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State of Maharashtra v. Ramlal Devappa Rathod and Ors. - (Supreme Court) (29 Sep 2015)

Testimony of sole witness can be relied upon in cases of mob violence



Deliberating on whether the principle espoused in Masalti v. State of U.P. would require consistent testimonies of more than one witness in cases involving mob violence, the Supreme Court distinguished its application. It ruled, “not find[ing] anything in Masalti which in any way qualifies the well settled principle that the conviction can be founded upon the testimony of even a single witness if it establishes in clear and precise terms, the overt acts constituting the offence as committed by certain named assailants and if such testimony is otherwise reliable.” The Court reasoned that whereas in Masalti several testimonies were required to prove vicarious liability on the basis of non-specific allegations about being part of an unlawful assembly, in the instant case the witness had been unequivocal in her deposition regarding the specific acts of the Respondents.

Relevant : Masalti v. State of U.P. MANU/SC/0074/1964 State of Haryana v. Inder Singh MANU/SC/0263/2002 Section 149 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 Act


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