In the case of Karulal & Ors. v.  State of Madhya Pradesh the Hon’ble Court while dealing with an appeal against Madhya Pradesh High Court judgment upheld their conviction of murder under section 148, 302 read with section 149 of the Indian Penal Code. The Bench ruled that the testimony of a witness, who is a relative of the person whose death is being investigated, can form the basis of conviction if found to be truthful. It was also observed by the Hon’ble Court that just because the witness is a relative of the deceased, does not necessarily mean that he/she will falsely implicate innocent persons.

The Bench briefly discussed the precedents laid down in the case of Dalip Singh & Ors. v. State of Punjab AIR 1953 SC 364 and opined that “A witness is normally to be considered  independent unless he or she springs from sources which are likely to be tainted and that usually means unless the witness have such enmity against the accused, to wish to implicate him falsely. Ordinarily, a close relative would be the last to screen the real culprit and falsely implicate an innocent person.”

The Supreme Court observed that being related to the deceased doesn’t implicate that they will falsely incriminate innocent persons. The Court also cited Khurshid Ahmed v. State of Jammu and  Kashmir (2018) 7 SCC 429, State of Uttar Pradesh v. Samman Dass (1972) 3 SCC 201 and added that the defence of the witnesses had not supported the prosecution case and that the old enmity being the cause for implicating the accused.

The Bench observed that there are enough material evidences and trustworthy testimonies which clearly support the case against the accused and the prosecution should not fail on this count alone that the witness is related to the deceased. Some witnesses may not support the prosecution story for their own reasons and in such a situation, it is necessary for the Court to determine whether the other available evidence comprehensively proves the charge. In this case, it is seen that the prosecution version is cogent and supported by three eyewitnesses who have given a consistent account of the incident. Their testimonies are corroborated by medical evidence. The learned Trial Judge had elaborately discussed the evidence of both sides and came to a logical conclusion which inspires confidence. We are therefore of the view that the hostile witnesses will not affect the conviction of the appellants.

The Court in the final judgement of the present case dismissed the appeal and observed that the learned Trial Judge had discussed the evidence of both sides and come to a logical conclusion regarding the conviction and ruled that the hostile witnesses will not affect the conviction of the appellants.


Judgment Link: Karulal v. State of MP

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