26 October 2020


Judgments

Supreme Court

Jagdish and Ors. Vs. The State of Haryana

MANU/SC/1048/2019

06.08.2019

Criminal

Conviction on basis of a solitary eye witness is sustainable only if there is reliable evidence proving guilt of accused

In facts of present case, the two Appellants have been convicted under Sections 302, 149 and 148 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). The Appellants submits that, once the other Accused have been acquitted, the two Appellants alone cannot be convicted with the aid of Section 149 of IPC. The High Court erred in convicting with the aid of Section 34 in absence of a charge framed under that Section. There is no evidence of any common intention, displaying a prior meeting of minds to commit the assault.

Conviction on basis of a solitary eye witness is undoubtedly sustainable, if there is reliable evidence cogent and convincing in nature along with surrounding circumstances. The evidence of a solitary witness will therefore call for heightened scrutiny. But in the nature of materials available against the Appellants on the sole testimony of PW-1 which is common to all the Accused in so far as assault is concerned, present Court do not consider it safe to accept her statement as a gospel truth in the facts and circumstances of the present case. The possibility of false implication cannot be ruled out completely in the facts of the case.

High Court concluded that the Appellants alone were the assailants of the deceased. The susceptibility of eleven injuries, including incised wounds, by two Accused is considered highly improbable. Therefore, in the entirety of the facts and circumstances of the case, the relationship between PW-1 and the deceased, the existence of previous animosity, present Court cannot Rule out false implication to uphold the conviction of the Appellants on the evidence of a doubtful solitary witness.

In Lallu Manjhi and Anr. v. State of Jharkhand, it was observed that if ten persons were stated to have dealt with blows with their respective weapons on the body of the deceased, and that if each one of them assaulted then there would have been minimum of ten injuries on the person of the deceased. In that case, as noticed, there are 11 injuries on the person of the deceased. The order of the High Court was unsustainable and accordingly set aside. The Appellants are acquitted. The appeal is allowed.

Relevant

Lallu Manjhi and Anr. v. State of Jharkhand, MANU/SC/0004/2003

Tags : Conviction Evidence Credibility

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