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IF THE IDENTIFICATION OTHER THAN IN COURT IS TRUTHFUL AND RELIABLE, SUCH SUBSTANTIVE EVIDENCE CAN BE

RAJA Vs. STATE BY INSPECTOR OF POLICE

CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 740 OF 2018 WITH CRIMINAL APPEAL NOS.1608-1609 OF 2018- December 10, 2019.

The appeal was brought to the Supreme Court of India before the bench consisting of Honourable Justice Uday Umesh Lalit and Honourable Justice Indu Malhotra.

The appellant challenged the common judgment and order passed by the High Court of Judicature at Madras dismissing Criminal Appeal preferred by said accused as well as original Accused No. 4.

APPELLANTS CONTENTIONS

The principal submissions advanced on behalf of the appellants were:

(a) The initial reporting showed that the identity of the assailants was not known to any of the witnesses. The admissions given by PWs. 1, 2, 3 and 4 in their cross-examination showed that the accused were shown to the witnesses in the Police Station. It was accepted that the photographs of the accused were published in local newspapers.

(b) According to the initial version of the prosecution, Accused No.7, a neighbour living in the vicinity was responsible for the crime and the appellants were said to be his accomplices. However, every eye-witness stated that Accused No.7 was not involved in the crime. The acquittal of said Accused No.7 was accepted by the prosecution. There was thus no connection of the appellants with the crime.

(c) The recoveries were not supported by PW8-Thangaraj. The other Panch was also not examined.

RESPONDENTS CONTENTIONS

Mr. Kanna learned advocate for the State, however, submitted that as found by the Courts below, the eye-witness account through PWs.1 to 5 was clear, cogent and completely reliable. Every one of those prosecution witnesses had suffered injuries; their presence could never be doubted; and considering the nature of injuries the opportunity available to them to observe the features of each of the Accused was quite enough. Learned counsel for the State has also relied upon the decision of this Court in Anil Kumar v. State of U.P. wherein the test identification parade was held 47 days after the arrest of the appellants. This Court after considering several decisions of this Court including the decisions in Brij Mohan v. State of Rajasthan, Daya Singh v. State of Haryana and State of Maharashtra v. Suresh concluded that since the identifying witness was attacked by the assailants including the appellant and another, he had a clear look at the assailants.

OBSERVATIONS MADE BY THIS COURT

The Honourable Court observed that the facts on record thus indicate with clarity that:

(a) There was no delay in holding the test identification parade and the delay, if any, was attributable to the fact that one of the accused was in judicial custody whose presence had to be secured only after appropriate permissions from the court; (b) It is not the case of the accused that Accused No.6 was ever shown to any of the witnesses. The test identification parade of Accused No.6 has no infirmity on any count and all the witnesses consistently identified said Accused No.6; (c) Out of five injured witnesses, two had completely denied that either the accused or their photographs were shown to the witnesses, while other three did accept the suggestion in that behalf; and (d) All the witnesses were injured in the transaction with number of injuries. It can, therefore, safely be stated that every one of them had adequate and proper opportunity to observe the features of each of the accused.

Thereby, this Honourable Court, after going through the facts and circumstances of the case delivered its judgement as under,

“As has been repeatedly laid down by this Court, what is important is the identification in Court and if such identification is otherwise found by the Court to be truthful and reliable, such substantive evidence can be relied upon by the Court. Considering the totality of circumstances on record, the presence and participation of the Accused Nos.1 to 6, in our view, stood proved through the eyewitness account. We do not find any infirmity in the evidence of identification by PWs 1 to 5. Since we have accepted and relied upon the eye-witness account, the subsidiary issues like recoveries and whether they were proved in a manner known to law, need no further elaboration.  Consequently, we find that the Appellants were rightly found guilty of the offences with which they were charged. Affirming their conviction and sentence, we dismiss these appeals.”

View/ Download the Judgment:Raja V. State by the Inspector of Police

– Tanvi Srivatsan

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