March 29, 2008

Eyewitnesses score over medical report - Supreme Court

The Supreme Court has said that the testimony of eyewitness will have precedence over the medical report for deciding criminal cases. Over dependence on medical opinion to discard testimony of an eyewitness is not conducive for the administration of criminal justice system, said apex court.

A bench comprising Justice Arijit Pasayat and Justice P Sathasivam said in case of variance between medical evidence and ocular evi-dence, the latter shall prevail. It is only when the medical evidence specifically rules out the injury as claimed to have been inflicted as per oral testimony, should a court draw adverse inference.

The court cautioned the judiciary not to discard the testimony of an eye witness and overdepend on expert medical opinion. “Over dependence on such opinion (medical) evidence, even if the witness is an expert in the field, to checkmate the direct testimony given by an eyewitness is not a safe modus adoptable in criminal cases,” the court said.

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