The content of this judgement is written by Abhinav Pandey. He is a content writing intern at Legal Thirst.
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION CRIMINAL APPEAL.NO.764 OF 2021
MAHENDRA SINGH AND ORS….APPELLANT(S)
STATE OF MP…..RESPONDENT(S)
CRIMINAL APPEAL.NO.765 OF 2021
The Current appeal has been filed challenging the judgement of the Madhya Pradesh High Court Gwalior Bench, on 6th August 2019 in Criminal Appeal No 317 of 2000, dismissing the appeal filed and thus uploading the conviction of the Trial court under Section.148 & 302 read with Section 149 0f the Indian Penal Code,1860.
On 12th June 1994, Anmol Singh on his way from Basoda met his brother Bhagat Singh. They boarded a bus from Nyi Sarak to Chak Ranapur and from there they walked towards their village Budhor. Around 7 P.M They reached Ratanpur while walking Amol Singh was followed by Akhe Singh and he turn followed by Bhagat Singh. Amol Singh hear a cry of his brother Bhagat Singh on turning back he found, that Shambhu Rajput Santosh, Lakhan, Mahendra, and Pritam had hit and assaulted Bhagat Singh with Ballam causing injury on the front side of the body Padam Singh had hit Bhagat Singh with a rod and Dashrat Singh with a lathi on his head and three others with sticks Amol Singh and Akhe Singh ran to save their life and narrated the whole incident to Deewan Singh, Pooran Singh, Mokam Singh, etc after reaching village Budhor. When they all came back to the incident spot they found Bhagat Singh dead.They took the dead body to the police station on a hired tractor of veer Singh.
TRIAL COURT OBSERVATION & ORDER
Sessions Court Ganj Basoda District Vidisha, Madhya Pradesh framed charges against 11 accused of the offences punishable under Sections 148 and 302 read with Section 149 of the Indian Penal Code,1860
At the conclusion of the trial court acquitted Bhagat Singh, Vishwanath Singh, Dashrath Singh, Padam Singh, Bana Lal alias Bana Singh, and Pappu alias Kuber Singh vide Judgement date 18th April 2000. The same judgement however convicted the present appellants of offences as supplemented in the introduction.
HIGH COURT OBSERVATIONS & ORDER
Aggrieved by the Trial Court judgement, all of the convicted prepared an appeal before the High Court of Madhya Pradesh, Bench at Gwalior. An impugned order passed by the High Court dated 6th August 2019 had dismissed the appeals.
-Evidence from Mahendra Singh, Akhe Singh, Mobat Singh, and Kok Singh Raghuvanshi revealed that Anmol Singh could not have witnessed the incident.
-Relying on Vadivelu Thevar v. The State of Madras, it was submitted that the said witness falls in the category of “wholly unreliable”. Thus, conviction on his testimony is unsustainable. On the basis of the same testimony, the Trial Court had acquitted six accused, while convicting and sentencing the other five.
– A delayed FIR created doubt on the trustworthiness of the case.
-Ms. Ankita Chaudhary, learned DAG, submitted that the Trial Court, as well as the High Court, have rightly relied on the testimony of Amol Singh (P.W.6).
She submitted that the maxim “falsus in uno falsus in omnibus” is not accepted in India. She relied on the judgments of Shakila Abdul Gafar Khan (Smt) vs. Vasant Raghunath Dhoble and another, State of Andhra Pradesh vs. Pullagummi Kasi Reddy Krishna Reddy alias Rama Krishna Reddy and others, and Rupinder Singh Sandhu vs. State of Punjab and others to fortify her submissions
SUPREME COURT’s OBSERVATION AND ORDER:
The court decided that witnesses are of three types: (a) totally dependable; (b) wholly unreliable; and (c) neither wholly reliable nor wholly unreliable, based on the observations of the famous Vadivelu Thevar vs. The State of Madras decision. Only in the third group of witnesses must the Court use caution and seek verification in key particulars from trustworthy testimony, whether direct or circumstantial. It will be useful to refer to Mahendra Singh’s evidence (P.W.3). In his testimony, he revealed that he was seated in his residence at his (Chowk). Bhagat Singh is dead near Nagar Chak, according to Mobat Singh (D.W.3) and Amol Singh (P.W.6). Akhe Singh (P.W.4) has given his testimony on similar lines. It is abundantly evident from the evidence of these witnesses that Amol Singh (P.W.6) could not have observed the occurrence and would be classified as a “wholly untrustworthy” witness. As a consequence, the following Judgement was issued: The impugned Judgement dated 6th August 2019, pronounced by the Division Bench of the High Court of Madhya Pradesh, and the learned Additional Sessions Judge’s order dated 18th April 2000, are quashed and set aside. The appellants have been found not guilty of the allegations brought against them. The appeals have been granted.
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