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Police records and FIR are not substantive piece of evidence: High Court of Karnataka

The records maintained by the Police during the course of their investigation cannot really be considered as substantive evidence and cannot be taken as proof the facts stated therein. This was held in SRI SRI. RAVI @ RAVINDRA V. THAMMANNA & ors and UNITED INDIA INSURANCE COMPANY LIMITED v. SRI. RAVI @ RAVINDRA & ors.[M.F.A.No.6863/2014 & M.F.A.No.1541/2015] in the High Court of Karnataka by single bench consisting of Justice N.S.SANJAY GOWDA.

Facts are that the appellant, a pedestrian was struck by a motorcycle while walking by the road, he suffered a permanent disability and thus was granted compensation by the Tribunal. The claimant filed appeal seeking for enhancement of compensation, while the Insurance Company is challenging the award of the Tribunal on the ground that there was no motor vehicle accident.

The counsel for the Insurance company contended that the police had investigated and concluded that the claimant fell from a tree and no motor accident took place. Police had filed a ‘B’ report, thus it was not open for the Tribunal to record a finding that the claimant suffered injuries due to a motor vehicle accident.

The court made reference to the Supreme Court judgement in Baldev Singh & Another V. State of Punjab, wherein the following observations were made, “FIR is not a substantive piece of evidence, it is only relevant in judging the veracity of prosecution case and the value to be attached to it depends on the facts of each case. Only the essential or broad picture need be stated in the FIR and all minute details need not be mentioned therein. It is not a verbatim summary of the prosecution case.”

The court relied on the judgment of the Apex Court in the case of Anita Sharma and Others Vs. The New India Assurance Company Limited to highlight evidentiary value of police records, wherein it was cited that, “It would hardly need a mention that the plea of negligence on the part of the first respondent who was driving the pick-up van as set up by the claimants was required to be decided by the learned Tribunal on the touchstone of preponderance of probabilities and certainly not on the basis of proof beyond reasonable doubt.”

Considering the precedent and the facts of the case court held that, the reliance placed by insurers on the records of the prosecution cannot be a determinative factor of the occurrence of the accident. There is no provision under the MVA or its Rules which indicate that the police records are to be considered as formal proof. Thus enhancing the compensation of claimant and dismissing appeal of Insurance company.

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