Testimony of key Witnesses cannot be discredited when consistent, trustworthy, and natural, irrespective of omissions: Supreme Court

While hearing appeals against the conviction order of the High court, the Supreme court held that one cannot discredit or disregard the statements of injured witnesses or because there minor contradictions. This judgment was passed in the case of Kalabhai Hamirbhai Kachot vs. State of Gujarat [Crl.A.No.216/2015] by a Double Bench consisting of Hon’ble Justice Ashok Bhushan and Hon’ble Justice R. Subhash Reddy.

The present appeals were preferred against the common judgment of the High Court of Gujarat. The appellants were accused of offenses under the section 326, 324 and 34 of IPC and section 135 of Bombay Police Act. The offenses were tired in the Additional Sessions Judge and were convicted for the offenses under section 320 r/w 34 IPC and section 135(1) of the Bombay Police Act. The informant file a complaint stating that his family is engaged in agricultural work three other persons while returning on an evening were hit by the accused with an axe and knives. One person died and others injured. As per the investigation, the incident took place due to rivalry. The learned sessions judge acquitted the accused no.2 and no.3 of the charges under sections 326 and 324 r/w section 34 of IPC. The High Court while hearing the appeal held that all the sentences imposed against the accused would run concurrently and by extending the benefit of section 428 CrPC, ordered the period of detention of the accused as under trial prisoners be set off against the sentence.

The supreme court after hearing the parties observed that there was no ground for the court to interfere with the decision of the High Court. it was observed that as part of proving the charges framed against the appellants, the prosecution examined 32 witnesses and marked 61 documents as exhibits during trial. The doctor who performed the post mortem held that all injuries were ante-mortem. The Court held that an attempt was able to assault the deceased with an axe and therefore the submission that there was no head injury would be discarded.

The supreme court held that contradictions that are sought as minor contradictions cannot be the basis to discard the evidence. The court also held that the evidence of injured witnesses cannot be brushed aside without assigning cogent reasons. Furthermore, only contradictions in material particulars and not minor contradictions can be a ground to discredit the testimony of the witness. The Supreme Court held that the prosecution proved the case against all the appellant-accused beyond a reasonable doubt. When the key witnesses’ testimony is trustworthy, consistent, and natural, based on certain omissions one cannot discredit them.

The supreme court concluded by holding, “For the aforesaid reasons, we do not find any merit in these appeals same are according dismissed.”

Click here for the judgment.

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