In order to corroborate the testimony of a witness, any former statement made by such witness relating to the same fact, at or about the time when the fact took place, or before any authority legally competent to investigate the fact, may be proved
Single bench judge of Bombay High Court held as follows, while acquitting a husband from the allegations of strangulating his wife.
From Para 16,
Rahim Pathan Vs State of Maharastra on 04 Jun 2019
16. Perusal of aforesaid findings reflect that the learned Sessions Judge kept implicit reliance on the evidence of PW-2 Sayed Bandeali as well as recitals of the FIR, scribed by PW-9 Gauri More to arrive at the conclusion of guilt of the accused. The approach of learned Sessions Judge appears superficial and erroneous one. He drawn the conclusion that the death of victim was custodial death and it was imperative for the accused husband to explain how the deceased Rubina died. It reveals that the learned Sessions Judge overlooked or glossed over serious legal infirmities in this case. It was fallacious to appreciate that the shop of accused was located at a distance of 3. k.m. from his residential house. Therefore, there was ample opportunity for him to visit to the house from his shop for committing crime. This sort of speculative findings rests on assumption is totally impermissible and inadmissible in law. There is no evidence available on record about the last scene together of the accused in the company of deceased wife Rubina at the relevant time. In contrast, kith and kin of Rubina turned hostile and refused to cast aspersion on the appellant-accused for her homicidal death.
Other Sources :
Lot of legal points explained with respect to the statements given by witnesses in Court in this landmark decision by a Division bench of Apex Court.
From Para 13,
13. Clause (iv) of Section 207 Cr.P.C. clearly provides that any statement recorded under Section 164 Cr.P.C., shall be made available to the accused along with all the other documents that have been filed along with the charge sheet.
From Para 14,
14. Evidence given in a court under oath has great sanctity, which is why the same is called substantive evidence. Statements under Section 161 Cr.P.C. can be used only for the purpose of contradiction and statements under Section 164 Cr.P.C. can be used for both corroboration and contradiction. In a case where the magistrate has to perform the duty of recording a statement under Section 164 Cr.P.C., he is under an obligation to elicit all information which the witness wishes to disclose, as a witness who may be an illiterate, rustic villager may not be aware of the purpose for which he has been brought, and what he must disclose in his statements under Section 164 Cr.P.C. Hence, the magistrate should ask the witness explanatory questions and obtain all possible information in relation to the said case.
From Para 15,
15. So far as the statement of witnesses recorded under Section 164 is concerned, the object is two fold; in the first place, to deter the witness from changing his stand by denying the contents of his previously recorded statement, and secondly, to tide over immunity from prosecution by the witness under Section 164. A proposition to the effect that if a statement of a witness is recorded under Section 164, his evidence in Court should be discarded, is not at all warranted.
From Para 16,
R.Shaji Vs State of Kerala on 4 Feb 2013
16. Section 157 of the Evidence Act makes it clear that a statement recorded under Section 164 Cr.P.C., can be relied upon for the purpose of corroborating statements made by witnesses in the Committal Court or even to contradict the same. As the defence had no opportunity to cross-examine the witnesses whose statements are recorded under Section 164 Cr.P.C., such statements cannot be treated as substantive evidence.
During the investigation, the Police Officer may sometimes feel that it is expedient to record the statement of a witness under Section 164 Cr.P.C. This usually happens when the witnesses to a crime are clearly connected to the accused, or where the accused is very influential, owing to which the witnesses may be influenced.
Citations : [2013 AIR SC 651], [2013 ALD CRI 2 153], [2013 CRIMES SC 1 217], [2013 JLJR 1 499], [2013 JT SC 2 447], [2013 KLJ 1 620], [2013 KERLT 1 493], [2013 PLJR 2 145], [2013 SCALE 2 186], [2013 SCC 14 266], [2013 SCR 3 1172], [2013 UC 1 673], [2014 SCC CRI 4 185], [2013 SCC ONLINE SC 114], [2013 SLT 1 705], [2013 SUPREME 1 545], [2013 AIOL 72], [2013 AIR SC 1095], [2013 CCR 1 494], [2013 KCCR SN 3 220], [2013 RAJ 1 435], [2013 RCR CRIMINAL SC 1 964], [2013 AIR SCW 1095], [2013 ALLMR CRI SC 1469]
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