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Awadesh singh v.


the Supreme Court in the case of Awadhesh v. State of M. P. AIR 1988 SC 1158. The Supreme Court came to the conclusion that "although the powers of the High Court to reassess the evidence and reach its own conclusion are as extensive as in an appeal against the order of conviction, yet, as a rule of prudence, the High Court should always give proper weight and consideration to matters e.g., (i) the view of the trial Judge as to the credibility of the witnesses; (ii) the presumption of innocence in favour of the accused, a presumption certainly not weakened by the fact that he has been acquitted at the trial; (iii) the right of the accused to the benefit of any doubt, and (iv) the slowness of an appellate Court in disturbing a finding of fact arrived at by a Judge who had the advantage of seeing the witnesses".

Also in this case the SC found that medical expert's opinion is not always final and binding unless corroborated with an eye witness.

Accused As a Witness (self incrimination vs confession)

Art 20(3) on the constitution states that no person accused of an offence shall be compelled to be a witness against imself. It is a protection given to the accused,but if he volunteers to give evidence there wouldnt be any compulsion to give evidence and so Art 20(3) woul not be applied RE: central Calcutta bank ltd AIR 1957 cal 520

Hostile Witness

Definition of a hostile witness and the Indian Evidence Act is most careful in Section 154 not to restrict the right of cross-examination even by committing itself to the word hostile. The supreme court in Bhagwan Singh v. State of Haryana [AIR 1976 SC 202] held that merely because the Court gave permission to the Public Prosecutor to cross- examine his own witness describing him as hostile witness does not completely efface his evidence. The evidence remains admissible in the trial and there is no legal bar to base conviction upon the testimony of such witness. In State of U.P. v, Ramesh Prasad Misra (2 supra) the Supreme Court held that the evidence of a hostile witness would not be totally rejected if spoken in favour of the prosecution or accused, but it can be subjected to close scrutiny and that portion of the evidence which is consistent with the case of the prosecution or defense may be accepted. In Balu Sonba Shinde v. State of Maharashtra 2003 SCC (Crl.) 112 the Supreme Court held that the declaration of a witness to be hostile does not ipso facto reject the evidence. The portion of evidence being advantageous to the parties may be taken advantage of, but the Court should be extremely cautious and circumspect in such acceptance. The testimony of hostile witness has to be tested, weighed and considered in the same manner in which the evidence of any other witness in the case

Value of medical report as an indivisual testimony

The expert evidence under section 45 of IEA i.e the medical report is a weak type of evidence and the courts do not consider it to be conclusive. It is therefore, not safe to rely upon it without seeking independent and reliable

corroboration. S. gopal reddy v. st. of Andhra Pradesh AIR 1996 SC 218 (para 27)following Magan bihari lal v. state of Punjab AIR 1977 SC 1091 (at pg 1093) Also in Awadesh v. state of MP AIR 1988 SC 1158 it is held that
medical expert's opinion is not always final and binding, unless corroborated with an eye witness.

Evidentary value of FIR

It is settled law that a first investigation report is not a substantive evidence, that is to say it is not an evidence of facts which it says. State of Assam v. U.N Rajkhowa 1975 cri LJ 354, 378 How ever its importance as conveying the earliest information regarding the occurance cannot be denied. Hasib v. State of Bihar (1972) 4 SCC 773

Interested witness- how relevant

The Apex Court in the case of State of U.P.vs. Ram Swarup (1988 Supp SCC 262) had an occasion to consider a similar question. The Apex Court in para (10) of its judgment has observed thus : There is no rule of law to the effect that the evidence of partisan witnesses cannot be accepted. The fact that the witnesses are associated with the faction opposed to that of the accused by itself does not render their evidence false. Partisanship by itself is no ground for discarding sworn testimony. Interested evidence is not necessarily false evidence. In a small village like the one under consideration where people are divided on caste basis, the prosecution may not be able to get any neutral witness. Even if there is any such neutral witness, he will be reluctant to come forward to give testimony to support one or the other side. Therefore, merely because the eye witnesses are associated with one faction or the other, their evidence should not be discarded. It should, no doubt, be subjected to careful scrutiny and accepted with caution."

It can thus be seen that from the aforesaid judgments of th Apex Court, it is clear that merely because the evidence is of the interested witnesses should not be a ground to discard the evidence of such witnesses. Also, The credibility of the witness does not get affected merely because he is related to the deceased person, or does not state the incident in the same language or manner which in the opinion of the court is natural. Rokad singh v. s. of M.P 1994 Cr LJ 494 (para 6) relying on State of U.P v. Krishna Gopal AIR 1988 SC 2184

Presumption of innocence

In the case of state of up v. ashok kumar srivastav 1992 SCR (1) 32 The SC held that:
. While appreciating circumstantial evidence the court must adopt a very cautious approach and should record a conviction only if all the links in the chain are complete pointing to the guilt of theaccused and every hypothesis of innocence is capable of being negatived on evidence. Great care must be taken in evaluating circumstantial evidence and if the evidence relied on is reasonably capable of two inferences, the one in favour of the accused must be accepted. The circumstance relied upon must be found to have been fully established and the cumulative effect of all the facts so established must be consistent only with the hypothesis of guilt. But this is not to say that the prosecution must meet any and every hypothesis put forward by the accused however far-fetched and fanciful it might be. Not does it mean that prosecution evidence must be rejected on the slightest doubt because the law permits rejection if the doubt is reasonable and not otherwise.