Evidence Law | Jagdish v. State of Haryana, Crl.A. No. 1864 of 2009 06-08-2019 SC

SUPREME COURT OF INDIA | Ashok Bhushan & Navin Sinha, JJ. Crl.A. No. 1864 of 2009 06-08-2019

The Indian Penal Code, 1860 - Sections 302, 149 and 148 - Can the evidence of a solitary doubtful eye witness be sufficient for conviction ? Held, Conviction on basis of a solitary eye witness is undoubtedly sustainable if there is reliable evidence cogent and convincing in nature along with surrounding circumstances. The evidence of a solitary witness will therefore call for heightened scrutiny.

But in the nature of materials available against the appellants on the sole testimony of PW-1 which is common to all the accused in so far as assault is concerned, we do not consider it safe to accept her statement as a gospel truth in the facts and circumstances of the present case. If PW-1 could have gone to the police station alone with her sister-in-law at an unearthly hour, there had to be an explanation why it was delayed by six hours. Given the harsh realities of our times we find it virtually impossible that two women folk went to a police station at that hour of the night unaccompanied by any male. These become crucial in the background of the pre-existing enmity between the parties leading to earlier police cases between them also. The possibility of false implication therefore cannot be ruled out completely in the facts of the case. Therefore, in the entirety of the facts and circumstances of the case, the relationship between PW-1 and the deceased, the existence of previous animosity, we do not consider it safe and cannot rule out false implication to uphold the conviction of the appellants on the evidence of a doubtful solitary witness. [Paras 8 & 10]




Given the harsh realities of our times we find it virtually impossible that two women folk went to a police station at that hour of the night unaccompanied by any male.

An additional fact which is not only improbable but highly unnatural according to normal societal rural customs and mores is that PW-1 accompanied by her sister-in-law alone went to the police station at 3.00 A.M, a kilometer away, to lodge the F.I.R. while her husband and Pali Ram who was staying with them remained at home. [Para 5]

We therefore find the order of the High Court to be unsustainable and accordingly set it aside. The appellants are acquitted. They are directed to be released forthwith if they are not required in any other case. The appeal is allowed.

Petitioner's Advocate : Ram Naresh Yadav
Respondent's Advocate : Monika Gusain

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