Read Judgment: MAHENDRA SINGH AND ORS v. STATE OF M.P 

Tulip Kanth

New Delhi, June 4, 2022: Acquitting the appellants of the charges under Sections 148 and 302 read with Section 149 IPC, the Supreme Court has held that no conviction could be based solely on testimony of a prosecution witness falling in the category of wholly unreliable witness. 

Observing that only because motive is established, the conviction cannot be sustained, the Division Bench of Justice B.R.Gavai and Justice Hima Kohli asserted, “It is a settled law that same treatment is required to be given to the defence witness(es) as is to be given to the prosecution witness(es).”

The investigation in the present case was set in motion on the basis of the oral report of Amol Singh (sixth prosecution witness), on the basis of which a First Information Report came to be registered.It was his case that the  accused persons had assaulted and murdered his brother on on account of previous enmity.Charges were framed against all the 11 accused for the offences punishable under Sections 148 and 302 read with Section 149 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860. Being aggrieved by the judgment passed by the Trial Court, all the convicted and sentenced accused preferred an appeal before the High Court of Madhya Pradesh. By the impugned judgment the High Court of Madhya Pradesh, Bench at Gwalior, the appeal. Hence the present appeals.

Noticing that the conviction of the present appellants was based basically on the testimony of Amol Singh, the Bench opined that from the facts it was clear that this witness could not have witnessed the incident.Also, the Bench held that the  medical evidence could only establish that the death was homicidal. However, it could not have been used to corroborate the version of the witness that he had witnessed the incident.

Saying that the prosecution had failed to prove the case beyond reasonable doubt and the accused were entitled to be given the benefit of doubt, the Bench allowed the appeal. 

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