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Credible eyewitness account will gain prominence over medical report: Punjab and Haryana HC

The court made the observation while dismissing the appeals of four convicts who had been sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder of a Haryana native, Satyavan.

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Credible eyewitness account will gain prominence over medical report: Punjab and Haryana HC
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Dismissing the appeals of four people against the murder conviction, the Punjab and Haryana High Court on January 18 held that in case of any contradiction between the medical account and the eyewitness account, “the credible eye witness account is to be assigned preponderance and precedence over the medical account.”

The HC division bench of Justice Sureshwar Thakur, and Justice Kuldeep Tiwari, heard the appeals filed by Subhash and others, against the conviction order in a case pronounced in March 2013, wherein the four convicts had been sentenced life imprisonment for murder of a Haryana native Satyavan.

The case was registered against the four, on the complaint of Dharampal, father of Satyavan, a native of Hisar who had told the police that he and Subhash and his relatives, had been at loggerheads over a land dispute, and during a verbal duel Subhash had threatened him with dire consequences.

Dharampal had alleged that later on October 25, 2009, while he was on his way to his fields at Pabra and his son Satyavan was going at a distance in front of him, a car crossed raced past him and hit Satyavan on his back in his presence.

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Subhash who was at the wheel ran over Satyawan with the help of other accused, he alleged. A FIR was registered for murder, and later during the trial, the trial court of Hisar held the four people guilty of the murder of Satyavan.

DharampalAn was represented by senior advocate Sumeet Goyal, advocates Rose Gupta, Shivam Kaushik, and Paramvir Parmar, at the high court.

Subash and others thus challenged the conviction order before the HC. The counsels for the accused argued that there was an improvement in the statement of Dharampal, from his previously made statement in writing, and thus the genesis of the prosecution case, becomes doubtful and also that no valid foundation is made by the prosecution to incriminate the accused.


The fatal injuries, sustained by Satyawan, were attributable to Subhash rather suddenly applying the brakes of the Tata Sumo vehicle, hence for obviating the offending vehicle colliding with Satyawan, the counsel for the accused argued.

The Bench, after hearing the matter, said that “even if in his cross-examination Dharampal, did in the above manner rather minimally improve or embellish upon his previously made statement in writing, the said purported improvement or embellishment, does not cast any doubt or any impact upon the credibility of Dharampal, especially when in his examination-in-chief, rather he makes a pointed incrimination against all the accused, inasmuch as, all being available at the crime site.”

Meanwhile, Dr Vishal Goyal, who made an autopsy on the body of Satyawan, in his deposition stated that the cause of death was hemorrhage and shock owing to injuries on vital organs, which were ante mortem in nature and sufficient to cause death in the ordinary course of life, besides, in his examination-in-chief he has deposed that there could be a possibility that the deceased was lying on the road having faced towards the road, and, that some vehicle had crossed over his body. However, he has further deposed that the possibility of the death of the deceased for the above-said reason was very remote.


The HC said that the “opinion regarding the possibility of death of the deceased while lying on the road having faced towards the road, and, some vehicle crossing over his body, though has been pronounced to be remote by Dr Vishal Goyal…but the proven incrimination as made by Dharampal, an ocular witness to the occurrence, about all the accused being available at the crime site.”

Further an admission by the main accused Subhash that he was present at the crime site, “in as much as, his making an unsuccessful attempt to save deceased Satyavan, from his being brought under the wheels of Tata Sumo vehicle, which he was driving at the relevant time, rather does connect the convicts, with the pulverizing of the deceased under the wheels of the Tata Sumo vehicle”, the court said.

The HC, while dismissing the appeals of convicts, also dismissed another appeal by complainant Dharampal against the acquittal of another accused Vikas from the charges.

First published on: 24-01-2023 at 21:41 IST
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