Irrelevant details which do not in any way corrode the credibility of a witness cannot be labelled as omissions or contradictions.

Bhajan Singh @ Harbhajan Singh & Ors vs State of Haryana

Supreme Court

04/07/2011

CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 562 of 2007

About/from the judgment:

It is a settled legal proposition that while appreciating the evidence of a witness, minor discrepancies on trivial matters, which do not affect the core of the prosecution’s case, may not prompt the Court to reject the evidence in its entirety. “Irrelevant details which do not in any way corrode the credibility of a witness cannot be labelled as omissions or contradictions.” Difference in some minor detail, which does not otherwise affect the core of the prosecution case, even if present, would not itself prompt the court to reject the evidence on minor variations and discrepancies. After exercising care and caution and sifting through the evidence to separate truth from untruth, exaggeration and improvements, the court comes to a conclusion as to whether the residuary evidence is sufficient to convict the accused. Thus, an undue importance should not be attached to omissions, contradictions and discrepancies which do not go to the heart of the matter and shake the basic version of the prosecution witness. As the mental capabilities of a human being cannot be expected to be attuned to absorb all the details, minor discrepancies are bound to occur in the statements of witnesses. [Vide: Vijay @ Chinee v. State of M.P., (2010) 8 SCC 191; and Brahm Swaroop (Supra)]

Read the Judgment

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