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There is a difference between “related witness” and “interested witness” as “Interested witness” is a witness who is vitally interested in the conviction of a person due to previous enmity : Madhya Pradesh High Court

The Madhya Pradesh High Court in the case of Pappu @ Matiuddin vs State Of M.P. (Cr.A.No. 246 of 2010) upheld that there is a difference between “related witness” and “interested witness” as “Interested witness” is a witness who is vitally interested in the conviction of a person due to previous enmity.

Facts of the case: The Appellant Pappu @ Matiuddin lodged an FIR on 21-4- 2008. He is a labourer by profession. At about 19:00, his father Jainuddin was sitting outside his shop. The complainant has an enmity with Imambaksh and the case was pending in the Court. At that time, Imambaksh with Ali, Basheer, Patel @ Shakeel, Baksha @ Jameel, Shriram, Khunde, Bakar, Jumman, Jamal and Mouzu came there and started assaulting him. At that time, Ali fired a gun shot with an intention to kill the complainant. Basheer fired a gun shot and his father Jainuddin came rushing in order to save him. Then Ali fired a gun shot from his gun causing gun shot injury to Jainuddin, who died on the spot. 

Alibaksh lodged FIR against the appellant Pappu @ Matiuddin, Phulle @ Kabuluddin Javeli and others on the allegations that they have killed Imambaksh and Jameel and in order to create a false defence, the co-accused Phulle @ Kabuluddin and others have killed their own father Jainuddin. 

The injuries found on the body of Appellant Pappu @ Matiuddin were found to be self-inflicted. Although in FIR, it was alleged that Ali had killed his father by his 12 bore gun, whereas in Post Mortem it was found that the deceased had suffered gun shot fired by .315 bore gun. The Trial Court framed charges against the appellant under Sections 148,302/149,194,182,211, 120-B of I.P.C.

Being aggrieved by the judgment and sentence passed by the Trial Court, it was submitted by the Counsel for the Appellant, that all the witnesses are related and interested witnesses, therefore, their evidence was not liable to be discarded. There are material omissions and contradictions in the evidence of the witnesses. 

Judgment: The court dealt with the contention regarding the interest of the witnesses for furthering the prosecution version. It held that relationship is not a factor to affect credibility of a witness. It is more often than not that a relation would not conceal the actual culprit and make allegations against an innocent person. Foundation has to be laid if a plea of false implication is made. In such cases, the court has to adopt a careful approach and analyze evidence to find out whether it is cogent and credible. 

Why a “related witness” would spare the real culprit in order to falsely implicate some innocent person? There is a difference between “related witness” and “interested witness”. “Interested witness” is a witness who is vitally interested in the conviction of a person due to previous enmity. Furthermore, why would a related witness spare the original assailant. 

As regards the contention that all the eyewitnesses are close relatives of the deceased, it is by now well-settled that a related witness cannot be said to be an “interested” witness merely by virtue of being a relative of the victim. A witness may be called interested only when he or she derives some benefit from the result of a litigation, which in the context of a criminal case would mean that the witness has a direct or indirect interest in seeing the accused punished due to prior enmity or other reasons, and thus has a motive to falsely implicate the accused. 

Thus, the testimony of the witnesses could not be discarded only on the ground that they are related witnesses. From the evidence which came on record, it was clear that initially, the Appellant Pappu @ Matinuddin along with 4 other persons shot Imambaksh and Jameel and while fleeing away they killed their own father Jainuuddin, thus, it was held that the Appellant Pappu @ Matinuddin was the member of Unlawful Assembly and in furtherance of Common Object, the deceased Jainuddin was killed. Accordingly, the Appellant Pappu was held guilty of committing offence under Sections 148, 302/34 of IPC.

JUDGMENT REVIEWED BY : SHUBHANGI CHAUDHARY

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