Relation to victim no bar to testimony: SC

Mon 05 Jun 2017, 05:28:45
The Supreme Court has held that a witness's testimony cannot be rejected just because he/she is related to the deceased in a criminal case. It would, however, call for greater scrutiny and caution in examining the statement.

A bench of Justices L Nageswara Rao and Navin Sinha upheld the conviction and life term sentence awarded to three men from Tamil Nadu - Balasubramanium, Govindaraj and Chandrashekharan - for killing Gnanasekaran in July 2007.

The deceased was the brother of appellants Balasubramanium and Govindaraj. In their plea, the appellants challenged their conviction and sentence, contending that the three prosecution witnesses - Lakshmi, wife of the deceased, her sister's son Udaychandran and her brother Lalbahadur Sastri- were closely related to each other. 

Among other grounds, they argued that all the three witnesses fall into the category of interested witness and it will not be safe to convict them on the basis of their version.

"The fact that the witness may be related to the deceased by marriage, cannot be sufficient reason to classify him as a related and interested witness to reject his testimony. It may only call for greater scrutiny and caution in consideration of the same," the bench said, rejecting their plea.

Relying upon Lakshmi's testimony, the bench said, being the wife of the deceased, we find no reason why she would not be speaking the truth with regard to the real assailants, instead of shielding them by false implication. 

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