28 Apr 2121

Minor contradictions cannot be a ground to discredit witnesses’ testimony in a criminal trial - Supreme Court of India

Case : Kalabhai Hamirbhai Kachhot v. State of Gujarat Criminal Appeal No. 216 of 2015

Court : Supreme Court of India

Bench : Justice Ashok Bhushan and Justice R. Subhash Reddy

Decided on : 28 Apr 2121

Relevant Statutes

Section 135 of Bombay Police Act, 1951

Section 34, 302, 324, 326 of Indian Penal Code, 1860

Section 428 of Code of Criminal Procedure, 1908

Section 313 of Criminal Procedure Code, 1973

Brief Facts & Procedural History

1. Rajshibhai Maldebhai Karnagiya gave a complaint in which he stated that he with Mitesh Hardasbhai and Gokalbhai Karsanbhai went to Keshod for some work and while returning the three of the accused were waiting with the axe and knives. Accused No. 2 gave a blow of axe to stop their motorcycle due to which they fall. The accused attacked the Gokalbhai to death and when in between the other two tried to stop the accused they gave a knife blow to both of them. He also stated that this incident is the consequence of rivalry between the accused and the deceased.

2. The FIR was registered against the accused of the offence punishable under Section 34, 302, 324, 326 of Indian Penal Code, 1860 and Section135 of Bombay Police Act, 1951. A charge sheet was filed in the First-Class Magistrate but was transferred/committed to Additional Session Judge and there all the accused were convicted. The learned Session Judge found Accused No. 2 and 3 not guilty under Section 326 and 324 read with Section34 of Indian Penal Code, 1860.

3. After the judgment passed, Accused No. 1 and 3 filed Criminal Appeal No. 459 of 2010, and Accused No. 2 filed Criminal Appeal No. 405 of 2010 before the High Court of Gujarat. The High Court by giving common judgment upheld the judgment given by the Trial Court and said that all the sentences should run at the same time and extend the benefit of Section 428 of Code of Criminal Procedure, 1908, and ordered to set off the detention period against the sentence. The appeal goes to the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India challenging the judgment.

The Issue of the Case

Whether the judgment passed on 9 May 2014 valid?

The Observations of the Court

1. Honourable Supreme Court of India observes that there was already a dispute between the deceased and the accused.

2. Honourable Supreme Court of India also observes that all the accused have committed the crime with the common intention and even the blood on the clothes of the two that were there with the deceased is of deceased itself.

3. Honourable Supreme Court of India also observes that the substance in the argument by the learned counsel is not of major contradiction, so it cannot be the basis to discard the evidence.

4. Honourable Supreme Court of India also observes that errors such as failing to retrieve a motorcycle and also failing to snatch the gold chain of one of the victims are not grounds for discredit the testimony of the main witness who is examined on behalf of the prosecution and the wording are consistent, natural and trustworthy.

The Decision Held by the Court

1. Honourable Supreme Court of India upheld the judgment given by both the Trial Court and the High Court of Gujarat and appeals stands to be dismissed.

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