The determination of criminal liability requires precise evaluation of testimonies and careful analysis of each piece of evidence. To conclude the guilt of an accused, there must be concrete evidence “beyond reasonable doubt”. But one can hardly accuse Judge Yagnik of sticking to this maxim.
In the first part of this analysis of the 2002 case against Maya Kodnani (read here), I had questioned the one-sided approach of Judge Jyotsna Yagnik in handling her case, which ended in a conviction and a 28-year jail sentence. In this part, I am providing a few salient instances of how Yagnik, during the course of trial, drew adverse inferences against Kodnani that did not convince one of her neutrality.Due to this presumption against Kodnani, Judge Yagnik violated a cardinal principle of criminal jurisprudence, which states that if there are two views possible while analysing circumstantial evidence, one pointing towards the guilt of the accused and the other to her innocence, the court should take the view which is favourable to the accused.
One such case is that of
Siddiqbhai Allabax Mansuri (prosecution witness-236), who testified before the
court that Kodnani came in a Maruti car. This witness says that Kodnani arrived
at the scene of crime at 8.30 am or 9 am. As per his testimony, the mob started
reciting slogans of 'Jai Shri
seeing Kodnani. He further says that he saw Kodnani speaking to the mob, and
instructed her PA to take out weapons from the jeep and distribute them among
the mob (Pages 644-45).
|Jyotsna Yagnik visiting Naroda Patia before giving her judgement in 2002 riot case|