Burden of Proof – Indian Evidence Law

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Gavate v. State of Maharashtra (pp.126-133)

The matter relates to four groups of lands, which were sought to be acquired under the provisions of the Land Acquisition Act. When a person is bound to prove the existence of any fact, it is said that the burden of proof lies on that person. The petitioner has to either lead evidence or show that some evidence has come from side of the respondents to indicate that his challenge to a notification or order is made good. If he does not succeed in discharging that duty his petition will fail. The public purpose indicate that the  development is for industrial and residential purposes. The very statement of the public purposes for which the land was to be acquired indicated the absence of such urgency, on the apparent facts of the case, as to require the elimination of an enquiry under s.5A of the Land Acquisition Act. The Apex Court held that instead of prolonging litigation by appealing to this court, the state government had ordered expeditious enquiries under s.5A of Land Acquisition Act or act under s.17 (4) of the act, asking them to show cause why no enquiry under s.5A of the Act should have taken place at all. The Court held that there is no force in either the appeal by the owners of land or in those preferred by the State of Maharashtra. Dismiss the appeal.

Shambhu Nath Mehra v. State of Ajmer

Appellant S.N.Mehra, a camp clerk in the office of the Divisional Engineer Telegraphs has been convicted of offences under s.420 of IPC and s.5 (2) of the Prevention of Corruption Act. The general rule that in a criminal case the burden of proof is on the prosecution and s.106 is certainly not intended to relieve it of that duty. The s. 106 cannot be used to undermine the well-established rule of law that, save in a very exceptional class of case, the burden is on the prosecution and never shifts. The information was as much within their special knowledge as in that of the appellant, it is difficult to see how, with all relevant books and other materials in knowledge of the appellant after such a lapse of time however much it may once have been there. The appellant has been put upon this trial, the prosecution has had ample opportunity to prove its case and it can certainly not complain of want of time to search for and prepare its savour of harassment to allow the continuance of such a trial without the slightest indication that there is additional evidence available which could not have been discovered and produced with the exercise of diligence at the earlier stages. The Apex Court restored the order of the Session Court acquitting the appellant.

Amba Lal v. Union of India

The appellant though purchased the said smuggled good he argued that he is not concerned with importation of the goods contrary to the prohibition or restriction imposed by or under Chapter IV of the Sea Customs Act. The finding of the case is that appellant with the knowledge that the goods had been smuggled into India kept the goods and therefore he was liable to penalty under that section.

Collector of Customs, Madras v. D. Bhoormal

Some information was received that some packages containing smuggled goods had been left by a person in the premises of M/s. Sha Rupaji Rikhabdas and that these packages were about to dispatched to Bangalore for disposal. D. Bhoormull had asked one of the staff of Shri Rupaji Rikhabdas to keep the goods in their shop until his return. The reading of section 167 (8) of Sea Customs Act, goods found to be smuggled can, be confiscated without proceeding against any person and without ascertaining who is their real owner or who was actually concerned in their illicit import. But it cannot be disputed that in proceeding for imposing penalties under clause (8) of s.167 the burden of proving that the goods are smuggled goods, is on the Dept. The department would be deemed to have discharged its burden if it adduces only so much evidence, circumstantial or direct, as if sufficient to raise a presumption in its favor with regard to the existence of the facts sought to be proved. The circumstantial evidence suggests that the inference that the goods were illicitly imported into India, and was similar and reasonably pointed towards the conclusion drawn by the Collector. Collector had given the fullest opportunity to Bhoormull to establish the alleged acquisition of the goods in the normal course of business. The Supreme Court quashed the High Court’s judgment and revered the judgment by agreeing with the order of Collector Customs.

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