Even long delay in registration of FIR can be condoned if witness has no motive for falsely implicating the accused

Palani vs State of Tamil Nadu

Supreme Court



About/from the judgment:

‘The medical jurisprudence is not an exact science with precision; but merely opinionative.’


The Supreme Court has observed that even a long delay in registration of First Information Report (FIR) can be condoned if the witness has no motive for falsely implicating the accused.


The bench comprising Justice R. Banumathi and Justice Indira Banerjee was considering an appeal against conviction of one Palani in a murder case.


One of the grounds taken by the accused while assailing the conviction that there was a delay in registration of FIR and that the FIR reached the court only at 5 am on the next day, after the inquest was over. Rejecting the said contention the bench said that the delay of two and half hours in lodging the complaint and registration of FIR and the delay in receipt of the FIR by the Magistrate was rightly held as not fatal to the prosecution case.


It said: “Delay in setting the law into motion by lodging the complaint is normally viewed by the courts in suspicion because there is possibility of concoction of evidence against the accused. In such cases, it becomes necessary for the prosecution to satisfactorily explain the delay in registration of FIR. But there may be cases where the delay in registration of FIR is inevitable and the same has to be considered. Even a long delay can be condoned if the witness has no motive for falsely implicating the accused. In the present case, PW-1 had no motive to falsely implicate the accused. As pointed out earlier, PW-1 seeing her own son being brutally attacked, the effect of the incident on the mind of the mother cannot be measured. Being saddened by the death of her son, it must have taken sometime for PW-1 to come out of her shock and then proceed to police station to lodge the FIR.”


Medical jurisprudence is not an exact science with precision; but merely opinionative


On the contention that the ocular evidence is contradictory to the medical evidence, the bench said: “When the opinion given is not inconsistent with the probability of the case, the court cannot discard the credible direct evidence otherwise the administration of justice is to depend on the opinionative evidence of medical expert. The medical jurisprudence is not an exact science with precision; but merely opinionative. In the case in hand, the contradictions pointed out between the oral and medical evidence are not so grave in nature that can prove fatal to the prosecution case.”


Dismissing the appeal, the court also said that when other evidence against the accused is clear and cogent, absence of motive or insufficiency of motive is of no importance.

Read the Judgment

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