Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Delay in FIR not a ground for rejecting prosecution evidence

Delay in FIR not a ground for rejecting prosecution evidence

PTI | 05:10 PM,Oct 12,2010

New Delhi, Oct 12 (PTI) Delay in lodging of FIR and discrepancies in eyewitness accounts cannot be a ground for discarding the prosecution's evidence, the Supreme Court has ruled.The apex court said that such discrepancies were bound to occur particularly in rural areas due to the distance between the village and the police station; and memory of a person also fades away with the passage of time.

Ram Naresh shot at and seriously wounded the victim Shiv Vilas on August 11, 1978 due to previous enmity. The sessions court imposed a five-year sentence on the accused by relying on the eyewitness account of Ram Vilas and Lalu. The Allahabad High Court upheld the sentence."We also find no reason to disregard the evidence of Ram Vilas and Lalu (witnesses). Admittedly, Ram Vilas was a brother of Shiv Vilas, the injured and Lalu was a close relative and also a party man."It must also be borne in mind that the incident happened in the year 1978 and the evidence was recorded in 1986.

Some discrepancies are therefore bound to appear in the ocular evidence as memory fades with the passage of time," a Bench of Justices H S Bedi and C K Prasad said in an order.The apex court passed the ruling while dismissing the appeal filed by Naresh challenging his conviction in an attempt to murder case in Uttar Pradesh about 32 years ago.Ram Vilas had lodged the FIR only the next day as the police station was at a distance of nine kilometres.The accused took the plea in the apex court that there was a considerable delay in the registration of FIR and there was certain material differences in the account given by the eyewitness.Rejecting the argument, the apex court said, "We find from a reading of the evidence that there is no substantial delay in the lodging of the FIR.

The incident happened in a village about 9 kms away from the police station late in the evening and it would have been difficult for the complainant living in a rustic and backward area to rush to the police station immediately,"the Bench observed.However, the Bench said that since the incident had occurred 32 years ago, it was reducing the sentence from five years to three years and directed that the accused be taken into custody forthwith to serve his remaining period of the sentence.


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