-Report by Sejal Jethva
Radhey Shyam & Ors VS State of Rajasthan, in this case, political rivalry between the family of the deceased & accused. The eyewitnesses the minor, who was the daughter of the deceased and who is the mother of the deceased.
The family of the late Raghunath Singh and a few of the accused, who are members of the Ahir clan, found a party called the Azad party, have a history of political enmity. The incident happened on April 16, 1976. Shiv Raj Singh, PW6, filed a First Information Report. Shiv Raj Singh is the brother of the deceased Raghunath Singh (FIR). The dead were attacked by a bunch of Ahirs. The prosecution claims that PWs 2, 3, and 4 were the actual witnesses. The Trial Court disregarded PW2’s testimony but accepted PW3 Krishna, the deceased’s minor daughter, and PW4 Kanwarbai, the deceased’s mother, as credible witnesses.
PW3 is a young witness whose testimony must be scrutinised quite carefully. She drew our attention to PW3 Krishna’s testimony and, in particular, her crossexamination, arguing that her testimony cannot be taken seriously, especially given the witness’s exceedingly dubious identification of the defendant in court. Furthermore, PW4 was unable to name a single accused present in court, making it risky to rely on her testimony. She further emphasised that the FIR was sent to the knowledgeable Magistrate with a 3-day delay. Political competition existed between the deceased person’s family and the accused’s political party, therefore during these three days, the accused must have been falsely implicated.
The State argued that reading the child witness’s (PW3) responses to the opening questions demonstrate the witness’s high level of knowledge and intellect. He claimed that while she accurately recognised the first accused as the son of Ramchander, she accidentally revealed the name of Modu (the accused who was found not guilty), who was also the son of Ramchander. He claimed that there is a small inconsistency that does not suffice to invalidate the version of PW3. He asserted that PW4 Kanwarbai mentioned five people as the defendants. According to his argument, PW4 was unable to recognise the accused by name. He asserted that the passage of time makes it simple for this to occur. He would contend that the judgments rendered by the High Court and the Sessions Court regarding the guilt of the appellants were correct and cannot be criticized.
1. We discover that the prosecution’s case is solely supported by PWs 3 Krishna and 4 Kanwarbai’s evidence. At the time her testimony was recorded, PW 3 was 12 years old. PW 3’s testimony cannot be disregarded solely because she was 12 years old. But, because she is a child witness, her testimony needs to be evaluated extremely carefully and with additional caution because a child witness can always be readily instructed. As a result, her version has undergone a thorough examination.
2. PW3, a young witness, provided testimony. Her evidence reveals that even though the five accused she allegedly named were ordered to stand apart from the other accused, she struggled to identify at least two of them. Regarding the identity of the accused, PW-3 Krishna’s version does not arouse confidence. It is extremely risky, in any event, to convict the accused based on such testimony, particularly given that the sole other eye witness (PW-4) who was believed by the Trial Court was unable to identify even one accused in the Court. The learned Trial Judge observed that the courtroom had enough light and that the faces of the defendants were clearly visible.
3. As the identity of the listed accused as the assailants of the deceased has not been confirmed in court beyond a reasonable doubt, we are of the considered view that this is true. The only evidence left is the purported seizure of the assault rifles at the accused’s request. Only based on the supposed recovery may the conviction not be upheld.
4. As a result, the appellants are exonerated of the accusation brought against them, and their conviction under the in-question judgments and decrees is hereby quashed and set aside. Appellants are free on bail. Their sureties have been released. Hence, the appeal is granted.
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