17 June 2024


Supreme Court

Surinder Kumar Vs. State of Punjab




Evidence of official witnesses cannot be distrusted and disbelieved, merely on account of their official status

Present Criminal Appeal is filed by the sole Accused, aggrieved by the judgment passed in Criminal Appeal by the High Court. The Appellant herein was convicted for the offence punishable Under Section 18 of Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985 ('NDPS Act, 1985'), vide the judgment passed by the Special Judge for offence under Section 18 of NDPS, 1985 and was sentenced to undergo rigorous imprisonment for a period of 10 years and to pay a fine of Rs. 1,00,000 in default of payment of the same, to undergo rigorous imprisonment for another period of one year.

The Trial Court as well as the High Court, has recorded a finding that the perusal of the record reveals the ASP was summoned number of times but either service was not effected or as and when he was served, he sent a request for exemption from personal attendance stating valid reasons. Further, it appears that the High Court has issued directions to the Trial Court to decide the case. As ASP was not examined by 30th April, 1999, a request for an extension was sought by the Special Judge, and it was adjourned to 17th May, 1999. Even by 17th May, 1999, the ASP could not be served as he was on leave. In view of reasoning assigned by the Trial Court, as well as the High Court, merely because ASP was not examined, it cannot be said that prosecution has failed to prove its case.

It is clear from the evidence on record that he was summoned at the time of search and seizure and only in his presence, search was conducted, as such, there is no violation of Section 50 of the NDPS Act. Further, it is contended by the Appellant that no independent witness was examined, despite the fact they were available. In this regard, it is to be noticed from the depositions of Head Constable (PW-1), during the course of cross-examination, has stated that efforts were made to join independent witnesses, but none were available. The mere fact that the case of the prosecution is based on the evidence of official witnesses, does not mean that same should not be believed.

The judgment in the case of Jarnail Singh v. State of Punjab, relied on by the counsel for the Respondent-State also supports the case of the prosecution. In the aforesaid judgment, present Court has held that, merely because prosecution did not examine any independent witness, would not necessarily lead to conclusion that Accused was falsely implicated. The evidence of official witnesses cannot be distrusted and disbelieved, merely on account of their official status.

From the evidence on record in present case, the prosecution has proved the guilt of the Appellant beyond reasonable doubt. The conviction recorded and the sentence imposed is in conformity with the provisions of law and evidence on record, thus no interference is called for. Accordingly, this appeal is devoid of merits, and the same is dismissed.


Jarnail Singh v. State of Punjab MANU/SC/0480/2011

Tags : Conviction Evidence Credibility

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