26 October 2020


Judgments

High Court of Bombay

Sadashiv Vs. State of Maharashtra

MANU/MH/2394/2019

26.08.2019

Criminal

Convincing evidence on recoveries given by Investigating Officer could not be rejected merely because panch witness had turned hostile

By present revision application, the Applicant (original accused) has challenged judgments and orders of two Courts below, whereby he stood convicted and sentenced for offences punishable under sections 419, 420, 465 and 468 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 (IPC). The sentences for the said offences range between 3 months and 3 years which were directed to run concurrently.

The two Courts below have concurrently held the Applicant guilty for offences punishable under sections 419, 420, 465 and 468 of the IPC. While the Court of Magistrate additionally convicted the applicant under Section 171 of the IPC, the Sessions Court partly allowed the appeal to the extent that the offence under section 171 of the IPC was not made out against the applicant.

An overall appraisal of the evidence shows that, despite minor variations in their versions, there is enough consistency to show that, the conclusions rendered by the two Courts below cannot be said to be erroneous. Therefore, the emphasis placed on alleged contradictions in the evidence of the said prosecution witnesses, is found to be misplaced by this Court.

The contention strongly canvassed on behalf of the Applicant to the fact that, when all the 3 panch witnesses had turned hostile, the Courts below erred in believing recovery of the said incriminating material. In the present case, although all the 3 panch witnesses turned hostile, the Investigating Officer PW-8 was specifically questioned in the examination-in-chief about the recovery of the aforesaid incriminating material, about which he gave specific statements in support of such recovery. Therefore, the evidence of the Investigating Officer, who actually carried out such recoveries, was brought on record by the prosecution.

The Supreme Court in the case of State v. Sunil, Mohd. Aslam v. State of Maharashtra and Rameshbhai and others v. State of Gujarat, held that, the evidence on recoveries given by the Investigating Officer could not be rejected merely because panch witness had turned hostile, as long as the evidence of the Investigating Officer was convincing. The Hon'ble Supreme Court has held that, it has to be presumed that public servants act honestly and consciously and their evidence is not liable to be discarded merely on the ground that being public servants, they are interested in success of their cases.

Applying the aforesaid yardstick to the evidence of the Investigating Officer in the present case, this Court finds that, such evidence of the Investigating Officer pertaining to recovery of incriminating material is consistent and believable.

There is limited scope in the revisional jurisdiction, exercised by this Court to interfere with concurrent conviction and sentence imposed by the two Courts below. The applicant has failed to demonstrate any glaring error in the findings rendered by the two Courts below for this Court to exercise revisional jurisdiction in his favour. Therefore, the application is found to be without any merits and it is dismissed. Accordingly, the conviction and sentence imposed by the Sessions Court under sections 419, 420, 465 and 468 of the IPC is maintained.

Relevant

Mohd. Aslam vs. State of Maharashtra MANU/SC/2255/2000
; Rameshbhai Mohanbhai Koli and Ors. vs. State of Gujarat MANU/SC/0871/2010

Tags : Conviction Evidence Credibility

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