26. The Supreme Court in the case of S. Govindaraju Vs. State of Karnataka reported in (2013) 15 SCC 315 has held as under :
“23. It is well settled legal proposition that while appreciating the evidence, the court has to take into consideration whether the contradictions/omissions were of such magnitude so as to materially affect the trial. Minor contradictions, inconsistencies, embellishments or improvements in relation to trivial matters, which do not affect the core of the case of the prosecution, must not be made a ground for rejection of evidence in its entirety. The trial court, after going through the entire evidence available, must form an opinion about the credibility of the witnesses, and the appellate court in the normal course of action, would not be justified in reviewing the same, without providing justifiable reasons for doing so. Where the omission(s) amount to a contradiction, creating a serious doubt regarding the truthfulness of a witness, and the other witnesses also make material improvements before the court in order to make the evidence acceptable, it would not be safe to rely upon such evidence. The discrepancies in the evidence of eyewitnesses, if found not to be minor in nature, may be a ground for disbelieving and discrediting their evidence. In such circumstances, the witnesses may not inspire confidence and if their evidence is found to be in conflict and contradiction with the other evidence available or with a statement that has already been recorded, then in such a case, it cannot be held that the prosecution has proved its case beyond reasonable doubt.”
27. The Supreme Court in the case of Nallabothu Ramulu Vs. State of A.P. reported in (2014) 12 SCC 261 has held as under :
“24. It is also important to note that PW 1 stated in Ext. P-1 that 30 people attacked them. But names of only A-1 to A-12 and A- 15 figured therein. Names of all the accused were not stated by the witnesses. They stated that they would be able to identify the accused. However, no identification parade was held. Therefore, it cannot be said with certainty which accused attacked whom. Moreover, there are so many omissions and contradictions in the evidence of prosecution witnesses, that the entire fabric of the prosecution case appears to be ridden with gaping holes. These discrepancies have been meticulously noted by the trial court. The High Court, however, holds that the witnesses were examined 5½ years after the incident and, therefore, such discrepancies are natural. It is true that due to passage of time, witnesses do deviate from their police statements as their memory fades to some extent. Reasonable allowance can be made for such discrepancies. But when such discrepancies make the foundation of the prosecution case shaky, the court has to take strict note thereof. In this case, the trial court has meticulously located the discrepancies and opined that the witnesses have discredited themselves. The High Court ought not to have overlooked this reasoning of the trial court.”
28. The Supreme Court in the case of Bhagwan Jagannath Markad Vs. State of Maharashtra reported in (2016) 10 SCC 537 has held as under :
“19. While appreciating the evidence of a witness, the court has to assess whether read as a whole, it is truthful. In doing so, the court has to keep in mind the deficiencies, drawbacks and infirmities to find out whether such discrepancies shake the truthfulness. Some discrepancies not touching the core of the case are not enough to reject the evidence as a whole. No true witness can escape from giving some discrepant details. Only when discrepancies are so incompatible as to affect the credibility of the version of a witness, the court may reject the evidence. Section 155 of the Evidence Act enables the doubt to impeach the credibility of the witness by proof of former inconsistent statement. Section 145 of the Evidence Act lays down the procedure for contradicting a witness by drawing his attention to the part of the previous statement which is to be used for contradiction. The former statement should have the effect of discrediting the present statement but merely because the latter statement is at variance to the former to some extent, it is not enough to be treated as a contradiction. It is not every discrepancy which affects the creditworthiness and the trustworthiness of a witness. There may at times be exaggeration or embellishment not affecting the credibility. The court has to sift the chaff from the grain and find out the truth. A statement may be partly rejected or partly accepted [Leela Ram v. State of Haryana, (1999) 9 SCC 525] . Want of independent witnesses or unusual behaviour of witnesses of a crime is not enough to reject evidence. A witness being a close relative is not enough to reject his testimony if it is otherwise credible. A relation may not conceal the actual culprit. The evidence may be closely scrutinised to assess whether an innocent person is falsely implicated. Mechanical rejection of evidence even of a “partisan” or “interested” witness may lead to failure of justice. It is well known that principle “falsus in uno, falsus in omnibus” has no general acceptability [Gangadhar Behera v. State of Orissa, (2002) 8 SCC 381]. On the same evidence, some accused persons may be acquitted while others may be convicted, depending upon the nature of the offence. The court can differentiate the accused who is acquitted from those who are convicted. A witness may be untruthful in some aspects but the other part of the evidence may be worthy of acceptance. Discrepancies may arise due to error of observations, loss of memory due to lapse of time, mental disposition such as shock at the time of occurrence and as such the normal discrepancy does not affect the credibility of a witness.”
29. Thus, it is clear that minor discrepancies, embellishments, contradictions in the evidence of witnesses would not be material to discard the prosecution story but where the discrepancies or contradictions are to such an extent which shakes the very foundation of the prosecution case and which makes the evidence of the witnesses untrustworthy, then it would be very difficult rather hazardous to rely upon such evidence.
30. Thus, if the evidence which has been led is considered then it would be clear as noon day, that the prosecution has failed to prove beyond reasonable doubt that Praveen (P.W.2) and Jitendra (P.W.3) were taken away by appellant Gappe @ Vimlesh and were handed over to Lalla and Dinesh. The prosecution has also failed to prove that any letter was written by Praveen and Jitendra and has failed to prove that any letter Ex. P.1, P.4 and P.5 were received by Rambaran (P.W.1). The prosecution has also failed to prove that Rambaran (P.W.1) went to Itawah Jail and met with the appellant Raju @ Ganga Singh. The demand of ransom of Rs. 6 lacs has also not been proved and the fact of making payment of ransom amount has also not been proved by the prosecution beyond reasonable doubt. On the contrary, it appears that the appellant Gappe @ Vimlesh has been falsely implicated due to enmity and the appellant Raju has been falsely implicated. Even the possibility of the F.I.R. being ante-dated and ante-timed cannot be ruled out. Consequently, it is held that the appellant Gappe @ Vimlesh is not guilty of committing offence under Section 364A read with Section 11/13 of M.P.D.V.P.K. Act. Similarly, appellant Raju @ Ganga Singh is also held not guilty of committing offence under Section 364-A/120B of IPC read with Section 11/13 of M.P.D.V.P.K. Act. They are acquitted of all the charges.
31. The judgment and sentence dated 5-1-2008 passed by Special Judge (M.P.D.V.P.K. Act) in Special Sessions Trial No. 89/2006 is hereby set aside.
32. The appellants are not on bail. They are directed to be set at liberty with immediate effect, if not warranted in any other case.
33. The appeals succeed, and hereby Allowed.
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