16 Oct 2008, 2034 hrs IST,PTI
NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court has ruled that testimony of even those witnesses who are related to a victim of a crime can be relied upon for convicting the accused.
"Relationship is not a factor to affect the credibility of a witness, for the mere reason that an eyewitness can be said to be an interested witness, his/her testimony need not be rejected," a bench of Justices Arijit Pasayat and Mukundakam Sharma observed, setting aside the acquittal order passed by the Madras High Court against two persons in a murder case.
The apex court noted that most of the time, eyewitnesses happened to be family members or close associates as such their testimony cannot be rejected.
"Unless a crime is committed in a public place, strangers are not likely to be present at the time of occurrence. It is more often than not that a relation would not conceal actual culprit and make allegations against an innocent person," the Bench observed.
In the instant case, the Tamil Nadu Government had filed the SLP challenging the acquittal order passed by the High Court in favour of the accused Sarvanam and another person charged with killing Murgasan in June 1991 in Vellore district.
Though the sessions court convicted and sentenced the accused to life imprisonment, the High Court acquitted them on the reasoning that the witnesses could not be relied upon and there was delay in filing the FIR.