Evidence Act, 1872 — Section 3 — Appreciation of evidence

September 5th, 2013

Evidence Act, 1872 — Section 3 — Appreciation of evidence — Discrepancies, omissions, embellishments and improvements — Law in respect of, reiterated.

A. Shankar v. State of Karnataka, AIR 2011 SC 2302, Followed.

(Para 7)

HELD: So far as the discrepancies, embellishments and improvements are concerned, in every criminal case the same are bound to occur for the reason that witnesses, owing to common errors in observation, i.e., errors of memory due to lapse of time, or errors owing to mental disposition, such as feelings shock or horror that existed at the time of occurrence. The court must form its opinion about the credibility of a witness, and record a finding with respect to whether his deposition inspires confidence. “Exaggeration per se does not render the evidence brittle. But it can be one of the factors against which the credibility of the prosecution’s story can be tested, when the entire evidence is put in a crucible to test the same on the touchstone of credibility.” Therefore, mere marginal variations in the statements of a witness cannot be dubbed as improvements, as the same may be elaborations of a statement made by the witness at an earlier stage. “Irrelevant details which do not in any way corrode the credibility of a witness cannot be labelled as omissions or contradictions.” The omissions which amount to contradictions in material particulars, i.e. which materially affect the trial, or the core of the case of the prosecution, render the testimony of the witness as liable to be discredited. Where such omission(s) amount to contradiction(s), raising serious doubts about the truthfulness of a witness, and other witnesses also make material improvements before the court in order to make their evidence acceptable, it cannot be said that it is safe to rely upon such evidence.

(Para 7)

State of Madhya Pradesh v. Dal Singh[Bench Strength 2], Criminal Appeal No. 2303/2009(21/05/2013), 2013(4) Supreme 318: 2013(7) SCALE 513: 2013(5) SLT 589: 2013(8) JT 625 [B.S. Chauhan, J.: Dipak Misra, J.]

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