Srinagar, Sept 26: Upholding the sentence of trial court in convicting the militant, the High Court of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh ruled that relationship is not a factor to affect the credibility of the witnesses as the relative would not conceal the actual culprit and make the allegations against an innocent person.
A division bench of Justices Ali Mohammad Magrey and M.A Chowdhary upheld the sentence of alleged militant Farooq Ahmad who was convicted by the court of Sessions Judge Bhaderwah on March 25, 2015 for murder of surrendered militant, Aijaz Ahamd and attempt to murder of his brother, Arshad Ahamad punishable under Section 302 and 307 RPC respectively.
The court noted that the trial court has relied upon the statements of eye-witnesses and rightly so, as the evidence of eye-witnesses cannot be discarded merely on the ground that they are relatives of the deceased, as in a normal course close relatives of the deceased are not likely to implicate a person falsely in the incident leading to the death of the relative unless there are very strong and cogent reasons to accept such criticism.
"The eye-witnesses, in the case on hand, were the father, mother and brothers of the deceased and it is not acceptable that such a close relation would falsely implicate an innocent person to cover-up the real culprit," the bench said, adding, "Relationship is not a factor to affect the credibility of the witnesses as the relative would not conceal the actual culprit and make the allegations against an innocent person."
The court held that foundation has to be laid if the plea of false implication is made.
"In those cases, the court has to adopt a careful approach and analyze the evidence to find out whether it is cogent and credible," the court ruled.
However, the bench pointed out that no such foundation was laid at any stage of the trial by the accused.
The court held that the trial court has, thus, rightly rejected the plea that the witnesses being the close relatives and consequently are partisan witnesses and should not be relied upon.
The bench held that the trial court has rightly connected the accused with the commission of offences, of which he was charged under Section 302 RPC/307 RPC and acquitted him of other charges particularly the offence under Section 7/27 of Arms Act, in view of the fact that the weapon of offence was not recovered.
The bench recorded that the trial court, after scanning and marshalling the evidence brought on record minutely and apt appreciation, has passed a very reasoned judgment and the appellant-accused has failed to point out anything that could be fatal to the prosecution case.
"In our opinion the impugned judgment / order does not call for any interference while exercising appellate jurisdiction," the bench said while dismissing the appeal.
As per the prosecution, on October, 19, 2000, the petitioner along-with other militants barged into the house of the deceased and the injured at Basti Bhaderwah and fired at them with prohibited arms/ammunition as a result of which deceased Aijaz Ahmed died on spot, whileas his brother Arshad Ahmed got injured and the accused along-with others escaped.
It stated that the deceased Aijaz Ahmed @ Bita was a surrendered militant of banned militant outfit HM who was being pressurized by the active militants of the aforesaid outfit to again come back to their fold which was refused by the deceased.
"Having felt insulted by the refusal of the deceased, the accused persons struck into the house of the victims on the fateful day and killed the deceased Aijaz Ahmed by firing indiscriminately upon him and in the same incident caused serious injuries to his brother Arshad Ahmed," it stated.
The accused, Farooq Ahmad was sentenced by the trial court to rigorous imprisonment for life and fine of Rs.50,000 and in case of default of payment of fine he was ordered for further simple imprisonment of one year.
Besides that, the accused was sentenced to undergo rigorous imprisonment for five years and a fine of Rs.5000 under Section 307 RPC and in default of payment of fine he was ordered for further simple imprisonment for a period of six months. The sentences were ordered to run concurrently.