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Supreme Court: All Witnesses may not support the prosecution story, in such situation, other available evidence can comprehensively prove the charge

The SC on Oct 09, 2020 {Karulal & Ors. vs. The State of Madhya Pradesh} held that the testimony of the related witness, if found to be truthful, can be the basis of conviction and it has every reason to believe that PW3 and PW12 were immediately present at the spot and identified the accused with various deadly weapons in their hands.

It was further observed by the SC Bench, comprising of Justice N.V. RAMANA, Justice SURYA KANT & Justice Hrishikesh Roy, that there is no proposition in law that relatives are to be treated as untruthful witnesses. On the contrary, it was held that reason has to be shown when a plea of partiality is raised to show that the witnesses had reason to shield actual culprit and falsely implicate the accused.

In the present case, the Madhya Pradesh High Court, Indore Bench approved the conviction of the appellants under Section 148, 302 read with Section 149 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 (for short “the IPC”). The same was assailed before the SC.

It was held by the SC that Babu Lal (PW11) is an unrelated witness. It was held that his testimony substantially supports the evidence of PW3 and PW12 in all material particulars. It was further held that in any case, being related to the deceased does not necessarily mean that they will falsely implicate innocent persons.

It was held that it goes without saying that enmity is a double-edged weapon which cuts both ways. It was held that it may constitute a motive for the commission of the crime and at the same time it may also provide a motive for false implication. It was also held that in the present case there is evidence to establish motive and when the prosecution adduced positive evidence showing the direct involvement of the accused in the crime, motive assumes importance.

It was held that if the witnesses are otherwise trustworthy, past enmity by itself will not discredit any testimony. It was held that in fact the history of bad blood gives a clear motive for the crime. It was held by the SC that therefore this aspect does not in its assessment, aid the defence in the present matter.

It was held that some witness may not support the prosecution story for their own reasons and in such situation, it is necessary for the Court to determine whether the other available evidence comprehensively proves the charge. It was held that in this case, it is seen that the prosecution version is cogent and supported by three eyewitnesses who have given a consistent account of the incident.

The SC concluded that proceeding on the above basis and on careful examination of the manner in which the learned Trial Judge analysed the evidence and rendered his verdict, the conviction of the appellants according to its assessment, was rightly ordered and correctly upheld by the High Court. It was held that the appeal stands dismissed.

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