Supreme Court: “Falsus In Uno, Falsus In Omnibus” Not Applicable in Indian Courts

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Published on: 21 August 2023 at 00:26 IST

The Supreme Court of India has reiterated that the principle “Falsus in uno, falsus in omnibus” (False in one thing, false in everything) does not apply to courts in India.

The Court emphasized that it is the duty of the court to sift through evidence to uncover the truth.

The observation was made by a bench of Justices MM Sundresh and JB Pardiwala while dismissing a criminal appeal.

In this case, the accused had been convicted by both the Trial Court and the High Court of Karnataka for offenses under Section 302 read with Sections 120B and 34 of the Indian Penal Code.

One of the arguments raised in the appeal was that the High Court had erred in partially relying on the testimony of certain prosecution witnesses.

The defense claimed that since their testimony was found unreliable regarding the death of the deceased, it should not have been considered for other offenses as well.

The Court, in its dismissal of the appeal, emphasized that the principle “Falsus in uno, falsus in omnibus” has no application to Indian courts.

This principle suggests that if a witness is found to be false in one aspect of their testimony, their entire testimony is unreliable. However, the Court clarified that it is the court’s responsibility to separate credible evidence from unreliable parts in its pursuit of the truth.

The Court further stated that the reasoning for the acquittal of the accused in relation to the death of one deceased person cannot be applied uniformly to all charges and witnesses.

The Court held that the injured eyewitnesses, in this case, were distinct from the deceased and should be treated separately in the evaluation of evidence.

The ruling reaffirms that Indian courts do not adhere to the strict “Falsus in uno, falsus in omnibus” principle and instead focus on a comprehensive assessment of evidence to arrive at a just and accurate conclusion.

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