The Karnataka High Court stated that there is no prohibition on considering the evidence provided by official witnesses if it is free from suspicion

Title: D B Ramesh @ Doni Ramesh And State by Excise Police


Date of Order: 07-07-2023

CORUM: HON’BLE JUSTICE Rajendra Badamikar


The Karnataka High Court has emphasized that there is no restriction to reject the evidence of official witnesses, and if their testimony is entirely free from any doubt, there is no justification for disregarding it.


In his appeal challenging the conviction, it was argued that the prosecution failed to prove the recovery, mainly because both the panch witnesses turned hostile. Therefore, the presumption under Section 54 of the Karnataka Excise Act was contended to be inapplicable. Additionally, it was asserted that the rest of the witnesses were official witnesses, and their evidence was not corroborated. Both lower courts were accused of disregarding this critical aspect and erroneously convicting the accused.

The prosecution opposed the plea by stating that although the panch witnesses turned hostile, they still admitted to their signatures on the mahazar (inventory) and the existence of the material objects. The prosecution claimed that the accused had influenced the witnesses to not support their case.


The court dismissed the appeal filed by accused D B Ramesh and upheld the order of the trial and revision court convicting him for offences under section 32(1) of the Karnataka Excise Act and Section 273 of the Indian Penal Code.

The court examined the records and found that there was no serious dispute over the fact that the house raided belonged to the accused’s wife, and the accused was residing there.

Regarding the witnesses, PWs.1 and 2, who were the Mahazar witnesses, turned hostile during cross-examination. However, they admitted their signatures on the Mahazar and their presence in the photographs taken during the raid. The court concluded that they were intentionally providing false evidence to protect the accused.

The court found PW3 (Excise Guard) and PW5 (Excise Inspector) credible, as their testimonies were not challenged significantly during cross-examination. Their evidence established the recovery of prohibited materials and their unsuitability for human consumption. The court held that the lower courts were right in convicting the accused based on the evidence provided by the official witnesses.

Consequently, the court dismissed the petition.


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Written by- Shreya Sharma

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