CBI judge’s approach draws flak
New Delhi: While overturning the CBI court’s conviction of Rajesh and Nupur Talwar for the murder of their daughter Aarushi and domestic help Hemraj Banjade, Allahabad high court was highly critical of CBI judge Shyam Lal and devoted a separate opinion to comment upon his “style and approach”. The high court said that the judge had “assumed fictional animation of incident as to what actually took place inside and outside Flat L 32, Jalvayu Vihar”, in which the murders had taken place.
The bench listed the series of errors, missteps and “fanciful whim” of the trial judge in a separate10-page opinion written by Justice A K Mishra as part of the 273-page judgment delivered on Thursday. The high court stressed that a trial judge “is supposed to be fair and transparent and should act as a man of ordinary prudence and he should not stretch his imagination to infinity rendering the whole exercise mockery of law”.
And yet, the court said, judge Lal had “prejudged things in his own fashion, drawn conclusion by embarking on erroneous analogy conjecturing to the brim on apparent facts telling a different story propelled by vitriolic reasoning”.
Justice Mishra compared the CBI judge to a film director for trying to “thrust coherence amongst facts inalienably scattered here and there but not giving any coherence to the idea as to what in fact happened”. The 10-page opinion also likened judge Lal to a mathematics teacher solving a problem. “The learned trial judge took evidence and circumstances for granted and tried to solve it like a mathematical puzzle when one solves a given question and then takes something for granted in order to solve that puzzle and question,” the opinion noted.
The high court bench held the circumstantial evidence against the Talwars was insufficient to hold them guilty, and that they should have been given the benefit of doubt. Justice Mishra said the trial judge convicted them without considering that in cases related to circumstantial evidence, "things cannot be presumed and stuffed in a manner like the present one by adhering to self-created postulates then to roam inside the circle with all fanciful whim".
Justice Mishra pointed out that in all criminal trials, the analogies had to be drawn and confined within the domain and realm of the evidence available, and said the trial judge had been “unmindful” of the basic tenets of law and its applicability, and had, therefore, “failed” to properly appraise facts and evaluate evidence.