10 June 2024


Supreme Court

Sukhpal Singh Vs. State of Punjab




Credibility of witnesses is ordinarily not re-visited by Supreme Court in an appeal by special leave

Present appeal by special leave is directed against the judgment of the High Court dismissing the appeal filed by the Appellant against his conviction under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 (IPC) and sentencing to rigorous imprisonment for life.

Upon discovery of an unidentified body near a canal and the case being registered and upon investigation being conducted the Appellant along with another came to be charge sheeted and charged with the commission of offences under Section 302 read with Section 34 of the IPC. They were also charged with the offence under Section 201 of the IPC. The trial Court convicted the Appellant while it acquitted the co-accused. The High Court has affirmed the conviction and sentence of the accused-Appellant.

The prosecution has established that the Appellant was indeed last seen with the deceased before his death and recovery of the body. The Appellant admittedly was working as a police officer. The circumstance which has been relied upon by the courts is the recovery of his service revolver - the gun along with empty cartridges and live cartridges. The evidence of PW15- officer would show that, the Appellant was arrested along with co-accused.

Apparently, the version that is sought to be set up is that the Appellant was under suspension, and therefore the Appellant had surrendered his revolver and therefore the case of the recovery of the gun and that the fatal shot was fired from the gun should not be believed.

In the absence of material to establish the case of suspension, present Court is not inclined to disturb the concurrent findings by the court which is based on evidence which establishes that there was a recovery of the gun along with 2 empty cartridges and 3 live cartridges on the statement given by the Appellant.

The evidence establishes that, the bullet found in the body of the deceased was fired from the gun which is allotted to the Appellant. There is ample evidence to show that, the Appellant was last seen with the deceased, again, a fact which is established on the basis of testimony of witnesses who have been found to be creditworthy by two courts. In an appeal maintained under leave under Section 136, this Court would not ordinarily go into the credibility of the witnesses whose testimony has inspired the confidence of the courts.

The evidence of three witnesses relating to last seen has been relied upon by two courts. It may be true that, there may be certain minor contradictions. The credibility of witnesses is ordinarily not re-visited by this Court in an appeal by special leave. That apart the circumstance as to the recovery and what is most important the report of the forensic laboratory is clinching. On account of the circumstances which stand established by evidence, there is no merit in the appeal and same shall stand dismissed.

Tags : Conviction Circumstantial evidence Validity

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