Delay In Recording Witnesses’ Statements Can Be Fatal For Prosecution Case

Harbeer Singh vs Sheeshpal and Ors

Supreme Court

20/10/2016

2016(7)Supreme 419 : 2016(4)Crimes 114 : CRIMINAL APPEAL NOS.1624-1625 OF 2013

About/from the judgment:

Criminal tiral - Appreciation of evidence - Every improvement is not fatal to the prosecution case - Defence may take advantage of an improvement which creates serious doubt about truthfulness or credibility of a witness.

 

The Supreme Court has observed that delay in recording of statements of the prosecution witnesses under Section 161 CrPC., although those witnesses were or could be available for examination when the Investigating Officer visited the scene of occurrence or soon thereafter, would cast a doubt upon the prosecution case.

 

A bench comprising Justice Pinaki Chandra Ghose and Justice Amitava Roy made this observation while upholding a Rajasthan High Court judgment, which had acquitted the accused in a murder case.

 

Referring to Ganesh Bhavan Patel Vs. State Of Maharashtra, the court observed that though it is a well-settled law that delay in recording the statement of the witnesses does not necessarily discredit their testimony, but if those witnesses were or could be available for examination when the Investigating Officer visited the scene of occurrence or soon thereafter, and even then the delay has occurred, it would cast a doubt upon the prosecution case.

 

The court, referring to Mousam Singha Roy and Ors. Vs. State of WB, also observed that deposition of a chance witness, whose presence at the place of incident remains doubtful, ought to be discarded.

Read the Judgment

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