Question: Write a short note on Material Witnesses [D.J.S. 1984] Find the answer to the mains question only on Legal Bites. [Write a short note on Material Witnesses.] Answer A witness who is essential to the unfolding of the narrative on which the prosecution is based is known as a ‘material witness’. Though the prosecution is not bound… Read More »

Question: Write a short note on Material Witnesses [D.J.S. 1984] Find the answer to the mains question only on Legal Bites. [Write a short note on Material Witnesses.] Answer A witness who is essential to the unfolding of the narrative on which the prosecution is based is known as a ‘material witness’. Though the prosecution is not bound to examine all the witnesses named on the charge sheet, it is, however, bound to examine all material witnesses. This is so even when...

Question: Write a short note on Material Witnesses [D.J.S. 1984]

Find the answer to the mains question only on Legal Bites. [Write a short note on Material Witnesses.]

Answer

A witness who is essential to the unfolding of the narrative on which the prosecution is based is known as a ‘material witness’.

Though the prosecution is not bound to examine all the witnesses named on the charge sheet, it is, however, bound to examine all material witnesses. This is so even when the prosecution apprehends that his evidence will not be favourable to the prosecution.

If a material witness is not examined and the prosecution has no satisfactory explanation to offer for his being withheld, the court could examine such a witness as a ‘Court witness’, or to draw an adverse inference to the prosecution in respect of that portion of its case to which the witness withheld could have given evidence (Sardul Singh v. State of Bombay AIR 1957 SC 747).

Such a circumstance casts a serious reflection on the fairness of the trial; the accused is entitled to ask the court to draw the inference under Section 114, illustration (g) that if produced the evidence of that witness would be unfavourable to the prosecution.

The falsity of a particular material witness or material particular would not ruin it from the beginning to the end. It is the duty of the Court to separate the grain from the chaff and the witnesses cannot be branded as liars. It is open to the Court to convict the accused notwithstanding the fact that the other accused persons are acquitted because of the evidence found to be insufficient.

The maxim falsus in uno falsus in omnibus is merely a rule of caution. All that it amounts to is that testimony in such cases may be disregarded and not discarded.

It is only when it is not feasible to separate truth from falsehood due to grain and chaff being inextricably mixed up and in the process of separation an absolutely new case has to be reconstructed by divorcing essential details presented by the prosecution, the only available cause is to discard the evidence in toto. This was clarified by the Hon’ble SC in the case of Bur Singh v. State of Punjab, AIR 2009 SC 157.


Important Mains Questions Series for Judiciary, APO & University Exams

  1. Law of Evidence Mains Questions Series Part-I
  2. Law of Evidence Mains Questions Series Part-II
  3. Law of Evidence Mains Questions Series Part-III
  4. Law of Evidence Mains Questions Series Part-IV
  5. Law of Evidence Mains Questions Series Part-V
  6. Law of Evidence Mains Questions Series Part-VI
  7. Law of Evidence Mains Questions Series Part-VII
  8. Law of Evidence Mains Questions Series Part-VIII
  9. Law of Evidence Mains Questions Series Part-IX
  10. Law of Evidence Mains Questions Series Part-X
Updated On 2021-11-11T15:22:01+05:30
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