SUPREME COURT OBSERVES THAT THE TESTIMONY OF A WITNESS IN A CRIMINAL TRIAL CANNOT BE DISCARDED MERELY BECAUSE OF MINOR CONTRADICTIONS OR OMISSIONS
A Two Judge Bench of the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India comprising of Justice Dinesh Maheshwari and Justice Krishna Murari in the matter of Makela Sivaiah vs. The State of Andhra Pradesh Criminal Appeal No. 2016 of 2013 passed a Judgment dated 15-07-2022 and while dismissing the Appeal held that the Trial Court and the High Court were right in convicting the Appellant and that the Supreme Court does not find any reason to interfere with the findings of the Trial Court and High Court.
On 06-09-2006, the deceased (father of PW-1) and Madhirapalli Srinivasa Rao (PW-1) went to Lemalle Village to sell their vegetables. The deceased crossed the road and went to Shaik Subhani’s (PW-3) shop to purchase tobacco leaves. Shaik China John (PW-2) and Kovvuri Venkateswara Rao (PW-4) were also present at the shop. After seeing the deceased, the Appellant who was carrying a knife, entered the shop and sprinkled chilli powder into the deceased’s eyes before stabbing him with a knife on the chest and abdomen, resulting in grievous injuries. The Appellant fled from the scene immediately. At the hospital, the deceased was declared dead by the doctors. A FIR (FIR No. 120/2006) was registered on 06-09-2006 for the offence punishable under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) based on the aforementioned report given by PW-1. The Police examined the witnesses and arrested the Appellant. A charge sheet was filed against the Appellant.
The Trial Court vide Order dated 04-04-2008 held that the Appellant was found guilty of offence committed under Section 302 of IPC and punished the Appellant for imprisonment for life. Aggrieved by the Order of the Trial Court, the Appellant filed a Criminal Appeal No. 811 of 2008 before the High Court of Andhra Pradesh. The High Court vide Order and Judgment dated 22-06-2012, observed that there is no doubt in the case of the Prosecution and the Prosecution has proved the guilt of the Accused beyond reasonable doubt.
The learned Counsel for the Appellant, Mr. Ravindra S. Garia submitted that the weapon (knife) that was used by the Appellant was not seized by the police and that the Prosecution failed to examine the FIR and there was delay in submitting the FIR to the court.
The Supreme Court observed that in every criminal case, this Court does not function as a regular Court of Appeal. Normally, the High Court is the final court of Appeal, while the Supreme Court has only special jurisdiction. This Court would not reexamine the evidence to determine the correctness of findings unless there are exceptional circumstances.
The Supreme Court thus observed that:
24. The facts and evidence in present case has been squarely analyzed by both Trial Court as well the High Court and the same can be summarized as follows:
(i) The prosecution has discharged its duties in proving the guilt of the appellant for the offence under Section 302 IPC beyond reasonable doubt.
(ii) When there is ample ocular evidence corroborated by medical evidence, mere non-recovery of weapon from the appellant would not materially affect the case of the prosecution.
(iii) If the testimony of an eye witness is otherwise found trustworthy and reliable, the same cannot be disbelieved and rejected merely because certain insignificant, normal or natural contradictions have appeared into his testimony.
(iv) The deceased has been attacked by the appellant in broad daylight and there is direct evidence available to prove the same and the motive behind the attack is also apparent considering there was previous enmity between the appellant and PW-1.
Thus, the Supreme Court held that the Trial Court and the High Court were right in convicting the Appellant for the offence under Section 302 IPC and that the Supreme Court does not find any reason to interfere with the findings of the Trial Court and High Court .The present Appeal is thus dismissed.
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