In a recent order, Bombay High Court the Aurangabad Bench observed that the courts cannot “turn a blind fold to the menace of hostile witnesses, “While directing the court of trial to take- action against five witnesses whose evidence resulted in a 75-year-old woman being acquitted.
Justices Ravindra Ghuge and BU Debadwar’s division bench stated that although the threat of legal action cannot guarantee respect for the law, it has become necessary to send a “loud and clear” message to society that hostile witnesses are not to be pardoned.
The bench ordered the trial court to act against the witnesses under section 340 of the Criminal Procedure Code, and a copy of the judgment to be forwarded for dissemination to the Principal District and Sessions Judges in Maharashtra, to remind the subordinate judiciary of the action. They were empowered to take on ideal situations.
The bench found that, it was a matter of considerable concern, since they would then continue to feel that they were outside the scope of law. It will not only be a significant illness to the institution of justice dispensation but may also be cancerous to the rule of law and the system of justice distribution.
We find that day by day, the list of hostile witnesses is increasing, and the witnesses are emboldened to become hostile because can be speculated and perceived, “We are finding practically in every case before us that day by day, the list of hostile witnesses is getting enlarged and the witnesses are getting emboldened in turning hostile for the reasons which can be speculated and perceived, “in practically every case before us.
The court heard the appeal of 75-year-old Saraswati Ganpat Landge, who was sentenced by the Ambajogai Sessions Court in Beed to life imprisonment on 11 September 2014 for the gruesome murder of her husband over a few acres of land that the man wanted to donate.
The prosecutor argued that with an 8-kilogram hammer, Landge crushed her husband’s face, mutilated his genitals, and then electrocuted the man to ensure that he died. Landge reportedly admitted to a police officer’s murder of her husband immediately after the attack.
Despite Landge being sentenced, five of the seven witnesses questioned were found hostile after the trial. These witnesses included the son of the couple (complainant) who lived with them, among others, a neighbor, and a formal witness(panch).
The HC court acquitted Langde and found that it seriously doubted that such a heavy stone could be borne by a senior citizen or caused the injuries. The genitals of that guy. Moreover, while the investigating officer said the murder weapon had been found at her request, if the pair were alone in the room on the fateful night of the murder, the violent witnesses had created a massive cloud.
The court ruled that in using the FIR as a substantive piece of evidence, the trial court erred. Accordingly, we find that the Trial Court’s finding that the quarrels between the appellant and the deceased were formed based on the FIR is unacceptable. The FIR should not be used as an integral part of evidence.The court noted, reflecting on the poor execution by the prosecutors of the case. “Keeping in view that the prosecution has conducted the trial in a casual and half-hearted manner, five out of seven witnesses have turned hostile and as material witnesses have not been examined, that we are constrained to grant the benefit of doubt to the appellant/ accused and order her acquittal.” To render observations against witnesses, the court relied on the following judgements.