized from the spot, were not examined by the prosecution in court. Therefore, it is doubtful evidence," the court observed.
The court also observed that the prosecution failed to establish the complete chain of circumstances in the case. "Finding blood, earth and pepper powder on Adnan's clothes and shoes is not sufficient to draw inference against the accused. It does not establish a complete chain. No conviction can be made on such doubtful evidence," the court observed.