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Credible Eyewitness Account Be Given Precedence Over Medical Account In Case Of Any Contradiction: Punjab & Haryana High Court

Udit Singh
25 Jan 2023 2:35 PM GMT
Punjab and Haryana High Court, religious sentiments, gurudwara, Misappropriation Of Funds, anticipatory bail denied, Justice Harnaresh Singh Gill, Sarjeet Singh @ Surjeet Singh and others vs. State of Haryana [CRM-M-60673-2022],
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The Punjab and Haryana High Court recently held that the credible eye witness account "is to be assigned preponderance and precedence" over the medical account in case of contradiction between the two.

The court also said that the effect of minimal digressions or contradictions between the previously made statements in writing by the eyewitness and "his echoings in his testification recorded before the Court, are insignificant, especially when the echoing made by the ocular witness about the presence of all the accused, at the crime site, remains unrebutted and uncontroverted through adduction of cogent evidence."

The division bench of Justice Sureshwar Thakur and Justice Kuldeep Tiwari made the observations while dismissing the appeals filed by the appellants, who were convicted by the trial court in March 2013 in a murder case and sentenced to imprisonment for life.

The convicts Subhash @ Makkar, Ram Kumar, Baru Ram and Santro had killed Satyawan in Hisar in 2009 in connection with a land dispute.

They challenged the conviction on the ground of contradictions in the statements of complainant Dharampal, the victim's father. It was submitted that Dharampal in the previously made statement in writing, had stated that the accused, other than Subhash, had caught hold of Satyawan, and had caused him to fall on to the road and Subhash "pulverized" Satyawan under the wheels of Tata Sumo vehicle.

While being subjected to cross-examination and upon his being confronted with his previous statement in writing, the counsel representing the appellants argued, Dharampal rather stated that all the accused alighted from Tata Sumo vehicle and caught hold of Satyawan, and, when Satyawan stood up, rather all pushed him back on the ground, with his face upward, and, subsequently, accused Subhash pulverized the deceased Satyawan under the wheels of Tata Sumo vehicle, which he was driving at the relevant time.

The court said that even if in his cross-examination Dharampal minimally improved his previously made statement in writing, the purported improvement or embellishment, does not cast any doubt or any impact upon his credibility, especially when in his examination-in-chief, rather he makes a pointed incrimination against all the accused. It added that incrimination is not proven to be false or prevaricated.

The doctor, who had conducted the autopsy of the deceased, had stated in his deposition that the cause of death was hemorrhage and shock owing to injuries on vital organs, which were ante mortem in nature and sufficient to cause death in ordinary course of life.

However, in his examination-in-chief he had said that there could be a possibility that the deceased was lying on the road having face towards road, and that some vehicle had crossed over his body. He had further deposed that the possibility of the death of the deceased for that reason would be very remote.

However, the court said that the "proven incrimination" as made by Dharampal, an ocular witness to the occurrence, about all the accused being available at the crime site, and, further with an admission by the principal accused Subhash, of his being available at the crime site, inasmuch as, his making an unsuccessful attempt to save deceased Satyawan from his being brought under the wheels of Tata Sumo vehicle, "rather does connect the convicts, with the pulverizing of the deceased under the wheels of the Tata Sumo vehicle, irrespective of the above opinion being made by PW-8 Dr.Vishal Goyal.”

Advocate Salil Bali represented the appellants

DAG P.P. Chahar represented the State of Haryana

Senior Advocate Sumeet Goel, assisted by Advocates Rose Gupta, Shivam Kaushik and Paramvir Parmar, represented the complainant

Case Title: Subhash @ Makkar and Ors. v. State of Haryana and Related Matter

Coram: Justice Sureshwar Thakur and Justice Kuldeep Tiwari

Click Here To Read/Download Judgment

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