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Parvat Singh and Ors. Vs. State of Madhya Pradesh - (Supreme Court) (02 Mar 2020)

Statement recorded under Section 161 of CrPC can be used only to prove the contradictions and/or omissions

MANU/SC/0246/2020

Criminal

Feeling aggrieved and dissatisfied with the impugned judgment passed by the High Court by which the High Court has confirmed the conviction of the Appellants herein-original Accused Nos. 2 to 5 for the offences punishable under Section 302 r/w Section 149 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 (IPC), the original Accused Nos. 2 to 5 have preferred the present appeal. Learned Senior Advocate appearing on behalf of all the Appellants submitted that, the High Court has not properly appreciated the fact that, the Trial Court convicted the Appellants solely relying upon the evidence/deposition of PW8.

The Appellants herein-original Accused Nos. 2 to 5 are convicted by the Learned Trial Court and the High Court solely relying upon the evidence/deposition of PW8 - Mullo Bai. It cannot be disputed that there can be a conviction relying upon the evidence/deposition of the sole witness. However, at the same time, the evidence/deposition of the sole witness can be relied upon, provided it is found to be trustworthy and reliable and there are no material contradictions and/or omissions and/or improvements in the case of the prosecution.

The deposition of PW8 is full of material contradictions and improvements so far as original Accused Nos. 2 to 5 is concerned. It is required to be noted that no other independent witness even named by PW8 has supported the case of the prosecution. As per the settled preposition of law a statement recorded under Section 161 of CrPC is inadmissible in evidence and cannot be relied upon or used to convict the Accused. As per the settled proposition of law, the statement recorded under Section 161 of CrPC can be used only to prove the contradictions and/or omissions. Therefore, the High Court has erred in relying upon the statement of PW8 recorded under Section 161 of CrPC while observing that the Appellants were having the lathis.

In the facts and circumstances of the case, there are material contradictions, omissions and/or improvements so far as the Appellants herein - original Accused Nos. 2 to 5 are concerned. Present Court is of the opinion that, it is not safe to convict the Appellants on the evidence of the sole witness of PW8. The benefit of material contradictions, omissions and improvements must go in favour of the Appellants herein. Therefore, as such the Appellants are entitled to be given benefit of doubt.

There are material contradictions and omissions so far as the Appellants - original Accused Nos. 2 to 5 are concerned. So far as the original Accused No. 1 is concerned, PW8 is consistent in her statement Under Section 161 Code of Criminal Procedure as well as in her deposition before the Court. There was a recovery of axe used in commission of the offence by Accused No. 1 at the instance of Accused No. 1. Under the circumstances, the case of the original Accused Nos. 2 to 5 is clearly distinguishable to that of original Accused No. 1.

The present appeal is allowed. The impugned judgment and order of conviction passed by the learned Trial Court and confirmed by the High Court convicting the Appellants herein - Accused Nos. 2 to 5 for the offence under Section 302 r/w Section 149 of the IPC are hereby quashed and set aside and the Appellants herein - original Accused Nos. 2 to 5 are acquitted of the charges for which they were tried.

Tags : CONVICTION   EVIDENCE   CREDIBILITY  

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