The Patna High Court on Wednesday reiterated that evidentiary value of an injured witness carries greater weight and the same may be relied upon unless there are major contradictions in his statements.
In this view, the high court refused to interfere with the order of conviction passed by the trial court, whereby it had imposed imprisonment of seven years on the Appellant, Chandan Chaudhry, for committing offences that are punishable under Sections 307, 326, 341 and 447 of IPC.
These charges relate to attempt to murder, causing grievous hurt by dangerous weapons, wrongful restraint and criminal trespass. Essentially, the Appellant had been accused of intruding in the complainant's house and having attempted to murder him and his family members, on account of persisting enmity between them.
The Appellant assailed the order of conviction stating that the same had been passed mechanically, without properly appreciation of the facts. He contended that non-examination of the I.O. by the prosecution had prejudiced him inasmuch as there was material exaggeration and contradictions in evidence, which went unaddressed in his absence.
The court agreed that there happened to be certain contradictions that had not been confronted due to non-examination of the I.O. In this regard it observed,
"It is not the sound principle of law that there should be examination of I.O. in order to prove its case at the end of the prosecution. However, the court has to see, whether the prosecution has succeeded in substantiating its case even in absence of I.O. But, if it is found that prosecution version is found suffering from knickering then, in that circumstances examination of I.O. is found necessary. And, in that circumstances the non-examination of I.O. will be considered a severe lacuna in the prosecution case coupled with other ancillary grounds so stated at the end of defence." Reliance was placed on Mano Dutt & Anr. v. State of U.P, 2012(2) PLJR 163 (SC).
Thereby holding that the prosecution had properly substantiated its case, Justice Aditya Kumar Trivedi refused to interfere with the findings of the trial court merely because of non-examination of I.O.
He further noted that the Appellant could not controvert the testimony of the medical examiner who deposed with regard to nature of injury of the complainant and his family members. Hence stating that uncontroverted testimony of an injured witness held greater evidentiary value, he said,
"So far as the status of the injured witness is concerned, that has got priority and presence of the injury is indicative of the fact that the witness has sustained injury in a manner as deposed by him and his presence is further found affirmed at the place of occurrence and so, unless resolutely filliped, his version is to be accepted…"
Reliance was placed on Mukesh & Anr. v. State for NCT of Delhi & Ors., 2017(3) PLJR 248 (SC), wherein the Apex Court reiterated in light of various precedents that, "The evidence of an injured witness is entitled to a greater weight and the testimony of such a witness is considered to be beyond reproach and reliable. Firm, congent and convincing ground is required to discard the evidence of an injured witness."
The court lastly clarified that even though there happened to be some sort outcoming with regards the identification of the Appellant-accused, the same was not lethal as it attained clarity by the end of the trial.
Reliance was placed on Sheo Shankar Singh v. State of Jharkhand, (2011) 3 SCC 654, wherein the Apex Court had held that,
"The failure of the investigating agency to hold a test identification parade does not, in that view, have the effect of weakening the evidence of identification in the court. As to what should be the weight attached to such an identification is a matter which the court will determine in the peculiar facts and circumstances of each case. In appropriate cases the court may accept the evidence of identification in the court even without insisting on corroboration."
The Appellant was represented by Senior Advocate Ramakant Sharma and Advocates Anjani Parashar and Dhananjay Kr. Tiwary and the State by APP S. A. Ahmad.