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Relationship is not a ground affecting the credibility of a witness.

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KEYWORDS:-Related witness

It is fairly well-settled that relationship is not a ground affecting the credibility of a witness. In Mohabbat v. State of M.P., (2009) 13 SCC 630, this Court held as under:-

“11. Learned counsel for the respondent State on the other hand supported the judgment of the High Court.

“12. Merely because the eyewitnesses are family members their evidence cannot per se be discarded. When there is allegation of interestedness, the same has to be established. Mere statement that being relatives of the deceased they are likely to falsely implicate the accused cannot be a ground to discard the evidence which is otherwise cogent and credible. We shall also deal with the contention regarding interestedness of the witnesses for furthering the prosecution version.

13. ‘5. … Relationship is not a factor to affect credibility of a witness. It is more often than not that a relation would not conceal actual culprit and make allegations against an innocent person. Foundation has to be laid if plea of false implication is made. In such cases, the court has to adopt a careful approach and analyse evidence to find out whether it is cogent and credible. ……… To the same effect are the decisions in State of Punjab v. Jagir Singh (1974) 3 SCC 277, Lehna v. State of Haryana (2002) 3 SCC 76 (SCC pp. 81-82, paras 5-9) and Gangadhar Behera v. State of Orissa (2002) 8 SCC 381.” The above position was also highlighted in Babulal Bhagwan Khandare v. State of Maharashtra (2005) 10 SCC 404, Salim Sahab v. State of M.P. (2007) 1 SCC 699 and Sonelal v. State of M.P. (2008) 14 SCC 692 (SCC pp. 695-97, paras 12-13).”

As held in various decisions, judicial approach has to be cautious in dealing with such evidence. It is unreasonable to contend that evidence given by related witness should be discarded only on the ground that such witness is related.[ Motiram Padu Joshi and Others Vs. State of Maharashtra –Criminal Appeal No. 1479 of 2015 decided on July 10, 2018]

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