Chennai: Now the Courts can award conviction of accused on basis of testimony of sole witness who should be completely reliable person. Hon’ble Apex Judicial Authority has laid down a principle that the sole witness’s testimony is sufficient for convicting accused in criminal cases, if such witness is found completely reliable. The principle was settled in by the Hon’ble Supreme Court while dealing with the criminal case which was appealed before it against the Judgment of Hon’ble High Court of Madras where the accused persons were held guilty and awarded with punishment of five years’ rigorous imprisonment, who were facing trial in murder case.
It was observed by the Bench of Hon’ble Supreme Court comprising Justice Pinaki Chandra Ghose and Justice R. K. Agarwal, that for convicting a person on a testimony of sole witness, there is no legal impediment, however, such witness should be wholly reliable one.
The case was one from the Perambalur district, relating to property dispute resulted in murder. As per prosecution’s story the grandmother of one Michaelraj from Taluka- Udayarapalayam in the District of Perambalur had given her land to said Michaelraj and later cancelled the transfer deed, and re-executed the same in favour of one Edward. Said issue was challenged in the civil suit. However, in the month of December of the year 1997 the said Michaelraj when was returning from his father in law’s house along with one John Paul, happened to be his friend, Edward along with others attacked him with the deadly weapons and as such Michaelraj was taken to the Hospital where he died after four days. The entire incident of attack was witnessed by one Anthoni Raj.
As such the Trial Court convicted and sentenced the Accused to life imprisonment based on testimony of said Anthoni Raj. Said judgement was challenged before concerned Hon’ble High Court where the sentence was reduced to 5 years’ rigorous imprisonment under section 304 (II) for offence of culpable homicide not amounting to murder, due to an observation that the doctor who treated the deceased / victim was not examined by the prosecution. As such the accused finally moved to this Hon’ble Apex Court where the Court has observed the aforesaid.
by Faim Khalilkhan Pathan.