In the last week of September, the Punjab and Haryana high court noted that not much reliance should be placed upon an uncorroborated testimony of a hostile witness.
The observation was made by the High Court while suspending the sentence of a rape accused. The victim in the case had turned hostile and withdrawn her recorded statement that she gave under Section 164 of the CrPC. Not only this, but the woman also denied identifying the accused during corroboration.
The court noted,
It is a well settled law that not much reliance should be placed upon uncorroborated testimony of a hostile witness.
Describing the situation, the court added,
Under these circumstances, the trial court was not justified in placing reliance upon the statement recorded by the prosecutrix (victim) under Section 164 CrPC when the prosecutrix did not support the prosecution case while appearing as prime witness.
The division bench of Justice Rakesh Kumar Jain and Justice Ashok Kumar Verma, passed the order suspending the sentence of a Panchkula resident in relation to his conviction in a rape case. The bench ordered release of the accused on bail till the pendency of his appeal against his conviction.
In April 2019, the additional sessions judge sentenced the accused to 20-years in jail on charges of rape. However, the accused appealed to the high court that the prosecutrix, her mother and sister did not support the prosecution case and were declared hostile. He argued that this resulted in the case having no weightage that could be attached to their testimonies.
Seeking suspension of his sentence on the said grounds, the accused said that the victim did not even identify the accused before the trial court. Calling out the trial court, the accused further submitted that it had unjustly entrusted upon the statement made under Section 164 CrPC. He added that mere statement under this section is not a substantial piece of evidence and could be used for the purpose of verification.
Importantly, the accused also argued that there were no injury marks on the private parts of the prosecutrix, and hence according to him, the victim failed dismally to prove the case against him.