Dayal Singh & Ors. Versus State of Uttaranchal

"1. Settled canons of criminal jurisprudence when applied in their correct perspective, give rise to the following questions for consideration of the Court in the present appeal:

a) Where acts of omission and commission, deliberate or otherwise, are committed by the investigating agency or other significant witnesses instrumental in proving the offence, what approach, in appreciation of evidence, should be adopted?

b) Depending upon the answer to the above, what directions should be issued by the courts of competent jurisdiction?

c) Whenever there is some conflict in the eye-witness version of events and the medical evidence, what effect will it have on the case of the prosecution and what would be the manner in which the Court should appreciate such evidence?" as stated by J. Swatanter Kumar is the  case where 2 Judges bench decided over the 3 important issues.

1) where the statement given by the eye-witness carries no bias or undue influence and therefore is natural and truth, such disclosure of actual facts of the events based in the case- in such a plot the Courts cannot discard the testimony of the eye-witness merely upon the fact being the relative or close friends of the deceased often referred to as the interested witness.

2) in the criminal offences investigation, the ethical conduct of the investigating agency must be essential leaving no loopholes for any allegations mala fide or bias. Article 21 of Constitution of India ensures one of the rights being right to liberty; thereby the duty is cast upon the investigating officer to safeguard the innocent persons from harassment of false imlpcation when on the other hand undue leverage is granted to the accused. 

3) The Court also commented adversely upon the professional capabilities and/or misconduct of Dr. C.N. Tewari, as follows:

“Whatever may have been the reasons but it is quite evident that Dr. C.N. Tewari failed in his professional duty and he did not perform post mortem examination properly after considering the inquest report and the police papers sent to him. If his finding deferred from the finding of the Panchas he should have informed his superior officers in that regard so that another opinion could have been obtained before the disposal of the dead body. The evidence leaves no room for doubt that Sri Pyara Singh was attacked with lathis as alleged by the prosecution and he received three injuries already referred to above which were mentioned in the inquest report (Ex.Ka-6)….

The case of the prosecution cannot be thrown on account of the gross negligence and apathy of the Medical Officer Dr. C.N. Tewari who had performed autopsy on the dead body of Sri Pyara Singh. Since the Medical Officer Dr. C.N. Tewari had conducted in a manner not befitting the medical profession and prepared post mortem report against facts for reasons best known to him and was negligent in his duty in ascertaining the injuries on the body of the deceased, hence it is just and proper that the Director General, Medical health U.P. be informed in this regard for taking necessary action and for eradicating such practices in future.” (Emphasis supplied)

       the medical expert not only breached the requirement of adherence to professional standards but also became instrumental in preparing a document which, ex facie, was incorrect and stood falsified by the unimpeachable evidence of eye witnesses placed by the prosecution on record. Also, in the same case, the Court, while referring to the decision in Ram Bihari Yadav and Others v. State of Bihar & Ors. [(1995) 6 SCC 31] noticed that if primacy is given to such designed or negligent investigation, to the omission or lapses by perfunctory investigation or omissions, the faith and confidence of the people would be shaken not only in the law enforcement agency but also in the administration of justice.

 Reiterating the above principle, this Court in the case of National Human Rights Commission v. State of Gujarat [(2009) 6 SCC 767], held as under:

“The concept of fair trial entails familiar triangulation of interests of the accused, the victim and the society and it is the community that acts through the State and prosecuting agencies. Interest of society is not to be treated completely with disdain and as persona non grata. The courts have always been considered to have an overriding duty to maintain public confidence in the administration of justice—often referred to as the duty to vindicate and uphold the ‘majesty of the law’. Due administration of justice has always been viewed as a continuous process, not confined to determination of the particular case, protecting its ability to function as a court of law in the future as in the case before it. If a criminal court is to be an effective instrument in dispensing justice, the Presiding Judge must cease to be a spectator and a mere recording machine by becoming a participant in the trial evincing intelligence, active interest and elicit all relevant materials necessary for reaching the correct conclusion, to find out the truth, and administer justice with fairness and impartiality both to the parties and to the community it serves. The courts administering criminal justice cannot turn a blind eye to vexatious or oppressive conduct that has occurred in relation to proceedings, even if a fair trial is still possible, except at the risk of undermining the fair name and standing of the judges as impartial and independent adjudicators.”

and hence, there should not be any undue anxiety to only protect the interest of the accused. That would be unfair, as noted above, to the needs of the society. On the contrary, efforts should be to ensure fair trial where the accused and the prosecution both get a fair deal.



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