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There is no general rule that the evidence of the relations of the deceased must be corroborated for securing the conviction of the offender: Orissa High Court

The fact that the witnesses are related to each other is no criterion for disregarding their evidence. Relative should have no interest to falsely implicate the accused or protect the real culprit. There is no general rule that the evidence of the relations of the deceased must be corroborated for securing the conviction of the offender. Each case depends upon its own facts and circumstances. The judgement was passed by the High Court of Orissa in the case of Benga @ Imam Mahammad v. State of Orissa [CRLA No.19 of 2003] by Division Bench consisting of Hon’ble Justice S. Panda & S. K. Panigrahi.

The present appeal has been filed against the judgment of conviction and order of sentence passed by the learned Sessions court, whereby the appellant has been convicted for commission of an offence punishable under Section 302 of the I.P.C. and sentenced to undergo imprisonment for life.

Learned Counsel for the appellant submits that out of the two eye-witnesses, the brother of the deceased has turned hostile. He even denied having lodged the F.I.R. and given any statement to the Investigating Officer. On the other hand, a conviction cannot be established only on the basis of the sole testimony of P.W.6 without any proper corroboration from any other independent witness. Additionally, the injury sustained by the appellant has not been explained by the prosecution which vitiates the prosecution story. Further, on his deposition before the Court stated that the police took his signature on some written papers. He further stated that he has not been examined by the police and nothing has been seized in his presence.

Learned Counsel for the respondent has submitted that the report of the Medical Officer reveals that the deceased suffered homicidal death due to the injury inflicted by the seized weapon. Further, he relied upon the evidence of P.W.6 who is one of the eye-witnesses and also sustained injuries while trying to save the deceased from the onslaught. Hence, he submits that the prosecution has sufficiently proved the motive of the accused in committing such a heinous crime. Having made the aforesaid submissions, learned Counsel for the State submits that the prosecution has been successful in establishing the truth beyond reasonable doubt that the appellant herein is the author of the crime and that the present appeal ought to be dismissed being devoid of merit.

While relying on the case of Gangadhar Raju alias Balachandran vs. State of Tamil Nadu, the court noticed that “It is well settled that the testimony of a related witness cannot be discredited mechanically because relationship of the witness cannot be a ground to determine the credibility of the testimony.”

While dismissing the appeal the court held that “the prosecution has been successful in bringing home the charges against the appellant beyond reasonable doubt and that the Court below has appropriately dealt with the evidence and the attuning circumstances in proper perspective. The mere fact that the solitary witness is related to the deceased or did not state the incident in the same language or in a manner which is natural, in the opinion of the court does not affect in any way the credibility of the witness.”

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