Evidentiary Value of Child Witness & Interested Witness

IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION
CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 937 of 2008
State of Rajasthan …. Appellant
VERSUS
Chandgi Ram & Ors. ….
Respondents
J U D G M E N T
Fakkir Mohamed Ibrahim Kalifulla, J.
1. This appeal, at the instance of the State of Rajasthan is
directed against the judgment of the Division Bench of the High
Court of Rajasthan, Jaipur Bench dated 08.02.2007 in D.B.
Criminal Appeal No.977 of 2002.
2. By the impugned judgment, the Division Bench set aside
the conviction and sentence imposed on the Respondentsaccused
by the trial Court in Sessions Case No.3/2001 (108/2000)
vide judgment dated 10.07.2002. The trial Court found the
Respondents-accused guilty of the offence under Section 302
read with 34, IPC for which they were sentenced to life
imprisonment, apart from imposing a fine of Rs.500/- each and in
Criminal Appeal No.937/2008 1 of 26
Page 2
default to undergo simple imprisonment for 15 days each. They
were also convicted for the offence under Section 452 IPC and
sentenced to 3 years rigorous imprisonment apart from fine of
Rs.200/- each and in default to undergo simple imprisonment for
7 days each.
3. The case of the prosecution as projected before the trial
Court was that on 12.03.2000, at around 9 p.m., the deceased
Surender was conversing with his wife Choti (PW-1) and children
Kumari Sarita (PW-3) and Vikram (PW-15) in their house. At that
moment, the four accused suddenly barged into the house of the
deceased declaring that they wanted to kill him, and that in order
to save himself from them, the deceased ran to the back side of
the house and hid himself in the Khudi, from where the accused
pulled him out, dragged him to the house of Rajesh (A-3 herein)
s/o Pitram and while dragging him to the house of A-3 they kept
on assaulting him with the aid of iron rod, iron pipe and lathis.
After killing the deceased, the accused brought back the body to
the house of the deceased and left the same on a cot lying in the
verandah.
4. According to Choti (PW-1), her husband was killed by the
Respondents-accused due to prior animosity. It is not in dispute
Criminal Appeal No.937/2008 2 of 26
Page 3
that Rajesh (A-3) and the deceased are second cousins as their
grand fathers are blood brothers. The prosecution examined as
many as 15 witnesses (PWs-1 to 15) and marked 29 documents
(Exhibits P-1 to 29). On the defence side, 2 witnesses (DWs-1
and 2) were examined and 24 documents (Exhibits D-1 to 24)
were marked. Of the 15 witnesses examined on behalf of the
prosecution, PWs-1, 3, 8, 12 and 15 were eye witnesses. The High
Court, having interfered with the conviction and sentence
imposed by the trial Court, the State has come forward with this
appeal.
5. We heard Mr.Ram Naresh Yadav, learned Standing Counsel
for the Appellant and Mr.Abhishek Gupta, learned Counsel for the
Respondents-accused. Learned Counsel for the Appellant took us
through the evidence of the eye witnesses, the evidence of Dr.
Nathu Singh (PW-7), the post-mortem doctor, Exhibit P-1, the
written report filed by Choti (PW-1), Exhibit P-10, the postmortem
certificate and Exhibit P-29, the FSL report and submitted
that the prosecution proved the offence alleged against the
Respondents-accused with substantive legal evidence and the
interference by the High Court was wholly unjustified.
Criminal Appeal No.937/2008 3 of 26
Page 4
6. As against the above submissions, Mr.Abhishek Gupta,
learned Counsel for the Respondents-accused contended that the
version of the eye witnesses was wholly unnatural, contradictory
with each other and was improbable in nature. The learned
Counsel contended that there were material discrepancies in the
version of the eye witnesses account and, therefore, it was wholly
unreliable in order to convict the Respondents-accused. He also
contended that the delay in lodging the FIR was inexplicable
which was fatal to the case of the prosecution as the real genesis
of the occurrence was suppressed. The learned Counsel further
contended that considering the stand of the Respondentsaccused
in their 313 statement which was also supported by the
defence witnesses and the other evidence placed before the
Court, the judgment of the High Court does not call for
interference.
7. In support of his submission, learned Counsel for the
Respondents-accused relied upon the decisions in Yeshwant
and others The State of Maharashtra – (1972) 3 SCC 639,
Kansa Behera v. State of Orissa – (1987) 3 SCC 480 and
Surinder Singh v. State of Punjab – 1989 Supp. (2) SCC 21,
Din Dayal v. Raj Kumar alias Raju and Others – (1999) SCC
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(Crl.) 892, Raghunath v. State of Haryana and another –
(2003) 1 SCC 398, Mahtab Singh and Another v. State of
Uttar Pradesh – (2009) 13 SCC 670, Lahu Kamlakar Patil and
Another v. State of Maharashtra – (2013) 6 SCC 417.
8. Having heard the learned Counsel for the Appellant and the
Respondents-accused and having bestowed our serious
consideration to the judgments of the High Court and the trial
Court and the evidence placed before us, we are of the view that
the reasoning of the High Court in interfering with the conviction
imposed on the Respondents-accused by the trial Court lacks in
very many aspects when considered based on the abundant
evidence laid before the trial Court at the instance of the
prosecution.
9. When we peruse the evidence of PWs-1, 3, 8, 12 and 15,
who were all eye witnesses, though learned Counsel for the
Respondents-accused attempted to point out certain variations in
the eye witnesses account, we find that as far as the overall
genesis of the occurrence was concerned, the evidence of all the
above eye witnesses was cogent and there was not much of
discrepancy or contradiction in their versions. The evidence of
Choti (PW-1), as regards the narration of the occurrence, was
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clear and categoric when she referred to the approximate time at
which the occurrence took place when her husband was dragged
by the Respondents-accused from the Khudi to the house of A-3
and in that process he was severely beaten with iron rod, iron
pipe and lathis by each one of the accused.
10. The said version of Choti (PW-1) was fully corroborated by
PWs-3 and 15 who are none other than the children of the
deceased and Choti (PW-1). In fact, at the time of occurrence
Kumari Sarita (PW-3) was 7½ years old and Vikram (PW-15) was
1½ year younger than Kumari Sarita (PW-3). Further, in the
orientation of the witnesses, the trial Court has found that they
were fully conscious of what they were to state before the Court
and their answers to the questions did disclose that they were
able to understand the whole purpose of giving their evidence in
Court and as to on what matter they were supposed to give their
evidence. Even while narrating the incident, both the above
witnesses were able to fully support the version of Choti (PW-1)
as regards the involvement of each one of the accused, the
weapons used by them in that process and the ultimate death of
the deceased after such severe beating with the weapons used.
Criminal Appeal No.937/2008 6 of 26
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11. The learned Counsel for the Respondents-accused, while
making reference to the version of Kumari Sarita (PW-3) in the
cross-examination that on the date of occurrence at about 9-9.30
p.m. they went to sleep and submitted that the evidence of the
said eye witness cannot be relied upon. We see no good reason
to accept the said submission inasmuch as in our considered
opinion, considering the extent of statement made by the said
witness as regards the incident in a graphic manner, the said
stray statement about their going to sleep by 9-9.30 p.m. was an
insignificant one and on that basis it will be wholly inappropriate
to disbelieve the version of Kumari Sarita (PW-3), whose version
in all other respects was natural and fully supported the eye
witness account of Choti (PW-1).
12. Similarly, we find absolutely no discrepancy in the version
of Vikram (PW-15), who was even younger than Kumari Sarita
(PW-3) in age at the time of the occurrence but yet his version
before the Court as recorded by the trial Court disclosed that he
was only speaking the truth and he was able to give the required
details as regards the manner in which the occurrence took
place, the involvement of the Respondents-accused and the
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weapons which they used in that process and the ultimate killing
of his father at the instance of the Respondents-accused.
13. In this context, it is relevant to rely on a decision of this
Court reported in State of Madhya Pradesh v. Ramesh and
another – (2011) 4 SCC 786 wherein it laid down as to how the
evidence of a child witness should be assessed. Paragraphs 7, 11
and 14 which are relevant for our purpose, are as under:
“7. In Rameshwar v. State of Rajasthan this Court
examined the provisions of Section 5 of the Oaths Act,
1873 and Section 118 of the Evidence Act, 1872 and
held that (AIR p. 55, para 7) every witness is
competent to depose unless the court considers that
he is prevented from understanding the question put
to him, or from giving rational answers by reason of
tender age, extreme old age, disease whether of body
or mind or any other cause of the same kind. There is
always competency in fact unless the court considers
otherwise. The Court further held as under: (AIR p. 56,
para 11)
“11. … it is desirable that Judges and
Magistrates should always record their opinion
that the child understands the duty of speaking
the truth and state why they think that,
otherwise the credibility of the witness may be
seriously affected, so much so, that in some
cases it may be necessary to reject the evidence
altogether. But whether the Magistrate or Judge
really was of that opinion can, I think, be
gathered from the circumstances when there is
no formal certificate.”
11.The evidence of a child must reveal that he was
able to discern between right and wrong and the court
may find out from the cross-examination whether the
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defence lawyer could bring anything to indicate that
the child could not differentiate between right and
wrong. The court may ascertain his suitability as a
witness by putting questions to him and even if no
such questions had been put, it may be gathered from
his evidence as to whether he fully understood the
implications of what he was saying and whether he
stood discredited in facing a stiff cross-examination. A
child witness must be able to understand the sanctity
of giving evidence on oath and the import of the
questions that were being put to him. (Vide Himmat
Sukhadeo Wahurwagh v. State of Maharashtra.)
14. In view of the above, the law on the issue can be
summarised to the effect that the deposition of a child
witness may require corroboration, but in case his
deposition inspires the confidence of the court and
there is no embellishment or improvement therein, the
court may rely upon his evidence. The evidence of a
child witness must be evaluated more carefully with
greater circumspection because he is susceptible to
tutoring. Only in case there is evidence on record to
show that a child has been tutored, the court can
reject his statement partly or fully. However, an
inference as to whether child has been tutored or not,
can be drawn from the contents of his deposition.”
(Emphasis added)
14. To the same effect is the decision reported in
Shivasharanappa and others v. State of Karnataka (2013) 5
SCC 705. Paragraph 17 can be referred to as under:
“17. Thus, it is well settled in law that the court can
rely upon the testimony of a child witness and it can
form the basis of conviction if the same is credible,
truthful and is corroborated by other evidence brought
on record. Needless to say, the corroboration is not a
must to record a conviction, but as a rule of prudence,
the court thinks it desirable to see the corroboration
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from other reliable evidence placed on record. The
principles that apply for placing reliance on the
solitary statement of the witness, namely, that the
statement is true and correct and is of quality and
cannot be discarded solely on the ground of lack of
corroboration, apply to a child witness who is
competent and whose version is reliable.”
(emphasis added)
15. The learned Counsel for the Respondents-accused was
repeatedly contending that the version of the above witnesses
was wholly unnatural by pointing out that when the head of the
family was being attacked mercilessly by the four accused
persons, the witnesses were not taking any effort to seek the
help of their neighbours in the village, where all the houses were
closely situated. Here again, we are not able to accept or
appreciate the said contention for more than one reason. In the
first place, Choti (PW-1) is the wife of the deceased who at that
point of time was more concerned in rescuing her husband from
the attack of the Respondents-accused who were four in number
and who were fully armed with iron rod, iron pipe and lathis.
Therefore, when her husband was being beaten mercilessly by
four different persons, as rightly deposed by her, she could only
make a hue and cry while taking every possible effort to rescue
him from the merciless onslaught of the assailants. If at all
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anything can be said based on such cries of Choti (PW-1), those
who were living nearby could have come for her rescue in saving
her husband. If no one came and were not prepared to extend a
helping hand, then Choti (PW-1) cannot be blamed for that
reason. On seeing the plight of Choti (PW-1), Bhateri (PW-8) her
niece, who happened to come at the place of occurrence
appeared to have rushed back to inform her uncle, namely,
Subhash (PW-12) who is the elder brother of the deceased and
who tried to intervene and save the deceased from the ruthless
attack of the Respondents-accused.
16. According to Choti (PW-1) and Subhash (PW-12), the
Respondents-accused were so keen in eliminating the deceased
that they were stated to have warded off any attempt made by
Choti (PW-1) and Subhash (PW-12) in saving the deceased from
the dreadful attack by them. Therefore, we do not find any
conduct which is not normal or unnatural from what was stated
by Choti (PW-1) or Subhash (PW-12). As far as Kumari Sarita
(PW-3) and Vikram (PW-15) are concerned, they are children of
the deceased and when they witnessed the gruesome attack of
the Respondents-accused on their father, they could have made
noise and being children of a very tender age, it cannot be stated
Criminal Appeal No.937/2008 11 of 26
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as to in what manner they were expected to behave at that point
of time. But on that score, it cannot be held that the whole of
their evidence should be eschewed from consideration. While
witnessing such an inhuman behaviour of the assailants, the
young children might have become paralysed out of shock and
fear. Therefore, the contention made on behalf of the
Respondents-accused that the behaviour of the eye witnesses
was unnatural, does not stand to any reason and, therefore, the
said contention deserves to be rejected.
17. It was contended that all the witnesses were family
members of the deceased and being interested witnesses, their
version cannot be relied upon in toto. When we consider the
same, we fail to understand as to why the evidence of the
witnesses should be discarded solely on the ground that the said
witnesses are related to the deceased. It is well settled that the
credibility of a witness and his/her version should be tested based
on his/her testimony vis-à-vis the occurrence with reference to
which the testimonies are deposed before the Court. As the
evidence is tendered invariably before the Court, the Court will be
in the position to assess the truthfulness or otherwise of the
witness while deposing about the evidence and the persons on
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whom any such evidence is tendered. As every witness is bound
to face the cross-examination by the defence side, the falsity, if
any, deposed by the witness can be easily exposed in that
process. The trial Court will be able to assess the quality of
witnesses irrespective of the fact whether the witness is related
or not. Pithily stated, if the version of the witness is credible,
reliable, trustworthy, admissible and the veracity of the
statement does not give scope to any doubt, there is no reason to
reject the testimony of the said witness, simply because the
witness is related to the deceased or any of the parties. In this
context, reference can be made to the decision of this Court
reported in Mano Dutt and another v. State of Uttar
Pradesh – (2012) 4 SCC 79. Paragraph 24 is relevant which
reads as under:
“24. Another contention raised on behalf of the
appellant-accused is that only family members of the
deceased were examined as witnesses and they being
interested witnesses cannot be relied upon.
Furthermore, the prosecution did not examine any
independent witnesses and, therefore, the prosecution
has failed to establish its case beyond reasonable
doubt. This argument is again without much
substance. Firstly, there is no bar in law in examining
family members, or any other person, as witnesses.
More often than not, in such cases involving family
members of both sides, it is a member of the family or
a friend who comes to rescue the injured. Those alone
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are the people who take the risk of sustaining injuries
by jumping into such a quarrel and trying to defuse
the crisis. Besides, when the statement of witnesses,
who are relatives, or are parties known to the affected
party, is credible, reliable, trustworthy, admissible in
accordance with the law and corroborated by other
witnesses or documentary evidence of the
prosecution, there would hardly be any reason for the
Court to reject such evidence merely on the ground
that the witness was a family member or an interested
witness or a person known to the affected party.”
(emphasis added)
18. Reliance can also be placed upon Dinesh Kumar v. State
of Rajasthan – (2008) 8 SCC 270, wherein in paragraph 12, the
law has been succinctly laid down as under:
“12. In law, testimony of an injured witness is given
importance. When the eyewitnesses are stated to be
interested and inimically disposed towards the
accused, it has to be noted that it would not be proper
to conclude that they would shield the real culprit and
rope in innocent persons. The truth or otherwise of the
evidence has to be weighed pragmatically. The court
would be required to analyse the evidence of related
witnesses and those witnesses who are inimically
disposed towards the accused. But if after careful
analysis and scrutiny of their evidence, the version
given by the witnesses appears to be clear, cogent
and credible, there is no reason to discard the same.
Conviction can be made on the basis of such
evidence.”
(Underlining is ours)
19. It was then contended on behalf of the Respondentsaccused
that there was inexplicable delay in lodging of the FIR. It
was pointed out that the occurrence took place at 9 p.m. while
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the FIR was lodged only at 10.15 a.m. on the next day. During the
whole night the relatives of the deceased were informed about
the killing of the deceased by Choti (PW-1) and some of whom
also arrived at the place of occurrence. When the said contention
is considered, as noted by us earlier, the occurrence took place at
around 9-9.30 p.m. and even according to the eye witnesses, the
attack on the deceased went on for about an hour. Therefore, by
the time the whole incident was over, namely, the deceased was
dragged to the house of Rajesh (A-3) beaten up there and
brought back dead and thrown on the cot in the verandah of the
house of the deceased, it would have crossed 10 p.m. Choti (PW-
1), being the wife of the deceased who is a rustic village woman
and shocked while witnessing the incident, it cannot be said that
she should have made every effort to lodge the complaint with
the police immediately after the killing of her husband. Being a
village lady with two minor children, who were also pathetically
witnessing the gruesome killing of their father, she would have
been only crying helplessly seeking the support of her close
relatives.
20. If at all anyone could have done anything, Subhash (PW-12)
who is the brother of the deceased, could have been expected to
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take some steps to inform the police. It must be remembered
that the occurrence had taken place in a remote place and the
police station is more than a kilometre away from the place of
occurrence. In the night hours, as villagers, having found that the
person was killed and was lying dead, they must have been in a
bewilderment and, therefore, the complaint was lodged only on
the next day morning and that to after the police arrived at 10
a.m. No definite reason can be attributed for not lodging the
complaint expeditiously, but as stated by us earlier, it was due to
the helplessness of the poor lady who lost her husband in the late
night. In this context, it will be worthwhile to keep in mind the
version of Jagram (PW-2) brother of Choti (PW-1) who in his
testimony has confirmed that when he went to the house of
Lalchand to report the incident to Bagor Police Station, he briefly
informed the SHO about the incident. It was also informed by him
that after making the telephone call, the SHO reached the spot
within half an hour and got the first information written under
Exhibit P-1, which was handed over to the SHO who thereafter,
prepared Exhibit P-2 map when Jagram (PW-2) who was also
present, affixed the signatures on Exhibit P-2. But on that score,
it cannot be held that there would have been a total variation in
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the genesis of the case, considering the eye witnesses account of
the witnesses whose version we have found to be fully credible
and corroborative in every respect. Therefore, merely because
there was some delay in the lodging of the FIR, which cannot be
wholly attributed to the aggrieved party Choti (PW-1), on that
score, there is no scope to hold that the Respondents-accused
are to be given a clean chit when there was strong evidence both
oral and documentary and material objects placed before the trial
Court confirming their involvement in the occurrence. Therefore,
the said submission of the alleged delay in lodging of the FIR also
does not merit acceptance.
21. As far as the reliance placed upon the defence version is
concerned, the same was rightly rejected by the trial Court for
well founded reasons. Apart from the version of the eye
witnesses, the admissible part of the evidence of Ranjit Singh
(PW-13), the Investigating Officer, insofar as it related to the
recoveries made with the aid of Panch witnesses, established the
weapons used by the Respondents-accused in the process of the
killing of the deceased. Exhibit P-29 was marked through PW-13,
which is the FSL report. The contents of the FSL Report (Exhibit
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P-29), have been dealt with by the trial Court which is stated as
under:
“The report of Exhibit P-29 has been issued by the FSL
Office on 02.08.2001 which confirms the traces of
human blood on the blood-soaked soil, blood-stained
cotton, the shirt of deceased Surender, his pant and
baniyan, the iron pipe recovered from accused Suresh,
iron rod recovered from accused Rajesh, laath i
recovered from Chandagi and Anvi.
Traces of “A” group blood have been found on the
piece of cotton on which human blood sample was
recovered from the cot where the dead body of
Surender was lying and also on the shirt, pant and
baniyan of Surender. No suspicion can be raised
about the blood present on the clothes worn by the
deceased and the blood recovered below the cot, that
it was the blood of deceased Surender. The group of
blood present on other articles could not be
ascertained for the reason that quantity of blood was
quite low, but keeping in view the evidences available
on record and finding the traces of human blood, it
can be said beyond doubt that it was also the blood of
deceased Surender. The report of Exhibit P-29 in itself
is a clinching evidence to hold accused guilty to the
offence. There remains no doubt in holding conviction
of the accused for the offence of murder of Surender
by the accused.”
(Underlining is ours)
22. The above discussion made by the trial Court amply
demonstrates that in the process of investigation, the
Investigating Officer was able to recover the blood stained
clothes, soil and other materials and the FSL report (Exhibit P-29)
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confirmed traces of human blood. Simply because the blood
stained apparels of Choti (PW-1) was not exhibited, it cannot be
held that on that score the material part of the evidence of eye
witnesses should be eschewed from consideration. Apart from the
involvement of the accused in the crime as spoken to by the eye
witnesses, the FSL report (Exhibit P-29) confirmed the brutal
killing of the deceased which was the result of the attack on his
body with various weapons. The post-mortem Doctor Nathu Singh
(PW-7), who confirmed the injuries found on the body of the
deceased as per the post-mortem report (Exhibit P-10), disclosed
that there were as many as 14 injuries of which the head injury
was fatal. The said version of the doctor also confirmed the
injuries sustained by the deceased on his head, as well as, other
vital parts of his body. Therefore, a cumulative consideration of
the above evidence amply established the crime in which the
Respondents-accused were involved, resulted in the killing of the
deceased.
23. Reliance was placed by the learned counsel for the
Respondents-accused on the decision reported in Surinder
Singh (supra). In this case the prosecution witness informed
neither his relatives nor the police authorities or officials after he
Criminal Appeal No.937/2008 19 of 26
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witnessed the act of murder committed by the Appellant, in a
timely manner. In fact, PW-2 went back to his house and dozed
off and it was only after sometime did he go and inform PW-3
who advised him to go to the police. We have to state, at this
juncture, that the facts and circumstances of this case are
distinguishable from the present appeal and hence, reliance on
this judgment will be futile as in the case on hand, although the
police were not informed immediately, the relatives of the
deceased were informed instantly and it was only natural that a
village woman having two minor children could not go and inform
the police about the incident at late hours in the night, especially
when the police station was more than one and half kilometres
away. Therefore, the said decision is of no assistance to the
Respondents-accused.
24. Reliance was also placed on Lahu Kamlakar Patil
(supra), wherein the ground urged before this Court was that the
sole witness in the case ran away from the spot of occurrence
and did not inform the police about the incident, but on the
contrary hid himself until early morning of the next day, and also
that he did not come to the spot where the police arrived out of
fear for three hours. He had, in fact, contrary to normal human
Criminal Appeal No.937/2008 20 of 26
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behaviour, gone to his house in Pune and did not inform his
family members. He chose to inform the police about the entire
incident after three days, when his wife informed him that the
police had come to his house, looking for him. Reliance was
placed on the above judgment to state that the conduct of the
witness in the present appeal seems to be unnatural i.e., by
approaching the police and filing the FIR in a belated manner. We
will have to state that in the above case, the sole witness
approached the police out of fear and, in fact, did not even lodge
the FIR with the police in the first instance. Therefore, this fact is
clearly distinguishable from the present appeal, wherein, Choti
(PW-1) had genuine reason to lodge the FIR on the morning of
next day. Hence, reliance on the above case is also not helpful to
the Respondent.
25. The learned Counsel for the Respondents-accused, placed
reliance on Din Dayal (supra) wherein this Court held that the
conduct of the witnesses was unnatural and unreasonable in not
informing the police about the incident as they had quietly gone
back to their home after the said occurrence. They had also not
disclosed the name of the accused to the police constable who
was on duty, even though they disclosed other facts regarding
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the incidents and hence on this ground, the Court had reasons for
doubting the truthfulness of the evidence of the witnesses. In the
present appeal, there were cogent reasons as has been clearly
explained above for the lodging of the FIR on the next morning
and the conduct of the witnesses were not in any way similar to
the above stated case and, therefore, the same cannot be relied
upon. Hence, on this ground, this case is also not helpful to the
Respondents-accused.
26. As far as reliance on Mahtab Singh (supra) was
concerned, it will have to be noted that in the said case, this
Court found that inspite of the fact that the police station was a
furlong away, the complainant did not choose to go to police
station straightway, but instead he went to a person called
Charan Singh for preparing a report and only thereafter, went to
police station which resulted in a delay of 45 minutes. It was in
these peculiar facts of the case, it was held that delay in lodging
the FIR, created doubt. In the case on hand, we have noted that
the occurrence took place in the late night in a remote village
where the sufferers of the incident were the widow and her two
minor children, apart from the fact that police station was one
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and a half kilometres away. Therefore, we are not inclined to rely
on the said decision to the case on hand.
27. Reliance to paragraph 21 of Yeshwant (supra) was placed
by the counsel for the Respondents-accused to submit that there
was no conclusive evidence to prove that the blood stains on the
body were that of the deceased and whether they were of human
origin and, therefore, the connection of the evidence with the
occurrence under consideration was not shown by anything on
record. We will have to state here that the FSL report (Exhibit- P-
29) has specifically mentioned that the blood stains found on the
articles were of human origin, while also determining the blood
group to be as ‘A positive’. Also according to the statement of the
Investigating Officer Ranjit Singh (PW-13), during the course of
investigation all the weapons described by the eyewitnesses,
which had blood stains on them, were recovered from the
possession of the Respondents-accused. It can also be inferred
from the post-mortem report (Exhibit P-10) of Dr. Nathu Singh
(PW-7), the medical officer that the various injuries caused on the
deceased were from the weapons recovered at the instance of
the accused. Therefore, these findings are strong factors in
establishing the culpability of the Respondents-accused in
Criminal Appeal No.937/2008 23 of 26
Page 24
committing the murder. For the very same reasons, reliance
placed on paragraphs 7 and 8 of the decision Raghunath
(supra) and on paragraph 12 in Kansa Behera (supra) is also
rejected.
28. When we examine the reasoning of the Division Bench in
concluding that the offence was not made out, it was mainly on
the ground that there was delay in the lodging of the FIR and the
conduct of the witnesses as spoken to by them did not inspire
confidence. In our considered view, when the High Court had
interfered with the conviction imposed by the trial Court, it ought
to have examined the evidence meticulously and expressed
cogent and convincing reasons as to why the detailed
consideration of the evidence did not inspire confidence in order
to interfere with the conclusion of the trial Court. In our
considered view, the High Court had miserably failed to carry out
the said exercise and without assigning reasons, much less
convincing reasons, has chosen to interfere with the conviction
imposed by the trial Court in a light hearted manner.
29. Having regard to our above conclusion, we find that none of
the decisions relied upon by learned counsel for the
Respondents-accused can be applied to the case, inasmuch as
Criminal Appeal No.937/2008 24 of 26
Page 25
we have found that the eye witnesses account of the concerned
witnesses were all convincing and were corroborative in every
minute aspect of the occurrence. We have also found that their
version was natural and there was nothing to suspect their
version in narrating the occurrence. We have also found that the
defence version was rightly rejected by the trial Court as the
same was wholly unreliable. Apart from eye witnesses account,
we have also found the recoveries of the weapons, the medical
evidence and the FSL reports fully supporting the case of the
prosecution.
30. Having regard to our above conclusions, the judgment of
the trial Court ought not to have been interfered by the High
Court. We, therefore, allow this appeal and set aside the
judgment of the High Court and restore the judgment of the trial
Court along with the conviction and sentence imposed. The
Respondents-accused shall, therefore, surrender forthwith and
undergo the unexpired portion of the sentence imposed on them.
………….…….………………………………J.
[Fakkir Mohamed Ibrahim
Kalifulla]
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Page 26
………….……….
…………………………..J.
[Shiva Kirti Singh]
New Delhi;
September 09, 2014.