Case Title: Khema @ Khem Chandra Adi Vs State of Uttar Pradesh
Bench: Justice B.R. Gavai and Pamighanatam Sri Narasimha:
Citation: Criminal Appeal No. 2022 of 1200 1202
The Supreme Court on Wednesday said that failure to examine independent witnesses leads to adverse findings against the prosecution.
Justice B.R. Gavai and Pamighantham Sri Narasimha said that “though independent witnesses were available, the prosecution has failed to examine them. This is a matter in which the appellants are entitled to benefit of doubt."
In this case two daughters of the deceased Prakash were to be married. On the wedding day, all the accused started assaulting the deceased Prakash and threw him on the brick road. To save the life of the deceased Prakash's brother Inder (PW2), his sister and his wife came forward.
An FIR was registered against the accused persons under sections 147, 148, 149, 307, 302 and 506 of the IPC.
The trial court convicted the appellants. The appellants filed an appeal before the High Court, which was also dismissed.
The counsel for the appellants Shri Rajul Bhargava submitted that the prosecution has tried to suppress the actual origin of the incident. It was argued that though independent witnesses were available, the prosecution has failed to examine them and as such, an unfavorable inference needs to be drawn against the prosecution.
State counsel Ms. Garima Prasad submitted that merely because (PW1) and (PW2) are relatives of the deceased, it cannot be a ground to reject their testimony.
The issue of consideration before the bench was:
Can the appellants be convicted under sections 147, 148, 149, 307, 302 and 506 of the IPC?
The Supreme Court observed that the lower court has also come to the conclusion that Omveer (PW1)
Could not witness the incident. There is no doubt that Inder (PW2) is an injured witness and hence, his testimony cannot be taken lightly.
The bench said that the testimony of Inder (PW2) would fall under the third category, i.e. his evidence can be said to be "neither wholly credible nor wholly unreliable". In such a situation it will be necessary that there is some confirmation in the testimony of his eyes.
The Supreme Court said that the trial court and the high court have failed to consider the significant discrepancies and discrepancies in the evidence of prosecution witnesses.
The bench said though independent witnesses were available, the prosecution has failed to examine them. This is a case in which the appellants are entitled to benefit of doubt.
In view of the above, the Supreme Court allowed the appeal and set aside the judgment passed by the High Court.