Allahabad High Court Dismisses Appeal on Strength of Witness Testimony


Kashish Jain

The Allahbad High Court held that a testimony of a witness should be accepted by the Court after careful scrutiny of materials placed on record. The division bench passed this order during the hearing of a criminal appeal filed by Rampal Singh and others. The Division bench consisted Justices Manoj Misra and Saumitra Dayal Singh.

The appellants, Rampal Singh, Udaibhan and Chandrabhan filed an appeal against the common judgement and order passed by Arvind Kumar Singh. Arvind Kumar Singh is the Additional District and Sessions Judge/ Fast Track Court Mainpuri.

The aforementioned appellants were convicted of offences under Sections 147, 148, 307/149 and 302/149 of the Indian Penal Code. Each of the appellants was sentenced to six months imprisonment upon convictions for the offences committed under section 147 of the IPC. They were also sentenced to one year’s imprisonment under section 148 of the Indian Penal Code.

The Counsel for the appellants submitted that the entire prosecution story is an afterthought. He also made reference has also been made to the cross-examination of the Shiv Nath. He was the constable clerk who had admitted that FIR was first received by the magistrate.

The FIR was clearly ante timed ante-timed, borne from plain reading of the inquest Panchanama with reference to the dead bodies of Harvendra Singh and Devendra Singh. The time of the FIR being lodged had been clearly overwritten to give sanctity to the otherwise ante- times FIR. It has been said that un till that time, no FIR existed. ‘Chitthi Majrubi’ also does not have the FIR number.

It has also been submitted that the injuries claimed by the injured witnesses were unsubstantial. AGA opposed the appeal and submitted that there was no delay in the lodging of the FIR. They also submitted that there is no reasonable doubt of the same being ante-timed. To the contrary they stated that it was promptly filed. A simple cutting or overwriting on the report about the time when the FIR was lodged does not amount to reasonable doubt as to the date or time when the FIR was lodged. They noted that all the other details were mentioned correctly on the said document.

The injuries of the witnesses were stated to be wholly genuine and duly proved. In this incident where many rounds of ammunition were fired resulting to the causation of 2 murders, merely because one close shot injury to the deceased Devendra was not detailed during ocular evidence, it could not amount to falsification of the entire evidence.

The Bench referred to the decision of the Apex Court in Jalpat Rai v. State of Haryana where it was held:

“All that is necessary is that the evidence of interested witnesses should be subjected to careful scrutiny and accepted with caution. If on such scrutiny, the interested testimony is found to be intrinsically reliable or inherently probable, it may, by itself, be sufficient, in the circumstances of the particular case, to base a conviction thereon.”

The Apex Court had held that no hard and fast rule can be made in cases of appreciation of evidence. However, it is useful to focus attention on the question whether the presence of the witnesses the scene of the crime at the material time was probable.

The Court had observed:

‘If the answer to these questions be in the affirmative, and the evidence of the witness appears to the court to be almost flawless, and free from suspicion, it may accept it, without seeking corroboration from any other source,’

In this case, it was alleged that the Appellant and the other co-accused opened fire at the Complainant‘s family members on account of old rivalry. In appeal, the High Court had expressed doubt to the allegation of the indiscriminate firing made by the Complainant. The Court raised the question that if at the scene of the crime, the Complainant who was present was unharmed while others were.

The Order of the Court reads:

“According to the testimony of Sureshpal Singh, the victims had been completely overpowered by the appellants and remained at the Crime Scene for about 10-12 minutes during which period they fired about 16-18 rounds of ammunition after reloading their weapons. If the firing was so 24 indiscriminate and purposeful to eliminate as many members of the rival party/family, it stands out that not a bullet was fired at the first informant Sureshpal Singh who was positioned under the “Chhappar” at a similar distance as the two deceased victims-Devendra Singh and Harvendra Singh”

The High Court dismissed the appeal on the ground that the testimony of other witnesses stood established.

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