Read Judgment: Goutam Joardar & Anr vs. State of West Bengal & Another 

Pankaj Bajpai

New Delhi, October 18, 2021: The Supreme Court has recently opined that the mere factum of delay in recording the statements of the concerned eye-witnesses, by itself cannot result in rejection of their testimonies. 

A Larger Bench of Justice Uday Umesh Lalit, Justice Bela M. Trivedi and Justice S. Ravindra Bhat observed that if the witnesses felt terrorized and frightened and did not come forward for some time, the delay in recording their statements stood adequately explained.

Going by the background of the case, the Apex Court had been approached by the murder accused challenging the delay in recording the statements made by the eye-witnesses u/s 161 and 164 of the CrPC, 1973 contending that the same would be fatal to the case of the prosecution. 

In the course of Trial, prosecution examined thirty-seven witnesses and exhibited a number of documents. At the same time, defence of the appellants was one of innocence and false implication. 

Opposing the same, the counsel for the State contended that the terror unleashed by the accused was of such magnitude that the concerned witnesses had fled away in fear and that it was only after the appropriate steps were taken by the investigating machinery including the arrest of the accused that the witnesses came forward. 

Finding that the testimonies and statements of the eye-witnesses were cogent, consistent and trustworthy, the Apex Court dismissed the appeals and affirmed the view taken by the Trial Court and the High Court.

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