when both incidents are independent – acquital of one . incident would not help the accused in another incident due to self contradictory versions of accused – reasonable delay in lodging FIR is not amount to delay in FIR – previous enimty not necessary when other findings are concurret by both courts below

1
REPORTABLE
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION
CRIMINAL APPEAL NO.764 OF 2009
Rohtas & Anr. … Appellants
Versus
The State of Haryana … Respondent
J U D G M E N T
A.M. Khanwilkar, J.

  1. This appeal takes exception to the judgment and order
    dated 13th March, 2008 passed by the High Court of Punjab and
    Haryana at Chandigarh in Criminal Appeal No.241­DB of 1999,
    whereby the conviction and sentence awarded to the appellants
    Rohtas (Accused No.1) and Surender Singh (Accused No.2) for
    offences punishable under Section 302/34 of the Indian Penal
    Code, 1860 (IPC) by the Trial Court came to be confirmed.
  2. Initially, six accused were tried for the offence registered as
    FIR No.298 on 26th April, 1998 at Police Station, City Palwal.
    2
    Bishan Singh (PW­1) reported the matter to the police station
    whose statement came to be recorded on 25th April, 1998 at
    about 11.30 p.m., alleging that at about 6.30 p.m. a quarrel had
    taken place between two groups. He was member of one of the
    groups whereas Roop Chand (Accused No.4) was member of
    another group that had assaulted his brother Ved Prakash and
    nephew Anil Kumar. They had sustained injuries and were taken
    to Government Hospital, Palwal by Bishan Singh (PW­1), Rati
    Chand (father of Anil Kumar) and Baljit Singh (PW­2) for
    treatment. At about 8.30 p.m., when they were standing at the
    gate of Government Hospital Palwal, his brother Mohar Pal
    arrived there on a motorcycle. He was told to bring money from a
    commission agent at Anaj Mandi, Palwal. When Mohar Pal was
    leaving towards Anaj Mandi, at a distance of about ten paces
    from the gate of the hospital, all the six accused persons came
    from the front side and stopped his motorcycle. Soon thereafter,
    appellants Rohtas (Accused No.1) and Surender Singh (Accused
    No.2) both inflicted knife blows one after the other in the
    stomach of Mohar Pal. Immediately thereafter, Mohar Pal
    attempted to run away by raising alarm “mar diya, mar diya”.
    Billu (Accused No.5) and Rajender (Accused No.3) caught hold of
    Mohar Pal and Dev Kumar (Accused No.6) gave one knife blow in
    3
    the abdomen of Mohar Pal. Similarly, Roop Chand (Accused
    No.4) gave knife blow in the abdomen of Mohar Pal. He also gave
    a knife blow on the waist of Mohar Pal as a result of which Mohar
    Pal fell down. It is stated that Bishan Singh, Ravi, Ved Prakash,
    Anil and Baljit Singh (PW­2), who were present at the scene, ran
    towards the spot and on seeing them, the accused persons ran
    away. Thereafter, Mohar Pal was immediately removed to the
    hospital in injured condition where he succumbed to the injuries
    and was declared dead. On the basis of this FIR, the
    investigation was taken over by ASI Gian Singh (PW­6).
  3. After completion of investigation, charge­sheet was filed
    against six accused persons for offence punishable under
    Sections 148, 302 and 149 IPC. The trial commenced before the
    Additional Sessions Judge (I), Faridabad being Sessions Case
    No.40 of 1998. Both sides produced witnesses. According to the
    accused persons, they were falsely implicated. Further, it is their
    stand that Mohar Pal was injured in the previous incident which
    had taken place at 6.30 p.m. on the same evening. He was
    member of the aggressor party. During the fight which took
    place, he must have sustained injuries at the hands of opposite
    party. It was also the case of the accused that Mohar Pal had
    4
    suffered injuries at some other place near Anaj Mandi and he was
    brought to the hospital in a three­wheeler. In other words, the
    incident did not happen near the hospital.
  4. On the basis of such alternative plea, the accused persons
    denied their involvement in the commission of the offence. After
    completion of the trial and recording of statements of the
    concerned accused persons under Section 313 of the Code of
    Criminal Procedure, the Trial Court finally convicted Rohtas
    (Accused No.1), Surender Singh (Accused No.2), Roop Chand
    (Accused No.4) and Dev Kumar (Accused No.6) but acquitted
    Rajender (Accused No.3) and Billu (Accused No.5) by giving them
    benefit of doubt. The Trial Court accordingly convicted the four
    accused under Section 302 read with Section 34 IPC and
    sentenced them to undergo life imprisonment and to pay fine of
    Rs.30,000/­ each to the widow of deceased Mohar Pal, in default
    to undergo further rigorous imprisonment for two years. This
    decision was carried in appeal by Accused Nos. 1, 2, 4 and 6
    being Criminal Appeal No.241­DB of 1999 before the High Court
    of Punjab and Haryana at Chandigarh. The High Court, on
    reappreciation of the evidence on record, affirmed the finding of
    guilt against the appellants Rohtas (Accused No.1) and Surender
    5
    Singh (Accused No.2) but acquitted Roop Chand (Accused No.4)
    and Dev Kumar (Accused No.6) by giving them benefit of doubt.
    As regards the appellants, the High Court, vide impugned
    judgment, opined that the evidence on record clearly established
    their involvement in the commission of the offence and causing
    death of Mohar Pal by inflicting knife blow injuries to which he
    eventually succumbed.
  5. Resultantly, the appellants, Rohtas (Accused No.1) and
    Surender Singh (Accused No.2) have assailed the finding of guilt
    recorded against them by way of this appeal, arising from special
    leave petition.
  6. Neither the State nor the complainant had challenged the
    acquittal of Rajender (Accused No.3) and Billu (Accused No.5) by
    the Trial Court nor the acquittal of Roop Chand (Accused No.4)
    and Dev Kumar (Accused No.6) by the High Court. Their
    acquittal has become final.
  7. In the present appeal, the assail is based essentially on the
    argument that both the Courts below have misread or
    misappreciated the evidence on record. The evidence of Bishan
    Singh (PW­1) and Baljit Singh (PW­2) was unreliable and was an
    6
    attempt to falsely implicate the appellants. It is urged that the
    prosecution has failed to prove the case beyond reasonable doubt
    even against the appellants. According to the appellants, the real
    and core facts have not been properly investigated and the
    prosecution’s case is replete with several deficiencies such as :­
    “(i) No seizure list of clothes of deceased made by
    IO;
    (ii) Blood group of deceased was not ascertained,
    hence no link was established between blood
    found on alleged kurta and blood stained earth
    with the blood of the deceased. Thus the
    prosecution has totally failed to establish the
    link between blood found on the seized articles
    and blood of the deceased;
    (iii) Prosecution though allegedly recovered the
    alleged knife and sent it to FSL, but it did not
    produce the said knife in the Court nor got it
    exhibited, besides there were no blood stains,
    hence the recovered knife cannot be connected
    with this crime;
    (iv) Shirt was seized as per recovery memo Ex. PB,
    but Kurta was replaced while sending it to FSL;
    (v) Kurta if worn by the deceased while he was
    injured by knife, must have cut signs but there
    was none;
    (vi) No Independent Panchas (Recovery witness)
    examined by the prosecution;
    (vii) The IO has miserably failed to show in the
    Sketch plan Ex PH as to from which place or
    places, trail of blood was there as per FIR and
    alleged blood recovered, since in the alleged first
    attack by appellants the deceased was on motor
    cycle, which he left and tried to run away by
    making noise “mar diya mar diya” and thereafter
    7
    he was knived at least two to three times by
    Roop Chand and Devi;
    (viii) No Independent witness examined either for the
    occurance or for the alleged Recovery and
    Inquest Report;
    (ix) The most important and valuable witnesses i.e.
    Anil and Ved Prakash were withheld by the
    prosecution, who also participated in the earlier
    village incident @ 6.30 pm and got injured;
    (x) Prosecution did not examine any eye witness of
    the incident which occurred in the village at
    about 6.30 pm on 25/04/1998, which was
    shown as motive for the present incident
    allegedly @ 8.30 pm.
    (xi) Prosecution purposely withheld MLR of the
    deceased which was proved by the defence
    through DW­2 and on the said MLR and injuries
    sustained by Moharpal, Ved Prakash & Anil,
    there was a cross case through the FIR lodged
    by injured Ved Prakash u/s 323/324/506/149
    r/w 148 IPC at PS Sadar, Case was tried by
    Judicial Magistrate 1st Class, Palwal, and the
    accused were acquitted vide judgment dated
    24/01/2007;
    (xii) Sketch plan Ex PH does not show as to where
    motorcycle was thrown, where deceased threw
    away his clothes, where the witnesses PW­1,
    PW­2 and their Associates were standing and
    from which place body of the deceased was lifted
    and brought to the Hospital. Hence the
    prosecution has miserably failed to connect the
    place of occurrence with the commission of
    offence;
    (xiii) In this case FIR appears to be concocted,
    fabricated and recorded and after consultations
    etc. It appears that FIR was lodged only after
    Inquest report where the time of death was
    recorded as 11.50 AM on the dictates of PW­1
    and also there would have been fully disclosed
    genesis of the crime, names of the assailants,
    name of the weapon and names of the witnesses
    8
    etc, which are completely missing in the Inquest
    report.
    (xiv) There is the variance between the alleged FIR
    and report of IO for registering case;
    (xv) Non­seizure of Motor Cycle;
    (xvi) Non production of Anil and Ved Prakash as
    witnesses and various other irregularities and
    serious lapses of the Investigation including
    improper statement of IO PW­6 which entitles
    benefit of doubt to the appellants.”
  8. According to the appellants, the Trial Court and the High
    Court have completely glossed over the glaring infirmities and
    foundational defects of the prosecution which were fatal, and in
    any case, the appellants deserved similar benefit of doubt as
    given to other accused persons by the Trial Court and then by
    the High Court. The role of the other accused persons spoken
    about by the prosecution witnesses is no different than that
    ascribed to the appellants. Accordingly, it is urged that the
    appellants be acquitted as the prosecution has failed to prove
    their guilt beyond reasonable doubt, and in any case, they should
    be given benefit of doubt as is given to accused Roop Chand
    (Accused No.4) and Dev Kumar (Accused No.6) by the High Court.
    9
  9. Learned counsel for the State has adopted the reasons
    recorded by the Trial Court and the High Court to distinguish the
    case of the appellants Rohtas (Accused No.1) and Surender Singh
    (Accused No.2), who have been named by the prosecution
    witnesses, and because there is clinching evidence on record to
    establish their guilt. It is urged that there is no deficiency in the
    investigation nor in the evidence produced before the Court
    which commended the Trial Court as well as the High Court to
    record finding of guilt against the appellants. It cannot be said to
    be inadequate in any manner. On the other hand, it is evident
    that the accused persons took contradictory plea by first
    asserting that Mohar Pal sustained injuries during the fight
    between two groups in the earlier incident which had occurred at
    6.30 p.m. on the same evening. Having realised that the said
    plea cannot be substantiated by them, alternative plea was taken
    that the incident in question did not occur near the Government
    hospital and the injuries suffered by Mohar Pal were sustained at
    some other place near Anaj Mandi from where he was brought in
    a three­wheeler to the hospital for being admitted for treatment.
    However, no evidence was produced by the accused to
    substantiate that fact. It is urged by the State that just because
    co­accused have been acquitted, that does not warrant grant of
    10
    same relief to the appellants despite the clinching evidence
    against them about their role and the manner of commission of
    offence by them. The learned counsel for the State contended
    that even if the State has not challenged the acquittal of other
    accused persons, that by itself cannot be the basis to acquit the
    appellants herein, for there is sufficient evidence against them
    and has been produced by the prosecution to bring home their
    guilt. It is thus contended that the benefit given to other accused
    by the High Court cannot be the basis to give similar benefit to
    the appellants.
  10. It is submitted that the evidence of Bishan Singh (PW­1)
    and Baljit Singh (PW­2), who were the eye­witnesses, cannot be
    undermined, at least against the appellants before this Court. It
    is well established position that the principle of falsus in uno,
    falsus in omnibus has no general applicability in India and the
    Court is not debarred from separating the truth from the
    falsehood and accepting a part of the evidence. It is urged that
    the appeal is devoid of merits and the same be dismissed.
  11. We have heard Mr. Arvind Kumar, Advocate for the
    appellants and Dr. Monika Gusain Advocate for the respondent
    State.
    11
  12. It is well established position in law that this Court, while
    entertaining an appeal by way of special leave under Article 136
    of the Constitution of India, ordinarily, will not attempt to
    reappreciate the evidence on record unless the decision of the
    Trial Court or the High Court is shown to have committed a
    manifest error of law or procedure or the conclusion reached by
    the Courts below is, on the face of it, perverse. Merely because
    another view on the same evidence is possible, that cannot be the
    basis to interfere with the finding of fact recorded by the Courts
    below much less concurrent finding of facts. (See Duli Chand
    vs. Delhi Administration1
    ; Mst. Dalbir Kaur & Ors. vs. State
    of Punjab2
    ; Ramanbhai Naranbhai Patel & Ors. vs. State of
    Gujarat3
    ; Chandra Bihari Gautam & Ors. vs. State of Bihar4
    ;
    and Radha Mohan Singh @ Lal Saheb & Ors. vs. State of
    U.P.5
    ).
    1
    (1975) 4 SCC 649
    2
    (1976) 4 SCC 158
    3
    (JT 1999 (9) SC 319
    4
    JT 2002 (4) SC 62
    5
    JT 2006 (1) SC 428
    12
  13. Despite this settled position, we may venture to wade
    through the evidence on record to reassure ourselves as to
    whether the Trial Court and the High Court have committed
    manifest error bordering on perversity or error apparent on the
    face of record. As regards the role of the appellants, Rohtas
    (Accused No.1) and Surender Singh (Accused No.2), the Trial
    Court analysed the testimonies of eye­witnesses Bishan Singh
    (PW­1) and Baljit Singh (PW­2) and found them to be natural and
    trustworthy. The Trial Court, observed as follows :­
    “20. ………………… Both of them have stated that in the
    incident which had taken place in the village, Anil and Ved
    Parkash from their side had received injuries and that in that
    connection they had brought them to General Hospital Palwal
    where Mohar Pal arrived at his motor cycle at 8.30 p.m. and
    that when Mohar Pal left for Anaj Mandi, Palwal for bringing
    some money from some commission agent, then he was way
    laid by the accused persons and then caused injuries by
    means of knives. No suggestion was given to these PWs that
    Mohar Pal had received injuries along with Anil and Ved
    Prakash in the village. They were rather given the suggestions
    that Baljit (PW­2) and Mohar Pal had gone to Anaj Mandi from
    the village after the incident had taken place there and both of
    them had consumed liquor. They were further given the
    suggestion that Mohar Pal had received injuries in the Anaj
    Mandi Palwal and Baljit had brought him in a rickshaw for
    being admitted in the nursing home of Dr. Lokesh which was
    situated in the vicinity of General Hospital Palwal and when
    Mohar Pal died then taking undue advantage of his death, this
    false story was coined implicating the accused. They were
    further given the suggestion that Mohar Pal had received
    injuries from sharp edged railings of the kitchen garden of the
    commission agent to whom he had gone. No suggestion at all
    was given that Mohar Pal was rendered injured for the
    incident that took place in the evening in the village. Thus, the
    plea that the accused party caused injuries to Mohar Pal in
    the right of private defence is absolutely baseless.
  14. It is true that in the FIR No.152 dated 28/4/1998 vide Ex.
    DB recorded at Police Station Sadar Palwal against the
    13
    complainant party, it was mentioned that Anil, Ved Prakash
    and Mohar Pal were caused injuries in defence. This first
    information report was lodged by Rajinder accused. However,
    no reliance can be placed upon this version as the same came
    into existence after the death of Mohar Pal had taken place. A
    perusal of the Fir Ex. DB shows that the same came to be
    recorded on the basis of rapat No.5 dated 26.1.1998 at 9 a.m.
    By that time, Mohar Pal had expired and to us allegation that
    he had (sic) been caused injuries in the incident of 25.4.1998
    at 6.30 p.m. in the village cannot be given any credence.
    Morever, it is well established that the FIR is not a substantive
    evidence by itself. The same can be used only for the purpose
    of contradicting or corroborating a particular versions. The
    accused have not examined any witness in their defence who
    could depose that Mohar Pal had been caused injuries by the
    accused party in their right of private defence in the incident
    that took place in the village.”
    The Trial Court, further observed :­
    “But in the case this Judgment does not help to the accused
    in any manner because there is no whisper of suggestion even
    in the cross examination of Bishan Singh and Baljit Singh
    PWs that Mohar Pal had been cause injuries in the incident
    which took place on 25.4.1998 evening in the village.”
    The Trial Court again observed :­
    “24. It is true that Bishan Singh (PW­1) Baljit (PW­2) Ratti
    Chand, Ved Prakash and Anil could not case effective
    resistance when Mohar Pal was assaulted by the accused
    within their sight (sic). But that by itself is no ground to paint
    their statements with black color. Incident after all had taken
    place near General Hospital, Palwal as the investigating officer
    ASI Gian Singh also lifted blood stained earth from there.
    Presence of these persons there was natural as they must
    have come to obtain treatment for Anil and Ved Parkash, who
    had received injuries in the prior altercation that took place in
    the village.
    ……….. In the present case, the incident appears to have
    taken place all of a sudden near the hospital. It might have
    lasted only 2­3 minutes, Bishan Singh, Baljit Singh and thus
    it is not surprising that they could not effectively intervene
    (sic) by chasing the accused.”
    14
    The High Court, on reappreciation of the evidence, once again
    observed as follows :­
    “PW­1 Bishan Singh and PW 2 Baljit Singh can be
    safely relied upon about Mohar Pal having been
    assaulted in the occurrence at 8.30 PM. Contention
    that there was delay in FIR or that the FIR was antetimed or that the genesis of the occurrence was
    suppressed, based only on the ground that in the
    inquest report, number of the FIR and names of the
    FIR and names of the accused were not mentioned,
    has no merit. Statement of Bishan Singh PW 1 is duly
    recorded in the inquest report and entire version given
    by him in the FIR including presence of PW 2 Baljit
    Singh finds mention therein. Reading of a part of the
    statement separately recorded that he identified the
    dead body of which post mortem was being done, as
    statement recorded later is not justified. Testimony of
    PW 1 Bishan Singh and PW 2 Baljit Singh cannot be
    rejected but has to be carefully appreciated by
    accepting that part which may be clearly reliable and
    by not accepting the part which may not be safe to be
    relied upon. Role of each accused has to be carefully
    considered.
    According to the version given by PWs, when
    Mohar Pal had left for the Anaz Mandi on motor cycle,
    he was stopped by the accused. Rohtas and Surender,
    gave one knife blow each in the stomach of Mohar Pal.
    We do not find any reason to reject this part of the
    version with regard to Rohtas and Surender. Rohtas
    and Surender are sons of Shiv Singh, who according to
    the defence, were injured in the earlier incident. A
    knife has been recovered from Rohtas. Opening of the
    attack by Rohtas and Surender could have been easily
    noticed by Bishan Singh PW1 and PW 2 Baljit Singh,
    whose presence on the spot is established by prompt
    lodging of the FIR. Mere fact that their names are not
    mentioned in the MLR, does not create any doubt. In
    the MLR, it has not been mentioned as to who brought
    the injured to the hospital. The fact that the injured
    was described as having died, instead of having been
    injured, is not a major discrepancy. The injured died
    within half an hour and immediately the police was
    informed. The I.O., recorded the statement of Bishan
    Singh PW 1 in the hospital itself soon after the death.
    FIR was formally registered immediately at 12.45 AM
    in the night and copy was received by the Magistrate
    in the night itself by 4 AM. Case of the prosecution is
    15
    to be examined a whole and any minor discrepancy
    cannot be taken in isolation. Mere fact that the said
    witnesses did not intervene to save the deceased, is of
    no effect. The witnesses were at some distance and
    within minutes, the accused caused injuries to the
    deceased. The witnesses had, thus, no opportunity to
    intervene. Discrepancy of the I.O. in not recovering
    the motor cycle or not showing the source of light,
    does not create any suspicion about the version of the
    prosecution.”
  15. After perusing the evidence of Bishan Singh (PW­1), we have
    no hesitation in taking the view that the concurrent finding of
    fact recorded by the two Courts below needs no interference.
    Bishan Singh (PW­1) in his examination­in­chief has deposed as
    follows :­
    “At about (sic) 8.30 p.m. on the same day I, Rati Chand and
    Baljit were talking at the gate of G.H. Palwal. My brother
    Mohar Pal also came there on a motor cycle. I then sent
    Mohar Pal back for bringing money from a commission agent
    in the Anaz Mandi, Palwal.
    Mohar Pal must have crossed hardly a distance of 10
    paces that the accused Rohtas, Surender, Billu, Rajender,
    Roopi and Devi present in the Court came there and they
    made to stop the Mohar Pal’s motor cycle. Rohtas and
    Surender then gave one knife blow each on the abdomen of
    Mohar Pal. Leaving his motor cycle, Mohar Pal then started
    running and raised the alarm of mar­diya mardiya. Billu and
    Rajender then caught him and Roopi accused gave a knife
    blow on his back and Devi accused gave another knife blow on
    his abdomen with the result that Mohar Pal died at the spot.
    When I, Rati Chand, Ved Parkash and Anil etc. started
    running for saving Mohar Pal, then the accused persons ran
    away.”
  16. He has been extensively cross­examined but the crossexamination does not make any dent with regard to his
    16
    statement in the examination­in­chief that Rohtas (Accused No.1)
    and Surender Singh (Accused No.2) gave knife blow each on the
    stomach of Mohar Pal and caused the fatal injuries. Dr. Ramesh
    Leekha (PW­5) has spoken about the injuries in his evidence and
    the same also can be noticed from the post­mortem report of
    Mohar Pal that he had sustained the following injuries :­
    “1. Incised wound 3 x 0.25 cm, 8 cm above and lateral
    to umbilicus. On the opening of the abdomen, the
    middle log of liver was found cut badly with huge
    quantity of blood in the abdominal cavity. Superficial
    and deep facie with omentum and peritoneum was cut
    through and through.
  17. Incised wound 2.5 x 0.5 cm which was 2 cm above
    and lateral to umbilicus underlying superficial and
    deep facia and omentum was cut on the left side of the
    abdomen.
  18. Reddish abrasion 8 cm long and linear in shape and
    8 cm above and lateral to the left side of umbilicus.
  19. Incised wound 1 x 0.5 cm n the left supra scapular
    region underlying muscles were cut with no injury to
    lung or pleura.”
    XXX XXX XXX
    VI­REMARKS BY MEDICAL OFFICER
    In my opinion the cause of death in this case in
    shock and haemorrhage (sic) as a result of injuries
    sustained by the deceased, particularly No.1 which
    alone in sufficient to cause death in an ordinary
    course of nature. All injuries are ante mortem in
    nature.”
  20. Suffice it to observe that the cross­examination of Bishan
    Singh (PW­1) does not take the matter any further for the
    17
    appellants, as is rightly held by the two Courts below. Same is
    the position with regard to the evidence of Baljit Singh (PW­2).
    Even he has plainly mentioned about the manner in which
    Mohar Pal was stopped by all the accused persons when he was
    riding his motorcycle and immediately thereafter Rohtas (Accused
    No.1) and Surender Singh (Accused No.2) inflicted knife blows on
    his stomach one after the other. The fact that similar role has
    been ascribed to Roop Chand (Accused No.4) and Dev Kumar
    (Accused No.6) but the High Court acquitted them by giving
    benefit of doubt cannot be the basis to undermine the quality of
    evidence which has already come on record. We are not dilating
    on the correctness of the view so taken by the High Court qua
    those accused as neither the State nor the complainant has
    assailed the finding recorded by the High Court in that regard.
    That does not mean that a wrong relief given to co­accused
    should also be given to the appellants against whom clinching
    evidence has come on record about the manner in which the
    offence was committed by them.
  21. Reverting to the exposition of this Court in State of U.P. vs.
    Moti Ram & Ors.6
    , it turns on the facts of that case. That case
    6
    (1990) 4 SCC 389
    18
    was an appeal against acquittal and the quality of evidence was
    not reassuring and warranting a finding of guilt against the
    acquitted accused. Even in the case of Balaka Singh & Ors. vs.
    The State of Punjab7
    , this Court was dealing with evidence
    against the appellants and four accused named along with the
    appellants therein, which was so inextricably mixed up that it
    was not possible to separate one from the other.
  22. In the present case, however, the evidence of Bishan Singh
    (PW­1) and Baljit Singh (PW­2), who are the eye witnesses, has
    mentioned about the events as unfolded. First, all the accused
    persons obstructed Mohar Pal who was riding a motorcycle.
    Immediately after he was stopped, both the appellants inflicted
    knife blows on the stomach of Mohar Pal one after the other.
    This role of the appellants is distinct. Thereafter Mohar Pal
    attempted to flee away from the spot when he was stopped by the
    other accused persons and two of them inflicted knife blows one
    after the other. The events, therefore, can be segregated.
  23. So far as the second event is concerned, the Trial Court and
    the High Court gave benefit of doubt to the concerned accused.
    7
    (1975) 4 SCC 511
    19
    In that sense, the appellants are not concerned with that part of
    the event. As aforementioned, even if we do not agree with the
    approach of the High Court in absolving Accused Nos.4 and 6, we
    refrain from dilating on the said approach of the High Court as
    neither the State nor the complainant has assailed the acquittal
    of those accused. In any case, wrong benefit given to those
    accused cannot enure to the advantage of the appellants against
    whom clear, truthful and unassailable evidence is forthcoming.
    For, neither the presence of Bishan Singh (PW­1) and Baljit Singh
    (PW­2) can be doubted nor their evidence can be discarded on the
    specious ground that they are related to the deceased Mohar Pal,
    and are therefore interested witnesses.
  24. Indubitably, just because the witnesses are related cannot
    be the basis to discard their evidence, if it is otherwise natural
    and truthful. Their evidence has commended to the Trial Court
    as well as the High Court as truthful and we see no reason to
    deviate from that concurrent view taken by the Courts below. It
    is the duty of the Court to separate the grain from the chaff and
    then to arrive at a finding of guilt of an accused or otherwise,
    notwithstanding the fact that evidence is found to be deficient
    qua another accused named in the same offence. The maxim
    20
    falsus in uno, falsus in omnibus has not received general
    acceptance in India nor has this maxim come to occupy the
    status of rule of law. This has been restated in Rizan & Anr. vs.
    State of Chhattisgarh8
    . In paragraph 12 of the said decision,
    the Court observed, thus :­
    “12. Stress was laid by the accused­appellants on the
    non­acceptance of evidence tendered by some witnesses
    to contend about desirability to throw out the entire
    prosecution case. In essence, prayer is to apply the
    principle of falsus in uno falsus in omnibus (false in one
    thing, false in everything). This plea is clearly untenable.
    Even if a major portion of evidence is found to be
    deficient, in case residue is sufficient to prove guilt of an
    accused, notwithstanding acquittal of a number of other
    co­accused persons his conviction can be maintained. It
    is the duty of the court to separate the grain from the
    chaff. Where the chaff can be separated from the grain, it
    would be open to the court to convict an accused
    notwithstanding the fact that evidence has been found to
    be deficient to prove guilt of other accused persons.
    Falsity of a particular material witness or material
    particular would not ruin it from the beginning to end.
    The maxim falsus in uno falsus in omnibus has no
    application in India and the witnesses cannot be
    branded as liars. The maxim falsus in uno falsus in
    omnibus has not received general acceptance nor has
    this maxim come to occupy the status of a rule of
    law. It is merely a rule of caution. All that it amounts
    to, is that in such cases testimony may be
    disregarded, and not that it must be disregarded. The
    doctrine merely involves the question of weight of
    evidence which a court may apply in a given set of
    circumstances, but it is not what may be called “a
    mandatory rule of evidence”. (See Nisar Ali v. State
    of U.P.) Merely because some of the accused persons
    have been acquitted, though evidence against all of
    them, so far as direct testimony went, was the same
    does not lead as a necessary corollary that those who
    8
    (2003) 2 SCC 661
    21
    have been convicted must also be acquitted. It is
    always open to a court to differentiate accused who had
    been acquitted from those who were convicted. (See
    Gurcharan Singh v. State of Punjab.) The doctrine is a
    dangerous one, specially in India for if a whole body of
    the testimony were to be rejected, because a witness was
    evidently speaking an untruth in some aspect, it is to be
    feared that administration of criminal justice would come
    to a deadstop. Witnesses just cannot help in giving
    embroidery to a story, however true in the main.
    Therefore, it has to be appraised in each case as to what
    extent the evidence is worthy of acceptance, and merely
    because in some respects the court considers the same to
    be insufficient for placing reliance on the testimony of a
    witness, it does not necessarily follow as a matter of law
    that it must be disregarded in all respects as well. The
    evidence has to be sifted with care. The aforesaid dictum
    is not a sound rule for the reason that one hardly comes
    across a witness whose evidence does not contain a grain
    of untruth or at any rate exaggeration, embroideries or
    embellishment. (See Sohrab v. State of M.P. and Ugar
    Ahir v. State of Bihar.) An attempt has to be made to, as
    noted above, in terms of the felicitous metaphor, separate
    the grain from the chaff, truth from falsehood. Where it is
    not feasible to separate truth from falsehood, because the
    grain and the chaff are inextricably mixed up, and in the
    process of separation an absolutely new case has to be
    reconstructed by divorcing essential details presented by
    the prosecution completely from the context and the
    background against which they are made, the only
    available course to be made is to discard the evidence in
    toto. (See Zwinglee Ariel v. State of M.P. and Balaka Singh
    v. State of Punjab.
    ) As observed by this Court in State of
    Rajasthan v. Kalki normal discrepancies in evidence are
    those which are due to normal errors of observation,
    normal errors of memory due to lapse of time, due to
    mental disposition such as shock and horror at the time
    of occurrence and those are always there, however
    honest and truthful a witness may be. Material
    discrepancies are those which are not normal, and not
    expected of a normal person. Courts have to label the
    category into which a discrepancy may be categorized.
    While normal discrepancies do not corrode the credibility
    of a party’s case, material discrepancies do so. These
    aspects were highlighted recently in Krishna Mochi v.
    State of Bihar and Gangadhar Behera v. State of Orissa.
    Accusations have been clearly established against the
    accused­appellants in the case at hand. The courts below
    have categorically indicated the distinguishing features in
    22
    evidence so far as the acquitted and convicted accused
    are concerned.”
    (emphasis supplied)
  25. In another decision of this Court in State of Uttar Pradesh
    vs. Ram Kumar & Ors.9
    , it is held that minor discrepancies in
    the statement of witnesses of trivial nature cannot be a ground to
    reject evidence as a whole. The Court relied upon the exposition
    of Brahm Swaroop & Anr. vs. State of Uttar Pradesh10. In
    paragraph 32 of the said decision, the Court observed, thus :­
    “32. It is a settled legal proposition that while
    appreciating the evidence of a witness, minor
    discrepancies on trivial matters, which do not affect the
    core of the prosecution’s case, may not prompt the court
    to reject the evidence in its entirety. “Irrelevant details
    which do not in any way corrode the credibility of a
    witness cannot be labelled as omissions or
    contradictions.” Difference in some minor details, which
    does not otherwise affect the core of the prosecution
    case, even if present, would not itself prompt the court to
    reject the evidence on minor variations and
    discrepancies. After exercising care and caution and
    sifting through the evidence to separate truth from
    untruth, exaggeration and improvements, the court
    comes to a conclusion as to whether the residuary
    evidence is sufficient to convict the accused. Thus, an
    undue importance should not be attached to omissions,
    contradictions and discrepancies which do not go to the
    heart of the matter and shake the basic version of the
    prosecution witness. As the mental capabilities of a
    human being cannot be expected to be attuned to absorb
    all the details, minor discrepancies are bound to occur in
    the statements of witnesses. (See State of U.P. v. M.K.
    Anthony, State of Rajasthan v. Om Prakash, State v.
    Saravanan and Prithu v. State of H.P.)”
    9
    (2017) 14 SCC 614
    10 (2011) 6 SCC 288
    23
  26. The so­called deficiencies pointed out by the appellants in
    the investigation or the prosecution case, in our opinion, are
    insignificant and trivial and cannot be the basis to reject the
    whole evidence of Bishan Singh (PW­1) and Baljit Singh (PW­2)
    which is corroborated by the other evidence in the form of
    medical reports and recovery of human blood stained soil from
    the spot near the hospital where Mohar Pal was assaulted by the
    accused. The fact that the blood group of the human blood
    stained soil cannot be ascertained, can be no basis to discard
    that piece of evidence. Even the recovery of weapon used by
    Rohtas (Accused No.1) during the commission of the offence
    reinforces the role and involvement of the appellants in the
    commission of the crime. The quality substantive evidence on
    record clearly establishes the guilt of the appellants.
  27. In a recent decision in Dilawar Singh & Ors. vs. State of
    Haryana11, the Court restated that while analysing the evidence
    of eye witnesses, it must be borne in mind that there is bound to
    be variations and difference in the behaviour of the witnesses or
    their reactions from situation to situation and individual to
    individual. There cannot be uniformity in the reaction of
    11 (2015) 1 SCC 737
    24
    witnesses. The Court must not decipher the evidence on
    unrealistic basis. There can be no hard and fast rule about the
    uniformity in human reaction. The difference in the statements
    of the prosecution witnesses about the conditions of Mohar Pal
    when he was admitted in the hospital, therefore, does not take
    the matter any further especially when the medical reports
    clearly indicate that he was admitted in the hospital in semiconscious state and was declared dead by the doctor only
    thereafter.
  28. As regards, the delay in registration of FIR, that aspect has
    also been considered by the Trial Court and the finding recorded
    by the Trial Court rejecting that defence plea found favour with
    the High Court. We see no reason to deviate from the conclusion
    so recorded that there was no delay in registration of FIR in the
    facts of the present case. The significance of registration of FIR
    without loss of time need not be underscored. This Court in
    State of Andhra Pradesh vs. M. Madhusudhan Rao12, while
    dealing with similar arguments, observed in paragraph 30 as
    follows :­
    12 (2008) 15 SCC 582
    25
    “30. Time and again, the object and importance of
    prompt lodging of the first information report has been
    highlighted. Delay in lodging the first information report,
    more often than not, results in embellishment and
    exaggeration, which is a creature of an afterthought. A
    delayed report not only gets bereft of the advantage of
    spontaneity, the danger of the introduction of a coloured
    version, an exaggerated account of the incident or a
    concocted story as a result of deliberations and
    consultations, also creeps in, casting a serious doubt on
    its veracity. Therefore, it is essential that the delay in
    lodging the report should be satisfactorily explained.”
  29. In the present case, there has been no delay as is evident
    from the contemporaneous record. Mohar Pal was admitted in
    hospital immediately after the incident and was examined by Dr.
    Ramesh. Mohar Pal was declared dead at 11.00 p.m. The City
    Police Station was informed by the doctor at 11.30 p.m.
    Thereafter, Bishan Singh (PW­1) complained to ASI Gian Singh
    (PW­5) near hospital building and finally the FIR was registered
    at 0015 hrs. on the night between 25th and 26th April, 1998. In
    Kishan Singh (Dead) Through LRs vs. Gurpal Singh & Ors.13
    ,
    This Court had observed as follows :­
    “22. In cases where there is a delay in lodging an FIR, the
    court has to look for a plausible explanation for such
    delay. In the absence of such an explanation, the delay
    may be fatal. The reason for quashing such proceedings
    may not be merely that the allegations were an
    afterthought or had given a coloured version of events. In
    such cases the court should carefully examine the facts
    before it for the reason that a frustrated litigant who
    failed to succeed before the civil court may initiate
    criminal proceedings just to harass the other side with
    13 (2010) 8 SCC 775
    26
    mala fide intentions or the ulterior motive of wreaking
    vengeance on the other party. Chagrined and frustrated
    litigants should not be permitted to give vent to their
    frustrations by cheaply invoking the jurisdiction of the
    criminal court. The court proceedings ought not to be
    permitted to degenerate into a weapon of harassment
    and persecution. In such a case, where an FIR is lodged
    clearly with a view to spite the other party because of a
    private and personal grudge and to enmesh the other
    party in long and arduous criminal proceedings, the
    court may take a view that it amounts to an abuse of the
    process of law in the facts and circumstances of the case.
    (Vide Chandrapal Singh v. Maharaj Singh; State of
    Haryana v. Bhajan Lal; G. Sagar Suri v. State of U.P.; and
    Gorige Pentaiah v. State of A.P.)”
  30. In view of the above, we have no hesitation in upholding the
    view taken by the Trial Court that there was no delay in
    registration of the FIR in the fact situation of the present case.
  31. We are also in agreement with the view taken by the Trial
    Court and affirmed by the High Court that the defence had taken
    self­contradictory stand. First, it was asserted that Mohar Pal
    sustained injuries in the first incident which had occurred at
    6.30 p.m. on the same evening. However, no evidence in support
    of that plea was forthcoming. Then, the alternative plea taken by
    the defence was that Mohar Pal was, in fact, injured at some
    other place near Anaj Mandi and was brought in a three­wheeler
    to the hospital. Even this plea of the accused has been held to be
    figment of imagination and without any evidence in support
    thereof. On the other hand, the prosecution has produced
    27
    evidence in the form of human blood soiled mud from the spot
    near the hospital where the incident in question had occurred as
    stated by Bishan Singh (PW­1) and Baljit Singh (PW­2).
  32. Even the fact that the accused have been acquitted in the
    cross­cases filed with regard to the first incident which took place
    at 6.30 p.m. on the same evening will not take the matter any
    further for the appellants. That was an independent incident
    whereas the finding of guilt recorded against the appellants is
    concerning the incident which had taken place at 8.30 p.m. near
    the Government Hospital, Palwal as proved by the prosecution
    witnesses. In fact, the incident at 8.30 p.m. was the counter
    blast of the fight which had taken place between two groups at
    6.30 p.m. and the previous enmity between them. The fact that
    there is no evidence about the previous enmity and that no
    evidence is produced by the prosecution in that regard, in our
    view, cannot be the basis to reverse the concurrent view taken by
    two Courts below ­ recording finding of guilt against the
    appellants for commission of offence to assault Mohar Pal near
    the Government Hospital, Palwal at around 8.30 p.m. on 25th
    April, 1998.
    28
  33. Taking any view of the matter, therefore, no interference is
    warranted in this appeal and we are disposed to dismiss the
    same. Accordingly, this appeal is dismissed. The bail bonds of
    the appellants stand cancelled. The appellants shall surrender
    within four weeks from today failing which, the local police
    station must take necessary action against the appellants in
    accordance with law.
    ………………………..,…..J.
    (A.M. Khanwilkar)
    ………………………..,…..J.
    (Dinesh Maheshwari)
    New Delhi;
    November 5, 2019