Chandigarh, August 5, 2022: The High Court of Punjab and Haryana has upheld the order of the lower court allowing the application moved by the prosecution under Section 65 of the Indian Evidence Act read with Section 311 CrPC to prove on record a copy of the note-book which was deposited with the FSL, Mohali, containing handwriting of the deceased with which the alleged suicide note was compared by the expert.
The original notebook could not be traced, thus the Bench of Justice Harinder Singh Sidhu held, “The note book is a material evidence in the case, as the suicide note had been compared with the signatures of the deceased in the said note-book.”
By filing this petition, challenge was made to the order of the lower court vide which the court allowed an application moved by the prosecution under Section 65 of the Indian Evidence Act read with Section 311 CrPC.
In this case, an FIR was registered under Sections 306, 34 IPC against the accused (petitioners) on the complaint of one Vishal Nayyar who alleged that his father committed suicide by consuming poison on account of the mental disturbance caused to due to the petitioners’ refusal to return a sum of Rs. 20 Lacs which the deceased gave to the accused as loan.
Allegedly, a suicide note was recovered from the pocket of the deceased, wherein it was mentioned that the petitioners borrowed a sum of Rs. 20 Lacs from the deceased and on being asked to return the same, they they forcibly entered the house of the deceased; physically assaulted him and even threatened to kill him. The suicide note further mentioned that on account of the conduct of the petitioners, the deceased was utter shocked and thus he asserted that in case something were to happen to him, a case be registered against the petitioners.
The matter was investigated and the challan was filed. The Investigating Officer of the case proved on record a copy of the FSL report regarding comparison of handwriting of the deceased on the alleged suicide note. Thereafter, the prosecution moved an application under Section 311 Cr.P.C for summoning Dr.Ashwani Kalia, Assistant Director (Documents), FSL, Punjab, along with relevant record.and one Rajneesh, a Journalist of Punjab Kesari Newspaper.
The said application was allowed and Dr. Ashwani Kalia appeared to prove his report regarding the handwriting of the deceased. However, he could not be examined as he had brought on record only one expert report, whereas, there were two other reports as well.
Thereafter, the prosecution moved an application under Section 65 of the Indian Evidence Act read with Section 311 CrPC to prove on record a copy of the note-book containing handwriting of the deceased with which the alleged suicide note was compared by the expert. The said application was allowed by the impugned order.
It was the prosecution’s case that the IO, while deposing in the Court stated that they sent the entire record including the notebook containing the standard handwriting of the deceased to FSL for comparison with the suicide note and that they placed the entire record received from the concerned FSL with the challan.
The challan was prepared by SI Subhash Baath and was submitted in the Court by ASI Phrithi Raj. However, the original note book of the deceased was not available with the judicial file. The IO stated that a copy of the notebook was lying in the office of FSL. SI Subhash Baath had stated in court that the original note book in the case could not be traced.
Contending that the notebook was a material evidence in the case, as the suicide note was compared with the signatures of the deceased in the said notebook, the application under Section 65 of the Evidence Act was filed.
While dealing with this application, the Lower Court observed that the relevant note book in original was not traceable despite notices being issued to the Police Officers who dealt with the file during investigation. The copy of the notebook was said to be available in the office of FSL, Mohali, thus the Court held that the production thereof was material to determine the controversy. It was also observed that no prejudice would be caused to the accused as they would have every opportunity to cross-examine the concerned witness on all aspects.
After considering the above-stated, the Court observed that the notebook was a material evidence in the case, as the suicide note was compared with the signatures of the deceased in the said notebook. Thus, the Court held that there was no infirmity in impugned order.