26 Oct 2010

Investigating Officer's evidence reliable: Supreme Court

Merely because the person deposing in the docks was the officer involved in the investigation of an offence it cannot be held that evidence led by the officer is not reliable, declared the Supreme Court in a recent decision. Holding that the presumption was that the officer was acting bonafide in the course of duty, the Supreme Court in Rameshbhai Mohanbhai Koli v. State of Gujarat declared that only because independent witness were absent during the collection of evidence, it could not be declared that the evidence was tainted or could not be used when the inquiry officer deposed to this effect.

The Court inter alia observed as under;
23) An argument was advanced about reliance based on the evidence of investigating officer. This Court in State of U.P. vs. Krishna Gopal and Another, (1988) 4 SCC 302 has held that courts of law have to judge the evidence before them by applying the well recognized test of basic human probabilities. Prima facie, public servants must be presumed to act honestly and conscientiously and their evidence has to be assessed on its intrinsic worth and cannot be discarded merely on the ground that being public servants they are interested in the success of their case. [vide State of Kerala vs. M. M. Mathew & Anr., (1978) 4 SCC 65)]
24) In Modan Singh vs. State of Rajasthan, (1978) 4 SCC 435, it was observed that where the evidence of the investigating officer who recovered the material objects is convincing, the evidence as to recovery need not be rejected on the ground that seizure witnesses did not support the prosecution version. Similar view was expressed in Mohd. Aslam vs. State of Maharashtra, (2001) 9 SCC 362. In Anter Singh vs. State of Rajasthan, (2004) 10 SCC 657, it was further held that even if panch witnesses turn hostile, which happens very often in criminal cases, the evidence of the person who effected the recovery would not stand vitiated.
25) This Court has held in large number of cases that merely because the panch-witnesses have turned hostile is no ground to reject the evidence if the same is based on the testimony of the Investigating Officer alone. In the instant case, it is not the case of defence that the testimony of Investigating Officer suffer from any infirmity or doubt. [Vide Modan Singh’s case (supra) Krishna Gopal’s case (supra) and Anter Singh’s case (supra)].

No comments: