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Ram Laxman and Ors. v. State of Rajasthan - (Supreme Court) (03 Mar 2016)

Court cannot rely on unreliable witness to convict one and acquit another



An undependable and unreliable witness’s testimony cannot be split to grant benefit to some co-accused in the crime, while maintaining conviction of another, when both stand on the same footing and deserve parity. The Supreme Court disagreed with the High Court’s conclusion, convicting the Appellants and acquitting a co-accused, on the basis of unreliable witness testimony and corroboration by the post mortem report. The Supreme Court held that since the witness’s testimony was highly unreliable, no weight could be placed on it in determining the specific injuries caused by the accused. It distinguished the High Court’s finding from the accepted principle that “on account of detecting some falsehood in the statement of a witness who is otherwise consistent and reliable, his entire testimony should not be discarded”, however such split evidence could not then be relied upon to benefit one accused over another.

Relevant : Ugar Ahir and Ors. v. The State of Bihar MANU/SC/0333/1964 Joginder Singh v. State of Punjab MANU/SC/0934/1993


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