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Version Of "Sterling Witness" Should Be Unassailable: Gauhati High Court

Upashana Duarah
6 Feb 2022 5:39 AM GMT
Version Of Sterling Witness Should Be Unassailable: Gauhati High Court
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The Gauhati High Court held that the version of sterling witness is of very high quality and calibre and therefore, requires it should be unassailable while hearing a criminal appeal against the conviction of the appellant by the Special Court under section 4 of the POCSO Act, 2012.Sterling witness as defined in Rai Sandeep v. State (NCT of Delhi) (2012) 8 SCC 21 is a witness whose version can...

The Gauhati High Court held that the version of sterling witness is of very high quality and calibre and therefore, requires it should be unassailable while hearing a criminal appeal against the conviction of the appellant by the Special Court under section 4 of the POCSO Act, 2012.

Sterling witness as defined in Rai Sandeep v. State (NCT of Delhi) (2012) 8 SCC 21 is a witness whose version can be accepted by the court without any corroboration and based on which the guilty can be punished. The court explained that the statement of sterling witness is to be accepted for its face value without hesitation while there should be consistency in the statement from the start till the end.
The HC also held that unless there are compelling reasons making it necessary to corroborate the statement of a victim of sexual offence, the court can act on the sole testimony of the victim to convict an accused person. However, such testimony has to inspire confidence.
The HC further held that minor discrepancies in the statement of the victim girl cannot be a ground to disbelieve her testimony while relying on State of Himachal Pradesh v. Manga Singh (2019) 16 SCC 759.
The Apex court held that "minor contradictions or small discrepancies should not be ground for throwing the evidence of the prosecutrix and that conviction can be sustained on the sole testimony of the prosecutrix, if it inspires confidence".
The court further went on to explain that admission of guilt by a convicted person need not be proved as per section 58 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872 which states that -
Facts admitted need not be proved. —No fact need to be proved in any proceeding which the parties thereto or their agents agree to admit at the hearing, or which, before the hearing, they agree to admit by any writing under their hands, or which by any rule of pleading in force at the time they are deemed to have admitted by their pleadings: Provided that the Court may, in its discretion, require the facts admitted to be proved.
The Court found no infirmity with the impugned judgement of the Special Court as it found no reason to doubt the testimony of the sterling witness,i.e., the victim.
The Criminal Appeal was accordingly dismissed and the impugned judgement was upheld.
Case Title: Sh.N. Beilytu v. State of Mizoram
Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (Gau) 7
Case No: Crl.A.No 4 of 2021
Date: 21.01.2022
Coram: Justice Michael Zothankhuma and Justice Marli Vankung


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