Hello friends, today I would like to put your attention on a very interesting topic. i.e., Interested Witness – Whether interested witness allowed or not? In various cases, you must have seen that the interested witness is not allowed. But it is not universal rule/law that evidence of interested witnesses has necessarily to be discarded in all cases. Let us see and clear the answer to this question.
Interested witness-Scope of.-
Interested witnesses are not necessarily false witnesses though the fact that those witnesses have personal interest or stake in the matter must put the Court on its guard, that the evidence of such witnesses must be subjected to close scrutiny and the Court must asşess the testimony of each important witness and indicate the reasons for accepting or rejecting it and that no evidence should be at once disregarded simply because it came from interested parties.
It is wrong to reject outright the testimony of such kinds of witnesses. What is only needed is that evidence of such witnesses should be carefully scrutinized to ensure that no innocent persons are convicted along with guilty ones. It has to be realized that related and interested witnesses would be the last persons to screen the real culprits and falsely substitute innocent ones in their places. But it is not unlikely that such witnesses may name the real culprits and at the same time add the names of other persons not involved because of enmity. It is for this reason that the evidence of such witnesses needs to be scrutinized with more than great care and caution,
In Ram Singh v. State, it was observed as follows:
“The entire pellets had not entered the body through the gun-shot wound of entry of 1.5 cm. x 1.5 cm. vide injury No. 1 on the deed body but only five pellets had entered the body through wound No. 1 which were recovered at the time of the post-mortem. The Investigating Officer had also recovered an empty cartridge, tickles, and pellets from near the dead body. The distance from where the assailant had fired the shot as shown in the site map was about 3 steps. That also corroborates the cause for the dispersal of shots and not enmass entry of the entire shot in the wound. That apart, one or two such minor abrasions could have also taken place when the deceased had fallen down on receipt of the gunshot and writhed with agony on the ground for a however short duration it might be. Thus all the circumstances fully corroborate the eye-witness testimony of PW 1, Ram Ladete Singh, PW 2, Smt. Margari, the son and widow of the deceased, respectively, whose presence at the scene of occurrence cannot be doubted and there is indeed a ring of truth around their testimony, even after its close scrutiny. It was also contended that their testimony has been disbelieved by the trial Court against co-accused ‘G’ and, therefore, the same should not be relied upon against the appellant. The trial Judge has not disbelieved the testimony of these two eye-witnesses even against ‘G’ but as a matter of extreme precaution has given him the benefit of doubt as he had not caused any injury to the deceased.”
In Anil Yadav v, State of Bihar, it was observed as follows :
“In this case, the occurrence took place in a lonely place where no other person had the occasion to go and see the occurrence. Nothing has been elicited by the defence in cross-examination of the PW’s that any independent person was present at the PO. at the time of occurrence. Therefore, examination of other witnesses by the prosecution in support of the prosecution was not expedient in this case. PW’s 1 to 4 had sustained injuries at the hands of the appellants. They are the most natural and competent witnesses. The evidence of PW’s 1 to 4 is consistent on the point of occurrence. They have stood the test of cross-examination and there is nothing in their evidence to discredit their testimony. Their evidence cannot be rejected simply on the ground that they are related and interested witnesses.”
Merely because the witnesses are interested is no ground for throwing out their evidence. What is necessary is that their statements should be examined with caution and if the Court feels that their statements do not suffer from any legal infirmity, there is no reason to disbelieve their evidence. For applying the rule of caution, no formula can be laid down. It differs from case to case.
Related witness-Whether interested?-
(a) In the circumstances of the case, the witness was the only and most natural witness; she was the only person present in the hut with the deceased at the time of the occurrence, and the only person who saw the occurrence. True, it is she was the wife of the deceased; but she cannot be called an ‘interested witness. She is related to the deceased. Related’ is not equivalent to ‘interested’. A witness may be called ‘interested’ only when he or she derives some benefit from the result of a litigation; in the decree in a civil case, or in seeing an accused person punished. A witness who is a natural one and is the only possible eye-witness in the circumstances of the case cannot be said to be ‘interested’. In the instant case, PW 1 had no interest in protecting the real culprit and falsely implicating the respondents.
(b) A close relative who is a very natural witness cannot be regarded as an interested witness. The term “interested” postulated that the person concerned must have some direct interest in seeing that the accused person is somehow or the other convicted either because he had some amicus with the accused or r some other reason.
The related witness is not an interested witness hence his testimony needs not to be disbelieved.
Interestedness of Witness – No ground to discard his testimony.-
The interest is no ground to discard the testimony of the witness. On the other hand, the act that the witness is a relation of the deceased, it would normally be presumed that he would not implicate falsely any other person except the real assailant. Testimony of relative witness cannot be discarded merely because of being an interested witness. Testimony of partisan witness cannot be desecrated on the ground that he is an interested witness. The relationship of the deceased with witnesses does not make the evidence of the witnesses unreliable and is not a ground to discard the evidence.
Evidence of Interested Witness to be looked into with caution:-
In-State of U.P. V. Manohar Lal, it was held that, in several cases that while the evidence of interested eye-witnesses may be approached with a little caution but it cannot be discarded only on the ground of being of partisan nature. The Honorable High Court should have appraised the testimony of the witness ob its intrinsic merits to determine its credibility.
It is not the law that the evidence of interested witnesses is not entitled to any weight. Their evidence has got to be scrutinized with the case. If Court is satisfied that the evidence of the interested witnesses have a ring of truth such evidence could be relied upon even without corroboration.