Criminal Trident Pack: IPC, CrPC and IEA by Sr. Adv. G.S Shukla and Adv. Raghav Arora
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  • In Chunna vs State of UP, while upholding the life sentence awarded to a murder convict, the Hon’ble Allahabad HC has observed that a close relative who is a natural witness cannot be recorded as an interested witness. 
  • The Court also observed that an interested witness is one who has some direct interest in seeing that the accused person is somehow or the other convicted of the said offence, due to some animus with the accused or for some other reason. 
  • In the instant case, the complainant Subhash Mishra lodged an FIR alleging that his father Sunder Lal (deceased) was killed by the accused Chunna on March 22, 1995. He stated in his complaint that the deceased had a flour mill, where at about 8 pm, he and his sons and Rakesh (eye witness) were busy grinding flour. 
  • A fight broke out between the complainant and his brother Rakesh and Chunna and Dinesh, who wanted to get their wheat grounded first. On that very night, the deceased, who was sleeping near the bed of the complainant, cried out in pain. Hearing the same, Rakesh and one Suresh Kumar woke up and observed that Chunna was attacking the deceased with a knife, as a result of which he passed away eventually. 
  • The District Court, Kanpur convicted the accused under section 302 IPC and sent him to life in prison. Aggrieved by the said order, the accused preferred an appeal before the HC. 
  • The Hon’ble HC observed that Rakesh was the only witness who stated the manner of occurence and the involvement of the accused. 
  • The Court observed that no direct enmity, ill will or grudge of the witness Rakesh with the accused had been suggested or proved. Thus the alleged enmity suggested by the accused bore no weight. It was also observed that the evidence of Rakesh was corroborated by the recovery of a blood stained knife on the pointing out of the accused, and the same was found on the blood stained clothes and earth surrounding the deceased.
  • On the contention that the witness was a near relative of the deceased, the Court observed that the term interested postulates that the person concerned must have some direct interest in seeing that the accused is somehow or the other convicted, either due to some animus or for some other reason. Nothing in the cross-examination would suggest the same. In fact, Rakesh was a sterling, solitary eye-witness whose testimony did not need any corroboration. 
  • Reliance was placed on the decision of the Apex Court in Kailash vs State of Uttar Pradesh (1998) wherein it was held that the absence of any material on record to show that the prosecution witness has any enmity with the accused, his evidence cannot be brushed aside merely on the ground of relationship.
  • Thus, observing that the prosecution had been able to prove the guilt of the accused, the Court upheld the conviction and the appeal was dismissed. 
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