Supreme Court: Seeing the accused at the time of the crime was not a strong basis of evidence, the four were acquitted

News Desk, Amar Ujala, New Delhi

Published by: Surendra Joshi
Updated Saturday, 23 October 2021 09:30 PM IST

Summary

The Supreme Court held that identifying a witness who had seen for the first time only when a crime had taken place was weak evidence in court. The greater the gap between the date of the crime and the date of the statement recording, the more harmful it becomes.

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In an important order, the Supreme Court held that testimony and punishment could not be considered as strong grounds for merely seeing the accused at the time of the crime. In addition, the Supreme Court acquitted four accused in the Kerala case.

The apex court made the remarks on the appeal of four persons convicted under Section 55 (a) of the Kerala Excise Act on charges of smuggling of spirits. The Supreme Court held that identifying a witness who had seen for the first time only when a crime had taken place was weak evidence in court. If there is too much gap between the date of the crime and the date of the statement recording it becomes even more malicious.

Kerala police have alleged that four accused smuggled 6,090 liters of spirits in 174 plastic boxes in a truck without permission. The registration number of the truck used in the smuggling is fake. The accused have challenged their sentence in the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court rejected the testimony of a witness in the case. The witness said he could not identify the people he saw 11 years ago when the crime took place. However, the witness identified two suspects who were first seen at the time of the incident.

The bench, comprising Justices Ajay Rastogi and Abhay S Oka, said that the first time a witness was seen at the time of the crime, it was weak evidence to identify such accused in court. In addition, the tribunal acquitted the four accused, stating that the truck had not shown any evidence towards the government about the original registration number and its actual owner, so the whole matter would become suspicious.

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