Unless the medical evidence totally excludes out the eye witness version, eye witness testimony is preferred to medical evidence: Gauhati High Court

The medical evidence value is usually only substantial. It shows that the injuries were allegedly caused and nothing more. The use of medical evidence by the defence aims to illustrate that the injuries could not be produced in the way that the eye-witnesses allegedly were and discredit them. Unless the medical record in its turn goes so far as to exclude totally all possibilities of injuries the testimony of the eyewitnesses may not be cast out on the grounds of a supposed discrepancy between the testimony and the medical proof. The judgement was passed by the High Court of Gauhati in the case of Anan Nayak v. the State of Assam [CRL.A(J)/36/2018] by Division Bench consisting of Hon’ble Justice N. Kotiswar  & Justice Soumitra Saikia.

The facts of the case are that an FIR was lodged by the wife of the deceased against the appellant Mangra Nayak. It was alleged that he held her husband’s hand and the appellant felled her husband by striking a blow on his head with a shovel. Before killing her husband he was struck on his neck which incident was witnessed by the complainant’s son. On the basis of the said FIR, the investigation was held and both the appellants were charge-sheeted.

Learned counsel for the appellants submits that though the said weapon of crime was stated to be a shovel which was stated to have been recovered from the house of the father-in-law of the appellant, the said weapon was never produced before the court during the trial. Further, the said weapon was never sent for forensic examination to match the fingerprints on the weapon with that of the appellants nor the bloodstain found on the weapon of crime was sent for forensic examination. According to the learned counsel for the appellants, non-production of the weapon of crime and non-examination forensically of the same are serious lapses on the part of the investigation which would cast a doubt on the veracity of the prosecution case. It has been submitted that if the weapon of crime had been sent for forensic examination and the fingerprints and the blood available on the same were matched with the victim and the appellants, these could have clinched the matter. However, as the same had not been done, it cannot be said that the prosecution has been able to prove the case against the appellants beyond all reasonable doubts.

He further relied on Yogesh Singh Vs. Mahabeer Singh, wherein it was held that “failure to examine the weapon of murder for fingerprints to connect the accused with it is extremely fatal to the prosecution case.”

Learned counsel for the respondent submitted that the session court has dealt with this meritoriously and hence, the petition should be dismissed.

 While dismissing the petition the court observed that “the testimony of eye witness would be preferable to medical evidence, unless the medical evidence completely rules out the eye witness version.” Further, the court held that “the appellant was guilty of committing the offences under Sections 302/341/34 IPC and has been correctly convicted by the learned trial court.”

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