Case title: Sri Tashil Debbarma vs. The State of Tripura.

Crl. A(J) No. 09 of 2023

The Tripura High Court’s division judge bench decided that family witnesses’ testimony could not be taken into account as interested witnesses unless it could be shown that the witnesses have a vested interest in the accused being found guilty.

Brief facts

The case’s factual matrix states that after the informant’s younger brother reported that their neighbour had killed his mother, he went to her room where the accused struck him with an axe. The informant heard the blow being delivered as he got closer to his mother’s house and used his hand to rescue himself. However, the electric light in the hallway and inside the house allowed him to identify the accused. He ran from the scene, trying to rescue himself. The informant then visited his home, where he discovered his mother’s lifeless, bleeding body lying on the bed, and he spoke with the accusers of Tashil. Debbrma while leaving also attacked their neighbour

A complaint was filed for an infraction covered by IPC sections 457, 324, and 302. The accused was found guilty under sections 302/324/448 of the IPC following a trial that framed charges for offences under sections 324/455/302 of the IPC. This led to the current appeal.

Contentions of the Appellant

The appellant argued that the learned trial court’s ruling should be overturned because it was illogical, capricious, and legally untenable. Additionally, it was argued that since the evidence in the record does not support the allegations of the offence, the trial court erred in convicting the accused without any evidence. Additionally, it was argued that the appellant was found guilty and sentenced by the lower court based only on the illegally altered copies of all the P.Ws. Moreover, other inconsistencies were discovered in PW’s evidence; as a result, it is not possible to conclude that the accused intended to murder the dead.

Contentions of the Respondent

The Respondent argued that it is evident from the testimony of an eyewitness that the accused killed the deceased with an axe with the purpose of killing her. Moreover, it was argued that the accused acknowledged killing the dead during his Section 313 of the Cr.P.C. test.

The ruling in Tulshiram Sahadu Suryawanshi and Others v. State of Maharashtra was cited by the respondent.

Observations of the court

The Court noted that the PWs’ testimony supported each other’s claim that accused Tashil Debbarma used an axe to attack the dead. The relatives of PW-8, 11, 17, and 18 are the deceased. It is necessary to carefully review their evidence, and it soon becomes evident that they are persuasive and corroborative, indicating that they may be believed.

Furthermore, it was noted that unless it is proven that the relatives of the accused have a vested interest in the accused person’s conviction, their testimony cannot be taken into account as interested witnesses.

The court also took into consideration remarks made pursuant to Section 313 of the Cr. P.C. and observed that there is no reason to doubt the accused-appellant’s conviction or the coherence of the circumstances leading up to it. Each witness gave testimony in support of the prosecution’s whole case regarding the alleged offence committed by the accused.

Taking these factors into account, the court upheld the accused-appellants conviction and sentence as rendered by the learned court below.

The decision of the court

With the above direction, the court dismissed the appeal.

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