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Failure of the investigating agency to hold a test identification parade does not have the effect of weakening the evidence of identification in the court : Madhya Pradesh High Court

In the case of Narayan vs State of MP (CRA 100 of 2012) the Madhya Pradesh High Court held that the failure of the investigating agency to hold a test identification parade does not have the effect of weakening the evidence of identification in the court. As to what should be the weight attached to such an identification will depend upon the peculiar facts and circumstances of each case.

Facts of the case: In this case, complainant Laxman Singh lodged a report at Police Station Bijoli on 16-02-2004 that he has a tube-well in the agricultural field situated at the turn of Village Berja. His nephew Gopal (abductee) had gone to sleep at the tube-well after having dinner in the night at around 10:00 O’clock and on the next day, Gopal did not return home till 10:00 O’clock in the morning. It was informed in the house that Gopal was not found present at tube-well. During the search of Gopal at the tube-well a key was found lying outside the gate and a lathi was also lying nearby and one of the shoes of Gopal was also found lying and the mustard crops in the field was found here and there. A missing report was registered and an investigation was started. During investigation, it was found that Gopal was abducted for ransom. On that basis, complaint under Section 364-A of IPC was registered against five – six miscreants. Prakash [the brother of Gopal] and relative Jagat Singh went to Mau and Kheriya to search Gopal out where Karan Singh told that Gopal has been kidnapped by Pancham Jatav, Narayan Kachhi, Udal Singh Kachhi, Narayan Singh Mirdha, Kalyan Singh Gurjar and Sumer Kachhi. Thereafter, on reaching Village Kheriya, they met Udal Kachhi who demanded Rs.5 lac for the purpose of release of abductee Gopal. Thereafter, Jagat Singh and Prakash along with accused Udal Kachhi went to the forest of Lokanpur where abductors- miscreants were seen. Abductee Gopal was recovered from captivity of abductor miscreant Pancham Singh & other miscreants on 12-03-2004. Statement of abductee Gopal (PW1) was recorded wherein he stated that he was kidnapped by miscreants Pancham Jatav, Narayan Kachhi, Narayan Mirdha, Udal Kachhi, Kalyan alias Kallu, Sumer Kachhi and Gariba alias Hanumant Singh who had demanded Rs.5 lacs for the purpose of his release.

All the accused were arrested and after completion of investigation and other formalities, a charge sheet was filed before the Court concerned. Charges of Sections 364-A, 365 IPC were framed against the accused persons.

It was contended by the counsel for the defendant that no evidence of independent witnesses was produced by the prosecution in order to prove its case beyond reasonable doubt. It was also contended on behalf of appellants that in absence of Test Investigation Parade of abductee by police, dock identification of accused should not be believed.

Judgment: The court in this case upheld that Code of Criminal Procedure does not oblige the investigating agency to necessarily hold a test identification parade nor is there any provision under which the accused may claim a right to the holding of a test identification parade. The failure of the investigating agency to hold a test identification parade does not, in that view, have the effect of weakening the evidence of identification in the court. As to what should be the weight attached to such an identification is a matter which the court will determine in the peculiar facts and circumstances of each case. In appropriate cases the court may accept the evidence of identification in the court even without insisting on corroboration.

It is clear that Dock Identification of accused in the Court is a substantive piece of evidence because the basic purpose of conducting TIP by police is to ascertain that whether police are proceeding in the correct direction or not. In the present case at hand, non-holding of TIP by police cannot be said to be fatal to the prosecution case for the simple reason that once abductee in his police statement has named the miscreants, then it is not necessary for police to hold TIP.

The Court was of the considered view that the prosecution had rightly established its case beyond reasonable doubt that Gopal was abducted by all the accused persons in a secret and intention manner and ransom amount was demanded from the family members of the abductee. Therefore, no interference was called for. All the criminal appeals lacked merit and were dismissed.

JUDGMENT REVIEWED BY : SHUBHANGI CHAUDHARY

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