Criminal Law | Mallikarjun v. State of Karnataka, Crl.A. No. 1066 of 2009 08-08-2019 SC

SUPREME COURT OF INDIA | R. Banumathi & A.S. Bopanna, JJ. Crl.A. No. 1066 of 2009 08-08-2019

Criminal Procedure – When a grave crime is registered, the PSI who is in-charge of the police station cannot wait for the arrival of the Circle Inspector or wait for the instruction to commence the investigation. [Para 24]

Evidence Law – Minor discrepancies and inconsistent version do not necessarily demolish the prosecution case if it is otherwise found to be creditworthy.

While appreciating the evidence of a witness, the approach must be to assess whether the evidence of a witness read as a whole appears to be truthful. Once the impression is formed, it is necessary for the court to evaluate the evidence and the alleged discrepancies and then, to find out whether it is against the general tenor of the prosecution case. If the evidence of eye witness is found to be credible and trustworthy, minor discrepancies which do not affect the core of the prosecution case, cannot be made a ground to doubt the trustworthiness of the witness. [Paras 13 & 14]

Evidence Law – Evidence of a witness is not to be disbelieved simply because he/she appears partisan or is related to the deceased/prosecution witness. It is to be ascertained whether the witness was present or not and whether he/she is telling the truth or not.

The place of occurrence being the house of the deceased Bhimraya, PW-5-mother of the deceased is a natural witness to speak about the occurrence. PW-5-mother of deceased also explained that how she was present in the house and how she happened to be in the place of occurrence. As pointed out by the courts below, even after cross-examination, the defence was not able to establish anything that can create doubt as to the evidence of PW-5. That apart, PW-5 has no reason to falsely implicate the accused. Being the mother of deceased, it is highly improbable that PW-5 would have falsely implicated the accused at the instance of the police or anyone else. [Para 16]

Evidence Law – The expert is not a witness of fact. Opinionative evidence of the doctor is primarily an evidence of opinion and not of fact. It is only a corroborative piece of evidence as to the possibility that the injuries could have been caused in the manner alleged by the prosecution. Unless the medical evidence rules out such possibility of injury being caused in the manner alleged by the prosecution version, the testimony of the eye witness cannot be doubted on the ground of its inconsistency with medical evidence.

Though at one place, PW-12-doctor has stated that injury No.1 could not have been caused by MO-1- dagger, on being further questioned, he has stated that injury No.1 could have been caused by MO-1 either by attacking on the throat two or three times or by inflicting injury on the throat and twisting the weapon. Considering the evidence of PW-12- doctor, there is no merit in the contention as to the alleged variance between the medical evidence and the ocular evidence. [Para 20]

Criminal Law – Delay in registration of FIR and the receipt of the same in the court – There may be cases where the delay in FIR gives rise to the suspicion as to the false implication; but when the delay is satisfactorily explained, delay in registration of the FIR or receipt of the same in the court would not affect the prosecution case.

PW-6-husband of PW-5 and father of deceased was away from the house and naturally, it would have taken some time for PW-5 and her son PW-7 to lodge the complaint about the occurrence. The effect on the mind of PW-5 on seeing the death of her son, cannot be measured. Being grief-stricken because of death of her son, it might have taken some time for PW-5 and PW-7 to lodge the complaint. [Para 21]

Evidence Law – the evidence of the Investigating Officer can be relied upon to prove the recovery even when the panch witnesses turned hostile.

PW-17-PSI has clearly spoken about the recovery of MO-1- dagger at the behest of accused No.1 and MO-2-dagger and MO-3-handle of the axe from the scene of occurrence and his evidence cannot be discarded merely because panch witnesses have turned hostile. [Para 23]

Petitioner’s Advocate : (Mrs.) Vipin Gupta
Respondent’s Advocate : Joseph Aristotle S.

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