17 June 2024


Supreme Court

Sadayappan Vs. State




Witness cannot be said to be an "interested" witness merely by virtue of being a relative of victim

Present appeal is directed against the judgment passed by the High Court whereby the Division Bench of the High Court dismissed the appeal preferred by the Appellant herein and upheld his conviction and sentence passed by the Trial Court for the offence punishable under Section 302 read with Section 34 of Indian Penal Code, 1860 (IPC).

After an elaborate trial, the Trial Judge opined that, the circumstantial evidence correlates with the Accused and clearly proves that owing to prior enmity, A1 and A2, in furtherance of their common intention, committed the murder of the deceased with a gun shot from the unauthorized gun owned by Accused-Appellant. The Trial Court thereby found both the Accused guilty and accordingly convicted the Appellant herein under Section 302 read with Section 34 of IPC. Both the Accused preferred an appeal before the High Court which was dismissed vide order. The appeal of the A1 stood abated owing to his death during its pendency. Thus, present Court is concerned with appeal preferred by A2.

Criminal law jurisprudence makes a clear distinction between a related and interested witness. A witness cannot be said to be an "interested" witness merely by virtue of being a relative of the victim. The witness may be called "interested" only when he or she derives some benefit from the result of a litigation in the decree in a civil case, or in seeing an Accused person punished.

In the case at hand, witnesses maybe related but they cannot be labelled as interested witnesses. A scrutiny of their testimonies which has stood the rigour of cross-examination corroborates the prosecution story.

From corroborative statements of witnesses, it is discernible that though they are related to each other and to the deceased as well, their evidence cannot be discarded by simply labelling them as "interested" witnesses. There is no direct or indirect interest of these witnesses to get the Accused punished by falsely implicating him so as to meet out any vested interest. The evidences of PWs 1, 2, 3, 4 and 6 are quite reliable and we see no reason to disbelieve them.

With respect to forensic evidence, PW12, who conducted post mortem on the body of the deceased, found prominent injures on the body of the deceased. The post mortem report and chemical analysis report confirms the gun shot and proves that the gun powder discovered on the body and clothes of the deceased was the residue of the gun. The ownership of this gun (MO1), which was discovered on the basis of his extra-judicial confession, has not been disputed by the Appellant in his statement.

Thus, the High Court was justified in upholding the conviction of the Appellant and did not commit any illegality in passing the impugned judgment which merits interference. Therefore, the appeal being devoid of merit stands dismissed.

Tags : Conviction Evidence Credibility

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