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Crl.AppealNo.2295-2296of2010

Crl.AppealNo.2295-2296of2010

Crl.A.Nos.2295-2296 of 2010 -152-“an accomplice shall be a competent witnessagainst an accused person; and a conviction isnot illegal merely because it proceeds uponthe uncorroborated testimony of an accomplice.”Both the courts below have placed extensive relianceupon the evidence of accomplices, PW-50, PW-51 and PW-52 to establish the culpability of the accused.However, one needs to understand the extent ofadmissibility of such evidence. But prior to that, wealso need to emphasize upon the reliability of theevidence given by an accomplice. It has been held bythis court in the case of Haroom Haji Abdulla v. Stateof Maharashtra 48as under:“8. ...... The Evidence Act in Section 133provides that an accomplice is a competentwitness against an accused person and that aconviction is not illegal merely because itproceeds upon the uncorroborated testimony ofan accomplice. The effect of this provision isthat the court trying an accused may legallyconvict him on the single evidence, of anaccomplice. To this there is a rider in48 AIR 1968 SC 832

Crl.A.Nos.2295-2296 of 2010 -153-Illustration (b) to Section 114 of the Actwhich provides that the Court may presume thatan accomplice is unworthy of credit unless heis corroborated in material particulars. Thiscautionary provision incorporates a rule ofprudence because an accomplice, who betrays hisassociates, is not a fair witness and it ispossible that he may, to please theprosecution, weave false details into thosewhich are true and his whole story appearingtrue, there may be no means at hand to severthe false from that which is true. It is forthis reason that courts, before they act onaccomplice evidence, insist on corroboration inmaterial respects as to the offence itself andalso implicating in some satisfactory way,however small, each accused named by theaccomplice. In this way the commission of theoffence is confirmed by some competent evidenceother than the single or unconfirmed testimonyof the accomplice and the inclusion by theaccomplice of an innocent person is defeated.This rule of caution or prudence has become soingrained in the consideration of accompliceevidence as to have almost the standing of arule of law.9. The argument here is that the cautionaryrule applies, whether there be one accompliceor more and that the confessing co-accusedcannot be placed higher than an accomplice.Therefore, unless there is some evidencebesides these implicating the accused in somematerial respect, conviction cannot stand.Reliance is placed in this connection upon theobservations of the Judicial Committee inBhuboni Sahu v. Emperor a case in which aconviction was founded upon the evidence of anaccomplice supported only by the confession of

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