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The evidence as a whole having a ring of truth cannot be discarded merely because the maker is a related witness : Madhya Pradesh High Court

The Madhya Pradesh High Court in the case of Ramlakhan vs The State Of M.P. (CRIMINAL APPEAL No. 1222 of 2000) upheld that the evidence as a whole having a ring of truth cannot be discarded merely because the maker is a related witness.

Facts of the case: One day the co-accused in this case Manohar put grass bundles on the stairs of Hanuman Temple. When complainant Inder Singh and his brother Balkrishna told Manohar to remove the same then Manohar refused to do so. At that time, appellant Ramlakhan along with his brothers Mukesh and Amrit also came there. Then all four persons surrounded him and the appellant with an intention to kill attacked Balkrishna by using a knife due to which Balkrishna sustained several injuries on his left side of the abdomen and right side of the forearm. Balkrishna fell down on the spot. After hearing hue and cry of the complainant, Inder Singh, Arjun, Mahesh, Maan Singh and Ramprasad came there for intervention. Inder Singh lodged an FIR at police station Shajapur.

On the basis of a memorandum of appellant under Section 27 of the Evidence Act, police recovered a blood stained knife from his possession. The trial Court on the basis of the allegation made in the charge-sheet framed the charges punishable under Section 307 of IPC upon the appellant and against two other co-accused persons. The appellant and other co- accused persons abjured their guilt and pleaded complete innocence and took the plea that they have been falsely implicated in this matter. 

Judgment: As per report, the injuries sustained by victim Balkrishna was dangerous to life and sufficient to cause death in the natural course. Learned counsel further contended that Balkrishna (PW-2) and other eyewitnesses are the family members of the victim, therefore, being interested witnesses their statements could not be relied upon. 

Although there were so many contradictions and omissions between the statement of the victim and statement of Balkrishna and other witnesses, the Court found that such contradictions and omissions were trivial in nature and neither material nor sufficient to wholly discard the witnesses. It was observed that omissions or lapses in investigation cannot be a ground to discard the prosecution case which is otherwise credible and cogent. It was also observed that the evidence as a whole having a ring of truth cannot be discarded merely because the maker is a related witness. It is a settled principle that the evidence of an interested witness needs to be scrutinized with utmost care. It can only be relied upon if the evidence has a ring of truth to it, is cogent, credible and trustworthy.

It is true that Inder Singh is the brother of victim Balkrishna and Mahesh, Maan Singh and Arjun Singh are also the family members of the victim Balkrishna but their presence on the spot was quite natural and their versions are also trustworthy and reliable, which are duly corroborated by the medical evidence . The court did not find any infirmity insofar as the reasoning given by the trial Court and the offense under Section 307 of the IPC was attracted. The court upheld the conviction of the accused. 

JUDGMENT REVIEWED BY : SHUBHANGI CHAUDHARY

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