26 October 2020


Judgments

Supreme Court

Baliraj Singh v. State of Madhya Pradesh

MANU/SC/0500/2017

25.04.2017

Criminal

Value of medical evidence is only corroborative; it proves that, injuries could have been caused in manner alleged

Present appeal arises out of impugned judgment passed by a Division Bench of High Court of Madhya Pradesh, upholding conviction and sentence passed by trial Court against Appellant herein for offence punishable under Section 302/34 of Indian Penal Code, 1860. High Court found the statements of eyewitnesses to be cogent and trustworthy, therefore concurred with judgment of Trial Court and dismissed appeal of Appellant-Accused. Case on behalf of Appellant is that, most of prosecution witnesses are interested witnesses, particularly eyewitnesses belong to one family and they had a longstanding grudge against Accused over property dispute between both families, and hence, Appellant was falsely implicated in retaliation.

Admittedly, there was no peace and harmony between victim and Accused groups as they locked horns with each other over a longstanding dispute dating back 30 years, relating to mutation proceedings of some landed property. Thrust of prosecution to prove charge against Appellant was mainly on evidence of (PW 8)--wife of complainant and sister-in-law of deceased, (PW 9)-- wife of deceased and (PW12)--family friend of deceased, to make an endeavour that, in all probability, it was Accused who committed the guilt. In facts of present case, circumstances warrant application of due care and caution in appreciating the statements of eyewitnesses because of fact that, prime eyewitnesses are related inter-se and to deceased. Courts below erred in not applying principle of strict scrutiny in assessing evidences of eyewitnesses.

Post-mortem report prepared by Doctor upon examining body of deceased, that, there was a punctured wound just below angle of right mandible over right side of neck 1" x 1/2" x 3" and on dissection, he found that major artery was punctured and trachea was cut. There was hematoma underlying whole side of neck and in opinion of Doctor, injury was caused by a sharp piercing object. In his evidence, Doctor confirmed that, cause of death was due to excessive haemorrhage form punctured wound over right side of neck caused by sharp piercing object and due to punctured major blood vessel, over right side of neck.

It was on record that, at instance of Accused-Appellant, police have recovered (Ext. P7) from arhar field the lathi allegedly used in offence. However, nowhere it is recorded that, seized lathi contained any sharp edges with iron coated. Even it was not sent for examination of Doctor to ascertain whether fatal injury could be resulted by it. Moreover, record says that, blood on bloodstained cap of deceased seized from place of occurrence did not tally with that of deceased.

Another glaring deficiency is that Sub-Inspector who conducted seizure proceedings and prepared seizure memo has not been examined by prosecution. It is settled proposition in criminal jurisprudence that ordinarily, value of medical evidence is only corroborative. It proves that, injuries could have been caused in manner alleged and nothing more. The use which defence can make of medical evidence is to prove that, injuries could not possibly have been caused in manner alleged and thereby discredit eyewitnesses. In this case, nature of injury, contradiction about time of arrival of witnesses, contradictions between ocular and medical evidence, non-examination of Police officer who conducted seizure and subsequent improvement by one of eye witness casts a serious doubt on prosecution's case. Supreme Court set aside conviction against Appellant as recorded by trial court and upheld by High Court and Appellant is acquitted of charges.

Relevant

Solanki Chimanbhai Ukabhai v. State of Gujarat MANU/SC/0150/1983
: AIR 1983 SC 484

Tags : Conviction Evidence Credibility

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