Procedure under section 145 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872 need not be followed to prove omissions in statements by witnesses in court: Calcutta HC

Balance Needs To Be Struck With Public Order & Security, Freedom Of Speech & Expression Cannot Be Curtaile

The Appellants were charged for Murder under IPC and contravention of the Arms Act and Explosives Act for the death of one Mohammad Akram. The Lower Court had convicted the appellants stating that the Prosecution has proved the case beyond doubt. On appeal before the Hon’ble Calcutta HC, it was contended that there are contradictions in witness statements. The Court held that there are no contradictions but mere discrepancies and Section 145 of the Evidence Act need not be followed in case of Omissions. The Court acquitted 4 appellants on the benefit of doubt.

The Calcutta High Court reiterated that the procedure under section 145 of the Indian Evidence Act need not be followed in the case of omissions in statements made by the witnesses in court. The appeal was filed against the conviction made by the trial court wherein the appellants questioned the veracity of the witnesses.

Brief Facts:

The facts of the case say that one Mr. Mohammad Akram was shot dead at the gate of the saloon by the appellants armed with revolvers. The appellants had allegedly thrown bombs while returning from the place of incident. Immediately the victim was taken to the Howrah hospital, where he was declared dead. Subsequently FIR was registered against the appellants by the police based upon the complaint lodged by the victim’s brother under section 34 and 302 of Indian penal code, sections 25 and section 27 of the Arms Act and 9B of Indian Explosives Act. Chargesheet was filed and 21 witnesses were examined on the side of prosecution and were also cross-examined extensively by the respondents. The trial court held that the prosecution proved its case beyond reasonable doubt thereby convicting and sentencing the appellants.

Aggrieved by the said order of the trial court, the accused/appellants preferred an appeal before the division bench of the Calcutta High court comprising Justice Joymalya Bagchi and Justice Suvra Ghosh. The learned counsel for the appellants questioned the veracity of statements made by the witnesses in the witness box and stated there are discrepancies in their statements hence must be disregarded and consequently acquit the appellants. However the counsel for the prosecution defended stating that the statement made by the witnesses clearly establishes the occurrence of the crime committed by the appellants and further minor discrepancies in their statements does not diminish the truthfulness of the case.

Key features:

1. The court examining the depositions of the prosecution witnesses, observed that there are no discrepancies in their depositions and the prosecution has made out their case beyond reasonable doubt.

2. The court quoted the decision made in Tahsildar Singh and Anr. Vs. State of U.P. wherein it was held that “If the statement before the police-officer and the statement in the evidence before the Court are so inconsistent or irreconcilable with each other that both of them cannot co-exist, it may be said that one contradicts the other.”

3. The court remarked that there were no such contradictions established in case on hands and hence section 145 of the Act is not applicable.

4. The court further observed that whatever the appellants were canvassing as contradictions were mere omissions that were not fatal to the prosecution case.

5. The court reiterated the decision of Laxman and Ors. Vs. The State of Maharashtra where the apex court held that Section 145 of the Evidence Act will not be applicable in the case of omissions.

The Calcutta high Court held that the procedure under section 145 is required to be followed in the case of contradiction wherein the statement of the witnesses in the witness box completely differs from the statement given before the police officer and does not apply for the omissions in statements made by the witnesses. The court while granting benefit of doubt to four appellants among them and thereby acquitting them, partly allowed the appeal.

Edited by J. Madonna Jephi

Approved & Published – Sakshi Raje


1. Order dated 4th February, 2020, Calcutta High Court, CRA No. 709, 719, 753, 754 of 2014, (last visited on 6th February, 2020)

2. Bar and Bench, Section 145, Indian Evidence Act does not apply to prove “omissions” in witness statements during criminal trial: Calcutta High Court, (last visited on 6th February, 2020)

Edited by J. Madonna Jephi

Approved & Published – Sakshi Raje

Lavanya Narayanan
I am Lavanya Narayanan, pursuing a master's in international law. With three years into the profession, I am currently reviving my long-forgotten passion for writing. As and when I find a time I watch debates and interviews on the current affairs of our nation. My areas of interest are criminal law, women and child rights especially toddlers. I love listening to puranic stories. I believe accepting things you don’t know as you don’t know leads you to the path of growth. Happy reading!