Requirement of independent Witnesses is not Fatal to the Prosecution Case : Supreme Court (Read Order)

Requirement of independent Witnesses is not Fatal 

Law Point : Requirement of independent Witnesses is not Fatal to Prosecution 

Case Title : Guru Dutt Pathak vs. State of Uttar Pradesh (Supreme Court)

Brief of the Case : The original accused has preferred the present appeal dissatisfied with the impugned judgment and order passed by the High Court, by which the High Court has allowed the said appeal preferred by the State and has reversed the judgment and order of acquittal passed by the learned trial Court acquitting the accused for the offences punishable under Section 302 read with Section 34 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 (IPC).

The question involved in present case is, whether in the facts and circumstances of the case, the High Court is justified in interfering with the order of acquittal passed by the learned trial Court. In the case of Manjit Singh v. State of Punjab, it is observed and held by this Court that, reliable evidence of injured eyewitnesses cannot be discarded merely for reason that, no independent witness was examined. In the recent decision in the case of Surinder Kumar v. State of Punjab, it is observed by this Court that, merely because prosecution did not examine any independent witness, would not necessarily lead to conclusion that accused was falsely implicated.

In the case of Rizwan Khan v. State of Chhattisgarh, it is observed and held by this Court that the examination of independent witnesses is not an indispensable requirement and such non-examination is not necessarily fatal to the prosecution case.

The prosecution witnesses have fully supported the case of the prosecution, more particularly PW2 and PW4 and they are found to be trustworthy and reliable, non-examination of the independent witnesses is not fatal to the case of the prosecution. The incident is not disputed by the accused. The place of occurrence of the incident has been established and proved by the prosecution as per the case of the prosecution. The prosecution has proved the place of incident as stated in the FIR.

In facts and circumstances of the case and on re-appreciation of the evidence, when the High Court has come to the conclusion that, the findings recorded by the learned trial Court while acquitting the accused were perverse and even contrary to the evidence on record and/or misreading of the evidence, the High Court has rightly interfered with the judgment and order of acquittal passed by the learned trial Court and has rightly convicted the accused.

In the present case, the Appellant – original accused no.4 was specifically named right from the very beginning in the FIR. He has been attributed the specific role. The same has been established and proved from the evidence of PW4 (even if the deposition of PW2 is for the time being ignored). No error has been committed by the High Court in interfering with the judgment and order of acquittal passed by the learned trial Court. There is no reason to interfere with the impugned judgment and order passed by the High Court reversing the acquittal and convicting the accused. The present appeal is accordingly dismissed.

Read Order.PDF

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