As observed by this Court far more important than
categorization of witnesses is the question of appreciation of
their evidence. The essence of any such appreciation is to
determine whether the deposition of the witness on to the
incident is truthful hence acceptable. While doing so, the
Court can assume that a related witness would not ordinarily
shield the real offender to falsely implicate an innocent
person. In cases where the witness was inimically disposed
towards the accused, the Courts have no doubt at times
noticed a tendency to implicate an innocent person also, but
before the Court can reject the deposition of such a witness
the accused must lay a foundation for the argument that his
false implication springs from such enmity.
The mere fact
that the witness was related to the accused does not provide
that foundation. It may on the contrary be a circumstance
for the Court to believe that the version of the witness is
truthful on the simple logic that such a witness would not
screen the real culprit to falsely implicate an innocent.
Suffice it to say that the process of evaluation of evidence of
witnesses whether they are partisan or interested (assuming
there is a difference between the two) is to be undertaken in
the facts of each case having regard to ordinary human
conduct prejudices and predilections.
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION
CRIMINAL APPEAL NO.1623 OF 2009
Shanmugam and Anr.
State Rep. by Inspector of Police, T. Nadu