Karulal & Ors. v The State of Madhya Pradesh
Criminal Appeal No. 316 of 2011
decided on 9 October, 2020.
BENCH– NV Ramana, Surya Kant and Hrishikesh
On the day of incident, M, along with her brother B, was working in the fields, B reported that he suddenly heard his father’s crying as he was being attacked by six assailants. B along with his sister rushed to spot immediately. Both of them were sole eyewitness of the case. All the assailants who were equipped with sharp edged lethal weapons ran away after seeing B and his sister coming to the spot B and M with the help of villagers took their father’s body to hospital and subsequently register an FIR.
Whether a court could rely on the related witnesses’ testimony for the basis of conviction?
The Supreme Court answered the question is affirmative and upheld the High Court and Trial Court judgement, convicting the accused under Section 148, 302 and 149 of IPC. The Court also held that related witnesses’ testimony, if found truthful can be the basis of conviction. The Hon’ble Court while discussing the evidentiary value of a related witness relied on number of precedents to conclude that merely because witness is related to deceased would not necessarily mean that they have falsely implicated an innocent person. Further the Hon’ble Court cited State of Uttar Pradesh v Samman Dass(1972) 3 SCC 201, where Justice Khanna observed that “infact close relatives of a murdered person are most reluctant to spare the real assailant and falsely involve another person in place of assailant.”