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Wednesday, March 11, 2015

In the case of Bipin Kumar Mondal v. State of West Bengal, (2011) 2 SCC (Cri) 150 = (2010) 12 SCC 91, it has been held by this Court that there is no legal impediment in convicting a person on the sole testimony of a single witness provided he is wholly reliable. In the present case there is no ground to doubt the reliability of the evidence provided by PW-3. Even if there is a difference between ocular and medical evidence, it is clear from the facts that the accused were present there with the common intention to attack the deceased. Thus, a difference between ocular and medical evidence will not stand any ground in acquitting the accused in the present case.

                                                                  REPORTABLE
                        IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
                       CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION
                      CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 707  OF  2007

Edward
...Appellant
                                  :Versus:
Inspector of Police, Aandimadam Police Station      ...Respondent

                                    WITH
                      CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 774  OF  2007
Periyanagayasamy and Ors.                         ....Appellants
                                  :Versus:
Inspector of Police, Aandimadam Police Station ....Respondent


                                  JUDGMENT

Pinaki Chandra Ghose, J.
1.    These appeals have been filed by accused persons against the  judgment
and order dated 16.3.2006 passed  by  the  Madras  High  Court  in  Criminal
Appeal No.1540 of 2002 by which the High  Court  has  dismissed  the  appeal
filed by  the  appellants.  The  facts  of  the  case  as  narrated  by  the
prosecution are briefly stated as under:

2.    The deceased Michaelraj and the accused persons were residents of  the
same Village in Taluk Udayarapalayam in District  Perambalur.  There  was  a
land dispute between Michaelraj and the accused persons on account of  which
there was enmity between them.  Originally, the grandmother of the  deceased
Michaelraj executed a settlement deed  in  favor  of  Michaelraj  which  was
subsequently cancelled. Thereafter, a portion of the property  was  executed
in favor of the  appellant.  Despite  the  settlement  deed,  the  appellant
claimed that his possession of property was disturbed by  the  deceased  and
his relatives. Therefore, the appellant filed a suit  against  the  deceased
and his relatives. The appellant further claimed that  even  though  interim
orders were passed in the suit,  Michaelraj and his relatives did not  allow
the appellant  to enjoy his possession of the property.

3.    On 10.12.1997 at around 7:30 p.m.,  when  Michaelraj  along  with  his
friend John Paul was returning from the  house  of  his  father-in-law,  the
appellant and other accused persons attacked him with deadly  weapons.  This
occurrence was witnessed by John Paul (PW-1) and  Anthoni  Raj  (PW-3).  The
deceased sustained injuries and was taken  to  the  hospital  in  a  serious
condition.  In the meantime, PW-1 went to the Police Station  and  filed  an
FIR to PW-11. Subsequently, a case was registered under Sections  147,  148,
341,  324  and  307  of  the  Indian  Penal  Code  ("IPC").  On  14.12.1997,
Michaelraj died at the hospital and thereafter the inspector of police  (PW-
12) altered the case into one under Section 302 of the IPC. PW-12  filed  an
application seeking police custody from the Court.  On  police  custody,  he
obtained confession from  the  appellant,  which  led  to  the  recovery  of
weapons, which were sent for chemical examination.  Thereafter,  PW-14  took
up the matter from PW-12 and investigated  the  case  further  and  filed  a
charge-sheet for offence under Section 302 of the IPC.

4.    The matter came up before the Trial Court, which after  going  through
the evidence provided by the sole-eyewitness PW-3, concluded that  the  case
of prosecution is proved beyond doubt  and  thereby  convicted  the  accused
under Sections 148, 149, 302 & 341 of IPC. Aggrieved by the judgment of  the
Trial Court, the accused preferred an appeal before the Madras  High  Court.
The High Court vide its judgment and order dated 16.3.2006,  partly  allowed
the appeal filed by the accused persons, convicted them  under  Section  304
Part II of IPC and sentenced them to rigorous imprisonment for  five  years,
stating that the doctor who treated the deceased was not  examined  and  the
documents regarding the nature of treatment were not produced. Aggrieved  by
the said judgment and order passed by the High Court, the sole appellant  is
before us.


5.    We have heard the learned counsel appearing on behalf of the  parties.
Learned counsel appearing for the appellant has relied on the case of  State
of Orissa v. Brahamananda Nanda, (1976) 4 SCC 288, in which the entire  case
of the prosecution rested on the oral evidence provided by  an  eye-witness,
which was rejected by the High Court and simultaneously  dismissed  by  this
Court. The counsel for the appellant also relied on the  case  of  State  of
Karnataka v. Venkatesh and others, (1992) Suppl.1 SCC 539, in which  it  has
been held by this Court that in absence of reliable testimony and  evidence,
guilt of the accused cannot be proved. The learned  counsel  contended  that
in the present case, there was no reliable evidence adduced by  PW-3  as  he
was the only witness providing evidence against the accused and  it  can  be
further seen that PW-1 had turned hostile.


6.    Learned counsel for the  appellant  further  relied  on  the  case  of
Harish Kumar v. State Delhi Administration, (1994)  Suppl.  1  SCC  462,  in
which it has been held by this Court that it was not given proper  materials
to examine the nature of the treatment given to the  deceased.  The  counsel
stated that in the present case,  the  nature  of  treatment  given  to  the
deceased by the doctors had not been recorded and  the  deceased  died  four
days after the occurrence of the incident. So it cannot  be  concluded  that
the deceased died exclusively due to the injuries.


7.    Learned counsel for the Respondent on the other  hand,  supported  the
impugned judgment passed by the High Court.


8.    With regard to the contention of the counsel for  appellant  where  he
has stated that the single eye-witness is inimical towards the  accused,  in
the case of Dalip Singh and Ors. v. State of Punjab, (1954) 1  SCR  145,  it
has been held by this Court that, it is true  when  feelings  run  high  and
there is a personal cause for enmity, there is a  tendency  to  drag  in  an
innocent person against whom the witness has a grudge  but  foundation  must
be laid for such a criticism and each case must be judged  and  governed  on
its own facts. In this case we do not see any evidence for  the  eye-witness
to be inimical towards the accused.


9.    In the case of Bipin Kumar Mondal v. State of West  Bengal,  (2011)  2
SCC (Cri) 150 = (2010) 12 SCC 91, it has been held by this Court that  there
is no legal impediment in convicting a person on the  sole  testimony  of  a
single witness provided he is wholly reliable. In the present case there  is
no ground to doubt the reliability of the evidence provided by  PW-3.


10.   Even if there is a difference between ocular and medical evidence,  it
is clear from the facts that the accused were present there with the  common
intention to attack the deceased. Thus,  a  difference  between  ocular  and
medical evidence will not stand any ground in acquitting the accused in  the
present case.


11.   In view of the above discussion, we  are  of  the  considered  opinion
that  the  facts  and  circumstances  of  the  case  do  not   warrant   any
interference  by  us  in  the  matter.  The  appeals  lack  merit  and   are
accordingly dismissed.

....................................J
(Pinaki Chandra  Ghose)



....................................J
(R.K. Agrawal)
New Delhi;
March 11, 2015.
ITEM NO.1A               COURT NO.12               SECTION IIA
(For judgment)
               S U P R E M E  C O U R T  O F  I N D I A
                       RECORD OF PROCEEDINGS

                      Criminal Appeal  No(s).  707/2007

EDWARD                                             Appellant(s)

                                VERSUS

INSPECTOR OF POLICE, AANDIMADAM P.S.               Respondent(s)


WITH
Crl.A. No. 774/2007



Date : 11/03/2015      These appeals were called on for pronouncement
            of judgment today.


For Appellant(s) Mr. M.N. Rao, Sr. Adv.
                       Mr. S. Thananjayan, Adv.

                       Mr. Basant R., Sr. Adv.
                       Ms. Promila, Adv.
                       Mr. Karthik Ashok, Adv.

For Respondent(s)      Mr. M. Yogesh Kanna, Adv.
                       Ms. J. Janani, Adv.
                       Mr. A. Santha Kumaran, Adv.


      Hon'ble Mr. Justice Pinaki Chandra  Ghose  pronounced  the  reportable
judgment of the Bench comprising His Lordship and Hon'ble Mr.  Justice  R.K.
Agrawal.
      The appeals are dismissed in terms of the signed reportable judgment.


      (R.NATARAJAN)                                 (SNEH LATA SHARMA)
       Court Master                                    Court Master
            (Signed reportable judgment is placed on the file)

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