Witness – Evidence - It is a well settled position of law that the testimony of a witness cannot be discarded in toto merely due to the presence of embellishments or exaggerations - It is not uncommon for witnesses to make exaggerations during the course of evidence - But merely because there are certain exaggerations, improvements and embellishments, the entire prosecution story should not be doubted - Moreover, minor variations in the evidence will not affect the root of the matter, inasmuch as such minor variations need not be given major importance, inasmuch as they would not materially alter the evidence/credibility of the eye witnesses as a whole - Criminal Trial. (Ranjit Singh v. State of Punjab, (1974) 4 SCC 552). (2018)2 SCeJournal 1390
Criminal Trial – Related witnesses - The fact that PWs are related to the deceased is not in dispute - The existence of such relationship by itself does not render the evidence of PWs untrustworthy - This Court has repeatedly held so and also held that the related witnesses are less likely to implicate innocent persons exonerating the real culprits - Admittedly, the incident took place in broad daylight in a busy area - Obviously, the incident would have been witnessed by many others - Submission of the accused that the nonexamination of any person other than PWs renders the evidence of PWs untrustworthy cannot be accepted - The mere fact that some more witnesses, who would have witnessed the occurrence, were not examined does not render the evidence of related PWs untrustworthy - In fact, in a matter like this, examining any other witness who was supposed to have witnessed the offence would increase the burden of the prosecution to establish that such a witness is not a chance witness.
Criminal Trial – Planted witnesses - Incident occurred at 12.30 PM - From the facts , it follows at least by 3 p.m. PWs were present and actively associated with the abovementioned events- If they were to be planted as eyewitnesses, it must have happened between 12.30 and 3.00 p.m. - That means in a gap of two and a half hours between 12.30 p.m. to 3.00 p.m., the investigating officer must have identified PWs to be witnesses who would act to the dictation of the investigating agency and support the version of the prosecution and plant them - Such a theory in our opinion would be a fantastic piece of fiction and it presupposes that PW5 for some unknown reasons bore an enmity to A1 to plan such a deep plot to implicate A1 in the crime- In the process, we must not forget that A1, even by the date of the occurrence, was some kind of a celebrity - We would find it difficult to believe such a version - The general tendency – if we do not take leave of common sense – is to turn a blind eye to the violations of law committed by celebrities.
Criminal Trial - Interested witnesses -The ground pleaded before us by the counsel for the accused appellant, that the testimonies of P.W. should not have been considered, as they were interested witnesses - Holds no teeth - Testimonies of interested witnesses are of great importance and weightage - No man would be willing to spare the real culprit and frame an innocent person. This view has been supplemented by the decision of this Court in Mohd. Ishaque v. State of West Bengal,3 (2013) 14 SCC 581. (2016)3 SCEJ 562
Criminal trial - Related witnesses - Admissibility of a statement by related witnesses - There is no bar on the admissibility of a statement by related witnesses supporting the prosecution case, but it should stand the test of being credible, reliable, trustworthy, admissible in accordance with law and corroborated by other witnesses or documentary evidence of the prosecution - It is the quality of the witness that matters and not the quantity, when the related witness was examined and found credible - In such a case non-examination of an independent witness would not be fatal to the prosecution case - Evidence . Held, that in the present case, however, the prosecution witnesses PW-4 and PW-5, contradict each other, and their statements are not corroborated by any independent witness in spite of the incident happening in the market place, with shops on both sides of the road. Therefore, in our view, as the testimonies of PW-4 and PW-5 are not completely reliable, this is a fit case where corroboration by an independent witness was required. The case of the prosecution also weakens on the ground that the only independent witness PW-8 turned hostile. (2016)3 SCEJ 554