The trend of witnesses disowning prosecution’s case has become too frequent and is adversely impacting the criminal justice system, a Delhi court has said while acquitting three people accused of attempting to commit culpable homicide. The court said true facts were either suppressed by witnesses or there was some manipulation during the investigation providing an advantage to the wrongdoers and conveying a negative message to society. Principal District and Sessions Judge (North) Vimal Kumar Yadav was hearing a case against three accused who were charged under sections 308 (attempt to commit culpable homicide) and 34 (common intention) of the Indian Penal Code. If a person causes death by an act intended to kill someone, or with the intention of causing such bodily injury as is likely to cause death, or with the knowledge that such action is likely to cause death, commits the offence of culpable homicide.
According to the prosecution, Ishwar, Irshad and Himanshu had assaulted the complainant Ravinder with bricks in the Bhalswa Dairy area here on August 8, 2022.
The court said Ravinder had given a clean chit to the three accused while naming another unidentified person Balwant as responsible for fighting and causing injuries to him. The accused trio, while answering the charges framed, named Balwant as the individual who fought with Ravinder. “This indicates that investigation was faulty, motivated or compromised,” the court said. Noting that the prosecution witness and complainant Ravinder had turned hostile, the court said the prosecution was unable to show the complicity of the accused even remotely. The court, however, said the testimony of hostile witnesses cannot be washed away simply because the witnesses have turned hostile and the part of the testimony, which was relevant and truthful, can still be acted upon.
But in the present case, even if the testimony was read in evidence, it was still inconsequential and there was no evidence showing the complicity of the accused persons, the court said acquitting the trio. The court observed the case of Bhalswa Dairy Police Station “collapsed under its own weight” as the prime witness and the mainstay of the prosecution’s case disowned the case on the most vital aspect i.e, about the complicity of the accused persons.
“In other words, this is another example where the public witness(es) turned hostile and rendered the entire exercise of the criminal justice system futile,” the court said. “This trend of witnesses disowning the prosecution’s case has become too frequent, which is affecting the criminal justice system very adversely as true facts are either suppressed by them or there is some mix-up or manipulation at the stage of investigation which results to the advantage of the wrongdoers and conveys a negative message to the society at large,” the court added.
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