Under What Circumstances Lack of Moonlight Preclude Identification

Lack of Moonlight : In Nathuni Yadav v. State of Bihar, (1998) 9 SCC 238 Apex Court observed that under what circumstances the lack of moonlight or artificial light does not per se preclude identification of the assailants.

See Also: Md. Guljan @ Md. Gulshan Vs. State of Bihar [Patna High Court, 28-10-2016]

It was noted as follows:

  • Even assuming that there was no moonlight then, we have to gauge the situation carefully.
  • The proximity at which the assailants would have confronted with the injured, the possibility of some light reaching there from the glow of stars, and the fact that the murder was committed on a roofless terrace are germane factors to be borne in mind while judging whether the victims could have had enough visibility to correctly identify the assailants.
  • Over and above those factors, the assailants were no strangers to the inmates of the tragedy-bound house, the eyewitnesses being well acquainted with the physiognomy of each one of the killers.
  • Therefore, not persuaded to assume that it would not have been possible for the victims to see the assailants or that there was possibility for making a wrong identification of them.
  • Even the assailants had enough light to identify the victims whom they targeted without any mistake from among those who were sleeping on the terrace.
  • If the light then available, though meagre, was enough for the assailants why should we think that the same light was not enough for the injured who would certainly have pointedly focussed their eyes on the faces of the intruders standing in front of them.
  • What is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.

According to the prosecution, the victim, his wife and other members of his family were sleeping on the open terrace of his residential building on a moonless night. It was then that the appellants-accused lurked into the house and reached the terrace.

The victim woke up and saw the appellants armed with guns standing close by. The appellants opened fire at the victim thereby Injuring him and shot at his wife who fell dead.

Hearing the sound of hubbub their neighbour woke up and asked from his terrace as to what was happening. Then the appellants fired at the neighbour who fell dead.

Many neighbours rushed to the scene of incident and stated that the victim and other members of his family mentioned the names of the appellants as the assailants who shot at them.

In the appeal before Apex Court, on behalf of the accused persons it was contended that there was no possibility at all for the witnesses to identify the appellants as it was a moonless night; and that the appellants had no motive to commit the murder.