The Delhi High Court ruled that precaution courts should examine testimony of injured child witnesses to ensure that he is free from tutoring or influence.
The case arises from an incident, when Karamvir Yadav made a PCR call saying that around 08:45 a.m. while standing outside his house, he looked up and noticed that his nephew Parth Sarthi alias Yash was standing in the balcony with his mouth taped-up and was indicating to PW-1 to come upstairs; and on going-up to the flat on the second floor of the building, PW-1 found that his brother Dalbir Singh, who used to live there, was lying in a pool of blood with his hands tied behind his back and with a wire round his neck. Thereupon, PW-1 says he removed the tape from his nephew’s mouth and untied his hands; and that his nephew told him that four persons had come and were demanding some property papers from Dalbir Singh, the deceased/victim; that they beat-up the latter; they taped and tied-up PW-2; and left thereafter.
Advocate Rebecca M. John, appearing on behalf of Reena Yadav, contended that, based solely upon domestic discord between her deceased husband and Reena, which is an undisputed fact since several complaints arising from their matrimonial discord were made by Reena herself before the police as well as before the Crime Against Women (CAW) Cell, the serious charge of murder has been foisted upon Reena.
Advocate Ashish Dutta, Additional Public Prosecutor, appearing on behalf of the State, had endeavoured to sustain the judgment of conviction of the four appellants; and argued for reversing the acquittal of accused Meena of the charges under sections 302/120B IPC and under section 25 Arms Act and the acquittal of Reena of the charge under section 25 Arms Act.
The division bench of Justice Siddharth Mridul and Justice Anup Jairam Bhambhani noted that that there is un-impeached ocular evidence against the assailants Parveen, Deepak and Dilip, sufficient to hold them guilty, there seems to be no apparent motive for them to have harmed the deceased. The three assailants are therefore entitled to urge as to why they would murder a person who was unknown to them; and who had had no dealings with them, without having been impelled by monetary or other gain.
The court further noted that the case presents an instance of significantly shoddy investigation as well as prosecution.
The court stated that the only precaution courts must take, is to ensure that a child witness is free from tutoring or influence and his testimony finds adequate corroboration, even more so where a child has not only seen the crime, but was also a victim of the crime himself.
The court said that it is as if the prosecution assumed, that courts would accept the charge of criminal conspiracy merely on their ipse dixit and on the possible existence of motive in Reena.
The court ordered the release of Reena, the appellant from prison.
Case title: Deepak v/s State NCT of Delhi
Citation: CRL.A. 811/2013