Law Digests

Advocatetanmoy Digest of Evidence Act

LAST SEEN THEORY

“In the absence of proof of other circumstances, the only circumstance of last seen together and absence of satisfactory explanation cannot be made the basis of conviction.”

State of Goa Vs Sanjay Thakran, 2007) 3 SCC 755, Brahm Swaroop Vs State of UP, 6 SCC 288 and Anjan Kumar Sharma and others Vs State of Assam, (2017) SCC online 622


EXTRA JUDICIAL CONFESSION

Extrajudicial confession by itself is a piece of very weak evidence.

State of Punjab Vs Bhajan Singh, AIR 1975 SC 258, Balwinder Singh Vs State of Punjab, 1996 SCC (Cri) 59, Makhan Singh Vs State of Punjab, 1988 (Supp) SCC 526


EVIDENCE OF DISCOVERY OF INCRIMINATING ARTICLES AT THE INSTANCE OF APPELLANTS

Devi Lal Vs State of Rajasthan (Criminal Appeal No. 148 of 2010 decided on 8.1.2019 while
dealing with circumstantial evidence, observed as under:-
“14. The classic enunciation of law pertaining to circumstantial evidence, its relevance and decisiveness, as a proof of charge of a criminal offence, is amongst others traceable decision of the court in Sharad Birdhichand Sarda Vs State of Maharashtra, 1984 (4) SCC
116.

Shivaji Sahabrao Bobade and Another Vs State of Maharashtra (1973) 2 SCC 793 where the observations were made:
“Certainly, it is a primary principle that the accused must be and not merely may be guilty before a court can convict and the mental distance between ‘may be’ and must be’ is long and divides vague conjectures from sure conclusions.”

Sujit Biswas Vs State of Assam, 2013(12) SCC 406 and Raja Alias Rajinder Vs State of Haryana, 2015 (11) SCC 43. It has been propounded that while scrutinizing the circumstantial evidence, a court has to evaluate it to ensure the chain of events is established clearly and completely to rule out any reasonable likelihood of innocence of the accused.


NONRECOVERY OF WEAPONS USED BY THE ACCUSED PERSON

The entire prosecution case cannot be brushed aside when it is proved by ocular evidence and corroborated by medical evidence. Similar view has been taken earlier by the Apex Court in the case of Amit Vs. State of U.P. (2012) 4 SCC 107


PROSECUTION FAILED TO EXAMINE OTHER EYEWITNESS

prosecution has failed to examine other witnesses, it is not the quantity of the evidence but the quality of the evidence that is to be considered. Govindaraju alias Govinda Vs. State: (2012) 4 SCC 722.


 IMPORTANCE OF FIR IN MURDER CASE

FIR in a criminal case and particularly in a murder case is a vital and valuable piece of evidence for the purpose of appreciating the evidence led at the trial. Meharaj Singh (L/Nk.) v. State of U.P., (1994) 5 SCC 188,


ABSENCE OF MENTIONING CRIME NUMBER IN INQUEST OF MEDICAL REPORT

Absence of mention of crime number in inquest report or medical papers by itself is not significant to discard the FIR as ante-timed or to disbelieve the prosecution case, if otherwise the substantive evidence brings home the charge without reasonable doubt vide Mahmood v. State of U.P., (2007) 14 SCC 16; Jaishree Yadav v. State of UP, (2005) 9 SCC 788)


PROSECUTION HAS IMPLICATED EXTRA PEOPLE

If the prosecution has tried to implicate three persons– the father and the two sons, while only one or two of them might have assaulted the injured Santra Devi and positive role is assigned to the three accused persons, which is not corroborated by medical evidence, the court is left guessing about the exact number of assailants and the manner in which they may have assaulted the injured. Dinesh and Another V. State of Haryana
2001) reported in (2015) 17 SCC 804


NO SUFFICIENT MOTIVE IS SHOWN FOR FALSE IMPLICATION

The prosecution evidence is not to be accepted as gospel truth merely because no sufficient motive is shown for false implication. It may be observed that the apex court in Shankarlal Gyarasilal Dixit v. State of Maharashtra, (1981) 2 SCC 35 (paragraph 35) had observed that “different motives operate on the minds of different persons in the making of unfounded accusations. Besides, human nature is too willing, when faced with brutal crimes, to spin stories out of strong suspicions.”


DELAY IN LODGING FIR EXPLAINED

If delay in lodging FIR has been explained from evidence on record, no adverse inference can be drawn against prosecution merely on the ground that the FIR was lodged with delay. There is no hard and fast rule that any length of delay in lodging FIR would automatically render the prosecution case doubtful. In “Ravinder Kumar & Anr. Vs. State of Punjab”, (2001) 7SCC 690

  • Amar Singh Vs. Balwinder Singh & Ors. (2003) 2 SCC 518
  • Tara Singh V. State of Punjab AIR (1991) SC 63. “The delay in giving the FIR by
    itself cannot be a ground to doubt the prosecution case.
  • Sahebrao & Anr. Vs. State of Maharashtra (2006) 9 SCC 794
  • Palani V State of Tamilnadu, Criminal Appeal No. 1100 of 2009, decided on 27.11.2018, it was observed by the Hon’ble Supreme Court that in some cases delay in registration of FIR is inevitable. Even a long delay can be condoned if witness has no motive for falsely implicating the accused.

A WITNESS IS INTERESTED ONLY IF HE DERIVES BENEFIT FROM THE RESULT

In case the circumstances reveal that a witness was present on the scene of occurrence and had witnessed the crime, his deposition cannot be discarded merely on the ground of being closely related to the victim. Generally close relations of the victim are unlikely to falsely implicate anyone. Relationship is not sufficient to discredit a witness unless there is motive to give false evidence to spare the real culprit and falsely implicate an innocent person is alleged and proved. A witness is interested only if he derives benefit from the result of the case or as hostility to the accused. In case of State of Punjab Vs Hardam Singh, 2005, S.C.C. (Cr.) 834, it has been held by the Apex Court that ordinarily the mere relations of the deceased would not depose falsely against innocent persons so as to allow the real culprit to escape unpunished, rather the witness would always try to secure conviction of real culprit. In the case of Dilip Singh Vs State of Punjab, A.I.R. 1983, S.C. 364, it was held by the Supreme Court that the grounds that the witnesses being the close relatives and consequently being the partition witness would not be relied upon has no substance. Similar view has been taken by the Supreme Court in Harbans Kaur V
State of Haryana, 2005, S.C.C. (Crl.) 1213; and in State of U.P. vs. Kishan Chandra and others, 2004 (7), S.C.C. 629. The contention about branding the witnesses as ‘interested witness’ and credibility of close relationship of witnesses has been examined by Apex Court in number of cases. A close relative, who is a very natural witness in the circumstances of a case, cannot be regarded as an ‘interested witness’, as held by the Supreme Court in Dalbir Kaur v. State of Punjab, AIR 1977 SC 472. The mere fact that the witnesses were relations or interested would not by itself be sufficient to discard their evidence straight way unless it is proved that their evidence suffers from serious infirmities which raises considerable doubt in the mind of the court. Similar view was taken in case of State of Gujrat v. Naginbhai Dhulabhai Patel, AIR 1983 SC 839.


MEDICAL EVIDENCE ONLY PROVES THE INJURIES COULD HAVE BEEN CAUSED IN A MANNER ALLEGED

Medical evidence is only corroborative. It proves that the injuries could have been caused in the manner alleged and nothing more. Solanki Chimanbhai Ukabhai v. State of
Gujarat, AIR 1983 SC 484.The use which the defence can make of the medical evidence is to prove that the injuries could not possibly have been caused in the manner alleged and
thereby discredit the eye-witnesses.

A similar view has been taken in Mani Ram & Ors. v. State of U.P., 1994 Supp (2) SCC 289; Khambam Raja Reddy & Anr. v. Public Prosecutor, High Court of A.P., (2006) 11 SCC 239; and State of U.P. v. Dinesh, (2009) 11 SCC 566. In State of U.P. v. Hari Chand, (2009) 13 SCC 542, the Hon’ble Apex Court re-iterated the aforementioned position of law and stated
that in any event unless the oral evidence is totally irreconcilable with the medical evidence, it has primacy over the medical evidence.


 SPECIAL STATUS GRANTED TO INJURED WITNESS

In Jarnail Singh Vs. State of Punjab (2009) 9SCC 719, the Supreme Court reiterated the special evidentiary status accorded to the testimony of an injured accused. It was held that the fact that witness sustained injuries at the time and place of occurrence, lends support to his testimony that he was present during the occurrence. In case, the injured witness is subjected to lengthy cross-examination and nothing can be elicited to discard his testimony, it should be relied upon. Similar view was expressed in the case of Krishan v State of Haryana, (2006) 12 SCC 459. With respect to the evidence of victim, the upreme Court in Criminal Appeal Nos. 513-514 of 2014 decided on 09.01.2017 in case of aleshwar Mahto & Anr. v. State of Bihar & Anr., has reiterated the law laid down in case of
Abdul Sayeed v. State of Madhya Pradesh, (2010) 10 SCC 259.

Convincing evidence is required to discredit an injured witness.” [Vide Ramlagan Singh v. State of Bihar [(1973) 3 SCC 881:1973 SCC (Cri) 563:AIR 1972 SC 2593], Malkhan Singh v. State of U.P. [(1975) 3 SCC 311 : 1974 SCC (Cri) 919 : AIR 1975 SC 12], Machhi Singh v. State of Punjab [(1983) 3 SCC 470 : 1983 SCC (Cri) 681], Appabhai v. State of Gujarat [1988 Supp SCC 241 : 1988 SCC (Cri) 559 : AIR 1988 SC 696], Bonkya v. State of Maharashtra [(1995) 6 SCC 447 : 1995 SCC (Cri) 1113], Bhag Singh [(1997) 7 SCC 712 : 1997 SCC (Cri) 1163], Mohar v. State of U.P. [(2002) 7 SCC 606 : 2003 SCC (Cri) 121] (SCC p. 606b-c), Dinesh Kumar v. State of Rajasthan [(2008) 8 SCC 270 : (2008) 3 SCC (Cri) 472], Vishnu v. State of Rajasthan [(2009) 10 SCC 477 : (2010) 1 SCC (Cri) 302], Annareddy Sambasiva Reddy v. State of A.P. [(2009) 12 SCC 546 : (2010) 1 SCC (Cri) 630] and Balraje v. State of Maharashtra [(2010) 6
SCC 673 : (2010) 3 SCC (Cri) 211] 29. While deciding this issue, a similar view was taken in Jarnail Singh v. State of Punjab [(2009) 9 SCC 719 : (2010) 1 SCC (Cri) 107]


VICARIOUS LIABILITY

Allauddin Mian and Others, Sharif Mian and Anr. v. State of Bihar [JT 1989 (2) SC 171], Lalji and Ors. v. State of U.P. [JT 1989 (1) SC 109]; Ranbir Yadav v. State of Bihar [JT 1995 (3) SC 228]; Rachamreddy Chenna Reddy and Ors. v. State of A.P. [JT 1999 (1) SC 412] In prosecution of ”common object’ means ”in order to attain the common object’.


IF HOSTILE WITNESS SUPPORT PROSECUTION PARTIALLY THEN THAT PORTION COULD BE CONSIDERED

In-State of U.P. v/s Ramesh Prasad Misra and others, (1996) 10 SCC 360, it has been held that it is equally settled law that the evidence of a hostile witness would not be totally rejected if spoken in favour of the prosecution or the accused, but it can be subjected to close scrutiny and that portion of the evidence which is consistent with the case of the
prosecution or defence may be accepted.

In K. Anbazhagan v/s Superintendent of Police (2004) 3 SCC 767, Hon’ble Supreme Court has held that if a court finds that in the process the credit of the witness has not been completely shaken, he may after reading and considering the evidence of the witness as a whole with due caution, accept, in the light of the evidence on the record that part of his testimony which it finds to be creditworthy and act upon it. The finding of K. Anbazhagan vs. Superintendent of Police (supra) has been relied on by the Hon’ble Supreme Court in Ramesh and others vs. State of Haryana, (2017) 1 SCC 529


MOTIVE IN CRIMINAL OFFENCES SOMETIME IS NOT RELEVANT

In State of H.P. v/s Jeet Singh, (1999) 4 SCC 370, the Hon’ble Supreme Court in para 33 has held as under: “No doubt it is a sound principle to remember that every criminal act was
done with a motive but its corollary is not that no criminal offence would have been committed if the prosecution has failed to prove the precise motive of the accused to commit it. When the prosecution succeeded in showing the possibility of some ire for the accused towards the victim, the inability to further put on record the manner in which such ire would have swelled up in the mind of the offender to such a degree as to impel him to commit the offence cannot be construed as a fatal weakness of the prosecution. It
is almost an impossibility for the prosecution to unravel the full dimension of the mental disposition of an offender towards the person whom he offended.”
In Rajagopal vs. Muthupandi @ Thavakkalai and others, (2017) 11 SCC 120, the Hon’ble Supreme Court has held that motive need not be established where direct evidence is available and in the case of Rajesh Govind Jagesha vs. State of Maharashtra, (1999) 8 SCC 428, the Hon’ble Supreme Court has held that “motive” in a criminal case based on ocular
testimony of witnesses is not at all relevant. Supreme Court in the case of Rajagopal v/s Muthupandi @ Thavakkalai and others and Rajesh Govind Jagesha v/s State of Maharashtra (supra) in the instant case motive need not be established and the motive is not at all relevant.


 

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