16. The Supreme Court in the case of Jalpat Rai v. State of Haryana, reported in (2011) 14 SCC 208 has held as under :
“42. There cannot be a rule of universal application that if the eyewitnesses to the incident are interested in the prosecution case and/or are disposed inimically towards the accused persons, there should be corroboration of their evidence. The evidence of eyewitnesses, irrespective of their interestedness, kinship, standing or enmity with the accused, if found credible and of such a calibre as to be regarded as wholly reliable could be sufficient and enough to bring home the guilt of the accused. But it is a reality of life, albeit unfortunate and sad, that human failing tends to exaggerate, over implicate and distort the true version against the person(s) with whom there is rivalry, hostility and enmity. Cases are not unknown where an entire family is roped in due to enmity and simmering feelings although one or only few members of that family may be involved in the crime.
43. In the circumstances of the present case, to obviate any chance of false implication due to enmity of the complainant party with the accused party and the interestedness of PW 1, PW 4 and PW 8 in the prosecution case, it is prudent to look for corroboration of their evidence by medical/ballistic evidence and seek adequate assurance from the collateral and surrounding circumstances before acting on their testimony. The lack of corroboration from medical and ballistic evidence and the circumstances brought out on record may ultimately persuade that in fact their evidence cannot be safely acted upon.
44. Besides PW 1, PW 4 and PW 8, who are closely related to the three deceased, no other independent witness has been examined although the incident occurred in a busy market area. The place of occurrence was visited by PW 20 in the same night after the incident. He found three two-wheelers one bearing No. HR 31 A 5071, the second bearing No. RJ 13 M 7744 and the third without number lying there.One Maruti car bearing No. HR 20 D 8840 with broken glass was also parked there. The owners of these vehicles have not been examined. At the place of occurrence, one HMT Quartz wristwatch with black strap, one belcha and four pairs of chappals were also found. There is no explanation at all by the prosecution with regard to these articles. Nothing has come on record whether four pairs of chappals belonged to the accused party or the complainant party or some other persons. Whether the HMT Quartz wristwatch that was found at the site was worn by one of the accused or one of the members of the complainant party or somebody else is not known. Then, the mystery remains about the belcha that was found at the site. These circumstances instead of lending any corroboration to the evidence of those three key witnesses, rather suggest that they have not come out with the true and complete disclosure of the incident.”
17. The Supreme Court in the case of Sunil Kundu v. State of Jharkhand, reported in (2013) 4 SCC 422,has held as under:
“22. It was argued by Mr Ratan Kumar Choudhuri, learned counsel for the State that different persons react differently to a particular situation and as such there may be minor variations in their statements. He submitted that minor contradictions and inconsistencies which do not go to the root of the prosecution version need to be ignored. In this case, it is not possible for us to adopt such an approach because there is a major lacuna in the prosecution story. It has been alleged that at least two of the accused were carrying pistols; the deceased was fired at and he was injured. This case is not borne out by the medical evidence. At the cost of repetition, we must state that no bullets or empty cartridges have been recovered from the scene of offence. If we keep this major lacuna of the prosecution story in mind and consider the abovementioned inconsistencies in the evidence of the prosecution witnesses, it would not be possible to term them as minor inconsistencies or variations which should be ignored. Besides, all the three important prosecution witnesses are related to the deceased and, therefore, are interested witnesses. We are aware that the evidence of an interested witness is not to be mechanically overlooked. If it is consistent, it can be relied upon and conviction can be based on it because, an interested witness is not likely to leave out the real culprit. But in this case, the interested witnesses are not truthful. Their presence itself is doubtful. According to PW 6 Narendra Yadav, they were present at the scene of offence, but their names are not mentioned in the FIR. The genesis of the prosecution case is suppressed. Moreover, admittedly, there is deep-rooted enmity between the accused and the deceased to which we have made reference earlier. We are mindful of the fact that enmity is a double-edged weapon but possibility of false involvement because of deep-rooted enmity also cannot be ruled out.”
18. The Supreme Court in the case of Rohtash Kumar v. State of Haryana, reported in (2013) 14 SCC 434, has held as under:
“35. The term witness, means a person who is capable of providing information by way of deposing as regards relevant facts, via an oral statement, or a statement in writing, made or given in the court, or otherwise. In Pradeep Narayan Madgaonkar v. State of Maharashtra [(1995) 4 SCC 255] this Court examined the issue of the requirement of the examination of an independent witness, and whether the evidence of a police witness requires corroboration. The Court therein held that the same must be subject to strict scrutiny. However, the evidence of police officials cannot be discarded merely on the ground that they belonged to the police force, and are either interested in the investigating or the prosecuting agency. However, as far as possible the corroboration of their evidence on material particulars, should be sought. (See also Paras Ram v. State of Haryana [(1992) 4 SCC 662], Balbir Singh v. State [(1996) 11 SCC 139], Kalpnath Rai v. State [(1997) 8 SCC 732], M. Prabhulal v. Directorate of Revenue Intelligence [(2003) 8 SCC 449 ] and Ravindran v. Supt. of Customs [(2007) 6 SCC 410].)
36. Thus, a witness is normally considered to be independent, unless he springs from sources which are likely to be tainted and this usually means that the said witness has cause, to bear such enmity against the accused, so as to implicate him falsely. In view of the above, there can be no prohibition to the effect that a policeman cannot be a witness, or that his deposition cannot be relied upon.”
19. The Supreme Court in the case of State of Haryana Vs. Ram Singh reported in (2002) 2 SCC 426 has held as under:
“19. Significantly all disclosures, discoveries and even arrests have been made in the presence of three specific persons, namely, Budh Ram, Dholu Ram and Atma Ram — no independent witness could be found in the aforesaid context — is it deliberate or is it sheer coincidence — this is where the relevance of the passage from Sarkar on Evidence comes on. The ingenuity devised by the prosecutor knew no bounds — can it be attributed to be sheer coincidence? Without any further consideration of the matter, one thing can be, more or less with certain amount of conclusiveness be stated that these at least create a doubt or suspicion as to whether the same have been tailor-made or not and in the event of there being such a doubt, the benefit must and ought to be transposed to the accused persons. The trial court addressed itself on scrutiny of evidence and came to a conclusion that the evidence available on record is trustworthy but the High Court acquitted one of the accused persons on the basis of some discrepancy between the oral testimony and the documentary evidence as noticed fully hereinbefore. The oral testimony thus stands tainted with suspicion. If that be the case, then there is no other evidence apart from the omnipresent Budh Ram and Dholu Ram, who however are totally interested witnesses. While it is true that legitimacy of interested witnesses cannot be discredited in any way nor termed to be a suspect witness but the evidence before being ascribed to be trustworthy or being capable of creating confidence, the court has to consider the same upon proper scrutiny. In our view, the High Court was wholly in error in not considering the evidence available on record in its proper perspective. The other aspect of the matter is in regard to the defence contention that Manphool was missing from the village for about 2/3 days and is murdered on 21-1-1992 itself. There is defence evidence on record by DW 3 Raja Ram that Manphool was murdered on 21-1- 1992. The High Court rejected the defence contention by reason of the fact that it was not suggested to Budh Ram or Dholu Ram that the murder had taken place on 21-1- 1992 itself and DW 3 Raja Ram had even come to attend the condolence and it is by reason therefor Raja Ram’s evidence was not accepted. Incidentally, be it noted that the evidence tendered by defence witnesses cannot always be termed to be a tainted one — the defence witnesses are entitled to equal treatment and equal respect as that of the prosecution. The issue of credibility and the trustworthiness ought also to be attributed to the defence witnesses on a par with that of the prosecution. Rejection of the defence case on the basis of the evidence tendered by the defence witness has been effected rather casually by the High Court. Suggestion was there to the prosecution witnesses, in particular PW 10 Dholu Ram that his father Manphool was missing for about 2/3 days prior to the day of the occurrence itself — what more is expected of the defence case: a doubt or a certainty — jurisprudentially a doubt would be enough: when such a suggestion has been made the prosecution has to bring on record the availability of the deceased during those 2/3 days with some independent evidence. Rejection of the defence case only by reason thereof is far too strict and rigid a requirement for the defence to meet — it is the prosecutor’s duty to prove beyond all reasonable doubts and not the defence to prove its innocence — this itself is a circumstance, which cannot but be termed to be suspicious in nature.”
20. It is also well established principle of law that every omission is not fatal to the prosecution story.
21. The Supreme Court in the case of Mritunjoy Biswas v. Pranab reported in (2013) 12 SCC 796, has held as under:-
“8……..It needs no special emphasis to state that every omission cannot take place of a material omission and, therefore, minor contradictions, inconsistencies or insignificant embellishments do not affect the core of the prosecution case and should not be taken to be a ground to reject the prosecution evidence. The omission should create a serious doubt about the truthfulness or creditworthiness of a witness. It is only the serious contradictions and omissions which materially affect the case of the prosecution but not every contradiction or omission (see Leela Ram v. State of Haryana [(1999) 9 SCC 525], Rammi v. State of M.P. [(1999) 8 SCC 649] and Shyamal Ghosh v. State of W.B. [(2012) 7 SCC 646]).”