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Medical evidence cannot override Direct Evidence

In a case, the medical officer deposed that the shot had been fired from a distance of about six feet. The accused contended that judging from the area of spread, the gun shots were probably fired from a distance of 36 yards which rendered the prosecution story doubtful. The Supreme Court held that the eyewitnesses had given reliable direct evidence of the crime; the identification of the assailants was not in doubt. The conviction of the accused persons was upheld.[1]

If the apparent difference between ocular evidence and medical evidence is attributable to any acceptable reason which is capable of compromising the two apparently different versions, otherwise acceptable ocular evidence should not usually be rejected.[2] In Adya Singh v. State of Bihar,[3] the statement of the eyewitness was that the deceased was hit on his back which was fired by appellant. Evidence of doctor who performed the post-mortem examination that enry wound was on the chest and exit wound was on the back. The evidence of eyewitness was supported by the doctor who issued injury certificate soon after examining the deceased. Circumstances indicated that the doctor who performed the post-mortem was helping the accused who was compounder in the a government hospital. The Supreme Court held that there really was no inconsistency between ocular evidence and medical evidence, and medical evidence of the doctor who performed the post-mortem was not giving truthful evidence for reason of interedtedness with the accused.

In Maghar Singh v. State of Punjab,[4] the medical officer stated that the injuries found on the body of the deceased could be the result of either two shots or even more than two shots, but the evidence of eyewitness clearly showed that there were two shots. The Supreme Court held that there was no inconsistency between the medical witness and the ocular evidence and the inconsistency deposed by the medical officer was merely a probability and it was not fatal to the prosecution case.

Thus, if direct evidence is satisfactory and reliable, the same cannot be rejected on hypothetical medical evidence.[5]

[1] Karnail Singh v. State of Punjab, AIR 1971 SC 2119

[2] Dason v. State of Kerala, 1987 CrLJ 180, 185 (Ker) (DB)

[3] (1998) 6 SCC 439

[4] (1987) 6 SCC 642

[5] Punjab Singh v. State of Haryana, 1984 Cr LJ 921 (SC)

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