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Karulal & Ors. Vs. The State of Madhya Pradesh - (Supreme Court) (09 Oct 2020)

If the witnesses are otherwise trustworthy, past enmity by itself will not discredit any testimony



Present Appeal has been preferred by 5 accused, challenging the judgment whereby, the Madhya Pradesh High Court, approved the conviction of the appellants under Section 148, 302 read with Section 149 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 (IPC) and the resultant sentence for such conviction ordered by the learned Trial Court.

The High Court in the appeal rejected the plea of the Appellants and found consistency in the testimony of the eyewitnesses and noted that, the injuries attributed by the eyewitnesses to the accused, is corroborated by the medical evidence. It was then concluded that, there is no infirmity in the judgment of conviction rendered by the learned Trial Court and the appeal against conviction was accordingly dismissed.

The Appellant submits that, the evidence of PW3 and PW12 should be discarded as they are the children of the deceased. He then, submits that because of past enmity, the Appellants were falsely implicated.

In instant case, Babu Lal(PW11)is an unrelated witness. His testimony substantially supports the evidence of PW3 and PW12 in all material particulars. In any case, being related to the deceased does not necessarily mean that, they will falsely implicate innocent persons. In this context, it was appropriately observed in State of Uttar Pradesh vs. Samman Dass that, the close relatives of a murdered person are most reluctant to spare the real assailant and falsely involve another person in place of the assailant.

If the witnesses are otherwise trustworthy, past enmity by itself will not discredit any testimony. The Appellant’s counsel also submitted that few of the witnesses had not supported the prosecution case and were declared to be hostile. But there is enough material evidence and trustworthy testimonies which clearly support the case against the accused and the prosecution need not fail on this count alone. 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.

In present case, it is seen that, the prosecution version is cogent and supported by three eyewitnesses who have given a consistent account of the incident. Their testimonies are corroborated by the medical evidence. The learned Trial Judge had elaborately discussed the evidence of both sides and came to a logical conclusion which inspires confidence. The hostile witnesses will not affect the conviction of the Appellants. The conviction of the Appellants was rightly ordered and correctly upheld by the High Court. Appeal dismissed.


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