26 May 2020


Judgments

High Court of Jammu and Kashmir

Mohd. Ashraf and Ors. Vs. State of J&K

MANU/JK/1037/2018

16.11.2018

Criminal

Testimony of an injured witness can be acted upon even without any corroboration as he is having a special status in law

Present Criminal Appeal is preferred by the Appellants who have been convicted by the learned Sessions Judge, vide impugned judgment and sentenced to undergo rigorous imprisonment for a term of three years under Sections 324/34 of Ranbir Penal Code (RPC) and to pay fine of Rs. 5000 each and in default of payment of fine, the accused would further suffer rigorous imprisonment for one year. Whether the argument of counsel for Appellants that, all the witnesses are related witnesses and their statements cannot be relied is tenable.

The fact that the witnesses are related to each other is no ground for disbelieving their evidence. There is no general rule that the evidence of the relations of the victim, must be corroborated for securing the conviction of the offender. Each case depends upon its own facts and circumstances. In present case, PWs Mohd. Zahrid, Mohd. Kabir and Faizu Khan are not only eye witnesses and related witnesses, but also are injured witnesses. A witness who himself becomes a victim to the crime is better capacitated to narrate the sequence of the crime scene. Minor discrepancies and omissions pointed out in their evidence did not shake their trustworthiness. Testimony of said witnesses did not deserve to be discarded on this sole ground of relationship. The injury to the witness is an in-built guarantee of his presence at the scene of the crime. The deposition of the injured witnesses should be relied upon, unless there are strong grounds for rejection of his evidence on the basis of major contradictions and discrepancies.

The Evidence of the hostile witness cannot be discarded as the relevant fact of the statement is admissible; corroborated part of evidence of hostile witness regarding the commission of offence is admissible. It has no justification to reject his evidence as a whole. The credibility of hostile witness can form the basis of conviction. Admittedly, in the case I/O has not been examined. Court below has relied upon Raj Kishore Jha vs. State of Bihar and Ors., Bahadur Naik vs. State of Bihar, wherein it is held that, non examination of I/O. in each case is not fatal unless prejudice is caused and when defense has failed to shake credibility of witnesses. Defence has failed to shake credibility of witnesses. No prejudice has been caused.

There is no infirmity of law and facts in the judgment of Court below. However, Appellants have been awarded 3 years imprisonment each under Section 324 of RPC, which is maximum under this section; but taking in view the fact that occurrence had taken place in the year 1994 and accused have faced trauma of trial upto 2004 before trial court for ten years and the present appeal is pending since 14 years, these are mitigating circumstances for imposing lesser sentence of 1 year instead of three years under Section 324 of RPC. Imprisonment already undergone shall be set off. Sentence of fine is upheld. Appeal disposed off accordingly.

Relevant

Raj Kishore Jha vs. State of Bihar and Ors. MANU/SC/0783/2003
; Bahadur Naik vs. State of Bihar MANU/SC/0405/2000

Tags : Conviction Legality Witnesses Credibility

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