Independent Witness; Court Cannot Ignore Ground Realities

The evidence of the witnesses cannot be discarded simply because of the reason that the independent witnesses have not come forward to support the case of the prosecution.

While appreciating the evidence the court cannot ignore the ground realities.

In the present day world, people avoid to become a witness to a crime as they consider it as a civil dispute between the two parties.

This apathy of the public is a great hurdle in the administration of criminal justice. The reasons for such apathy of the public are well known.

No one wants to invite the enmity of the accused persons because still no effective mechanism exists to ensure safety of the witnesses of a crime.

See Also : Kalp Narain Vs. State of U.P. {Allahabad High Court, 2 May 2016}

Independent Witness

On this point reference may be made to the pronouncement of Hon’ble Apex Court in the case of Jarnail Singh V. State of Punjab reported in 2011 Cr.L.J. 1738.

  • The Hon’ble Apex Court has observed that the reluctance on the part of the villagers is neither strange nor unbelievable.
  • Generally people belonging to the small village would not unncessarily want to create bad relations or enmity.

In another case Appa v. State of Gujarat reported in AIR 1988 SC 698 Hon’ble Apex Court observed that

  • Experience reminds us that civilized people are generally insensitive when crime is committed even in their presence.
  • They withdraw from both, victim and vigilant.
  • They keep themselves away from the Court.
  • They take crime as a civil dispute.
  • This kind of apathy of general public is indeed unfortunate but it is everywhere whether in village life or town and city.
  • One cannot ignore this handicap.
  • Evidence of witnesses has to be appreciated keeping in view such ground realities.

Therefore, the Court instead of doubting the prosecution case where no independent witness has been examined must consider the broad spectrum of the prosecution version and then search for the nugget of truth with due regard to probability, if any suggested by the accused.