A statement recorded by sole witness u/s 161 of CrPC is inadmissible in evidence for conviction of an accused.
Case brief: Parvat Singh and ors v. State of Madhya Pradesh
Case name: Parvat Singh and ors v. State of Madhya
Case number: Criminal Appeal No. 374 of 2020 [Arising out of SLP (Crl) No. 9252 of 2018]
Court: Hon'ble Supreme Court of India
Bench: Justice Ashok Bhushan, Justice M.R.Shah
Decided on: 02.03.2020
Relevant statutes: Section 149, 302 of the IPC,1860. Section 161
of the CrPC, 1973.
Brief facts of the case:
1. According to the case of the prosecution, the informant Mullo Bai – PW8 was sleeping in the cattle shed. At that time, the appellants and one another accused named Bal Kishan, s/o Diman Singh while sharing common object caused murder of Bal Kishan, s/o Bhagwan Singh.
2. As per the case of the prosecution and according to the informant, when she was sleeping in the cattle shed in the house, around 4-5 a.m. in the morning due to the barking of the dogs she woke up and in the light of torch, she saw that in the cattle shed, accused Bal Kishan with an axe and other original accused Nos. 2 to 5 herein with sticks/lathis in their hands were standing.3. Thereafter, accused Bal Kishan entered in the cattle shed and with an intention to kill her son Bal Kishan gave a blow of axe. She shouted and the other members of the family and nearby house came there and all the accused ran away from the spot.
4. All the accused were charge-sheeted for the offences punishable under Section 302 r/w Section 149 and Section 450 of the IPC. The case was committed to the Court of Sessions. All the accused pleaded not guilty, therefore, all the accused came to be tried by the Learned Trial Court for the aforesaid offences.
5. All the accused including the appellants came to be tried by the Learned Trial Court for the offences under Section 302 r/w Section 149 of the IPC for having killed one Bal Kishan s/o the informant Mullo Bai on 01.12.2005 around 4-5 a.m. in the morning at Village Hinotiya Gird.
6. This petition was filed by appellants aggrieved by the order dated dated 19.04.2018 passed by the High Court of Madhya Pradesh at Gwalior in Criminal Appeal No.574 of 2006 by which the High Court has confirmed the conviction of the appellants herein – original accused Nos.2 to 5 for the offences punishable under Section 302 r/w Section 149 of the IPC.
Issue before the court
1. Whether in the facts and circumstances of the case, can the appellants herein – original accused nos. 2 to 5 be convicted relying upon the deposition of the sole witness – PW8 and whether PW8 is a reliable and trustworthy witness to convict the appellants herein- original accused nos. 2 to 5?
Ratio of the Court:
1. It is vehemently submitted by Mr. Srivastava, learned Senior Advocate that the High Court has not properly appreciated the fact that the Trial Court convicted the appellants solely relying upon the evidence/deposition of Mullo Bai – PW8.
2. The court observed that However, as per the settled preposition of law a statement recorded under Section 161 Cr.P.C. is inadmissible in evidence and cannot be relied upon or used to convict the accused. As per the settled proposition of law, the statement recorded under Section 161 Cr.P.C. can be used only to prove the contradictions and/or omissions. Therefore, as such, the High Court has erred in relying upon the statement of PW8 recorded under Section 161 Cr.P.C. while observing that the appellants were having the lathis.3. The court held in view of the material contradictions, omissions and improvements in the statement of PW8 recorded under Section 161 Cr.P.C. as well as deposition before the Court qua the appellants – accused nos. 2 to 5 and that there was a prior enmity and no other independent witness has supported the case of the prosecution, we are of the opinion that the appellants herein – original accused nos. 2 to 5 are entitled to be given the benefit of doubt.
1. Appeal allowed.
2. The order passed by learned trial court and confirmed by high court set aside.
3. Appellants to be released if not required in any other cas