Question: Testimony of the police officials | A is prosecuted for the murder of B. Prosecution produces many witnesses but all of them became hostile except the police witness. Can the court convict A only on the basis of evidence of persons belonging to the police force while the other witnesses are gained over hostile? Give reasons and also… Read More »

Question: Testimony of the police officials | A is prosecuted for the murder of B. Prosecution produces many witnesses but all of them became hostile except the police witness. Can the court convict A only on the basis of evidence of persons belonging to the police force while the other witnesses are gained over hostile? Give reasons and also refer to the case law, if any, on the point. Find the answer to the mains question only on Legal Bites. Testimony of the police officials | [A...

Question: Testimony of the police officials | A is prosecuted for the murder of B. Prosecution produces many witnesses but all of them became hostile except the police witness.

Can the court convict A only on the basis of evidence of persons belonging to the police force while the other witnesses are gained over hostile? Give reasons and also refer to the case law, if any, on the point.

Find the answer to the mains question only on Legal Bites. Testimony of the police officials | [A is prosecuted for the murder of B. Prosecution produces many witnesses but all of them became hostile except the police witness. Can the court convict A only on the basis of evidence of persons belonging to the police force while the other witnesses are gained over hostile? Give reasons and also refer to the case law, if any, on the point.]

Answer

A hostile witness is said to be when a party calls in a witness to depose in its own favour, instead, the witness goes against the party calling him. This situation arises in many of the cases where witnesses do not give answers in favour of the party calling the person as a witness. The court has to declare the witness as a hostile one.

If a prime witness turns hostile, it would lead to reconsideration of the court in relying on this testimony and depending on circumstantial evidence more than the witness in determining the outcome of a case. If however, a witness is not a prime witness, the court might arrive at a conclusion that the witness testimony may be dispensed with and it would look for other more reliable solutions.

The official acts of the Police should be presumed to be regularly performed and there is no occasion for the courts, to begin with, initial distrust to discard such evidence.

In Tahir v. State (Delhi) [(1996) 3 SCC 338], dealing with a similar question, the Court held as under:-“In our opinion no infirmity attaches to the testimony of the police officials, merely because they belong to the police force and there is no rule of law or evidence which lays down that conviction cannot be recorded on the evidence of the police officials if found reliable unless corroborated by some independent evidence.

The Rule of Prudence, however, only requires more careful scrutiny of their evidence, since they can be said to be interested in the result of the case projected by them. Where the evidence of the police officials, after careful scrutiny, inspires confidence and is found to be trustworthy and reliable, it can form the basis of conviction, and the absence of some independent witness of the locality to lend corroboration to their evidence does not in any way affect the creditworthiness of the prosecution case.”

The obvious result of the above discussion is that the statement of a police officer can be relied upon and even form the basis of conviction when it is reliable, trustworthy, and preferably corroborated by other evidence on record.

Further, in Govindaraju Alias Govinda v. State By Sriramapuram Police Station and Anr. (2012) 4 SCC 722 the court held, it cannot be stated as a rule that a police officer can or cannot be a sole eyewitness in a criminal case which will always depend upon facts of a given case.

If the testimony of such a witness is reliable, trustworthy, cogent and duly corroborated by other witnesses or admissible evidence, then the statement of such witness cannot be discarded only on the ground that he is a police officer and may have some interest in the success of the case. Only when his interest in the success of the case is motivated by overzealousness to an extent of his involving innocent people, then, no credibility can be attached to his statement.

The presumption that a person acts honestly applies as much in favour of a police officer as in respect of other persons and it is not proper to distrust and suspect him without there being good grounds therefor.

Therefore, in the present situation where the attesting witnesses turn hostile, but where the statement of the Police Officer itself is unreliable then it may be difficult for the Court to accept the recovery as lawful and legally admissible and benefit of the doubt would be given to the accused. But if the statement of a police officer is found to be reliable and trustworthy, can form the basis of the conviction of the accused.


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 2021-10-05T10:34:12+05:30
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