RULING THAT there is no law that a hostile witness’s statement is to be discarded entirely, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has upheld the life sentence awarded to a Rohtak man for murdering his daughter in 2010. The victim was killed after her father found her talking to a friend on phone.
In October 2010, police registered a case on the basis of a statement by the victim’s mother that her daughter was murdered and raped by an unknown person in a room on the upper floor of the house. However, the charge of rape was removed as the claim was found to be false. According to police, it was later found that the victim had been strangulated by her father and her body was thrown from the roof.
Most witnesses turned hostile during the trial. According to a statement given by the victim’s friend, with whom she was speaking over phone on the night of the murder, they had spoken for an hour till the phone was disconnected due to arrival of the girl’s father. The friend was also declared hostile as he did not fully support the prosecution’s version.
The mother of the victim had initially given a statement that she came to know about her daughter’s murder only the next morning when she did not find in her room. She had also said that she did not know who had killed her and that in the morning, her husband had left for work in Delhi. Hence, she was declared hostile.
Moreover, in a supplementary statement, she had also said that her husband had found the daughter talking on phone on October 17, 2010. “Her daughter insisted that she would marry that boy. Her husband became angry. In order to save the honour in society, he had murdered her,” the woman is said to have revealed, according to the court order. The order further said that she also submitted that she had earlier mistakenly said her daughter was raped. She denied the supplementary statement as well.
Observing that there was “no occasion” for the victim’s mother to falsely implicate her husband and that it was on record that the victim had spoken to her friend on phone prior to her murder, the division bench said the mother’s initial statement, that her husband had left for work to Delhi, cannot be believed as she had claimed that her daughter was missing that morning.
“In case (an) unknown person entered the house, there would have been commotion. The girl would have raised an larm after seeing the stranger. It is also stated in the statement…on the basis of which FIR was registered that her (other) daughter was also on the upper floor…,” said the order.