SC: Absence of motive is irrelevant when clear & cogent evidence present.

Today, i.e. on 27 th November, 2018, the Hon’ble Apex Court in the matter of Palani v. State of Tamil Nadu, pronounced that when other evidence against the accused is clear and cogent, absence of motive or insufficiency of motive is of no importance. It was also observed that even a long delay in registration of FIR can be condoned if the witness has no motive for falsely implicating the accused.

The Hon’ble Supreme Court observed that:

As per the alleged variance between the medical and ocular evidence concerned, it is well-settled that oral evidence has to get primacy and the medical evidence is basically opinionative and that the medical evidence states that the injury could have been caused in the manner alleged and nothing more. The testimony of the eye witness cannot be thrown out on the ground of inconsistency. (Para 14)

When the opinion given is not inconsistent with the probability of the case, the court cannot discard the credible direct evidence otherwise the administration of justice is to depend on the opinionative evidence of medical expert. The medical jurisprudence is not an exact science with precision; but merely opinionative. (Para 14)

Delay in setting the law into motion by lodging the complaint is normally viewed by the courts in suspicion because there is possibility of concoction of evidence against the accused. In such cases, it becomes necessary for the prosecution to satisfactorily explain the delay in registration of FIR. But there may be cases where the delay in registration of FIR is inevitable and the same has to be considered. Even a long delay can be condoned if the witness has no motive for falsely implicating the accused. (Para 18)

Where the case of the prosecution is based on the evidence of eye witnesses, the existence or non-existence of motive, sufficiency or insufficiency of motive will not play such a major role as in the case which is based on circumstantial evidence. If the prosecution is able to prove its case or motive, it will be a corroborative piece of evidence; but if the prosecution had not been able to prove its case or motive or the motive suggested is too slender, that will not be a ground to doubt the prosecution case. When other evidence against the accused is clear and cogent, absence of motive or insufficiency of motive is of no importance. (Para 20)

Copy of judgement : Judgement 27-Nov-2018

-Tushar Kaushik

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