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Allahabad HC: Genuineness of any document, if remains undisputed by the opposite party, can be read as Substantive Evidence

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The basic question raised in this case was that a post-mortem report be read as substantive evidence to prove the correctness of its contents without the doctor concerned being examined?

Facts of the Case

A written report was submitted by Smt Kartari (Informant/P.W.-1) at Police Station wherein she alleged that she was living with her maternal uncle Ramchand’s house and was an eye witness to the incident of Ramadevi’s death and reported that Ram Chand had transferred the house and 11-12 bighas of land to Rama Devi (accused’s stepmother). After the death of Ram Chand, Rama Devi wanted to get her name mutated in the land and the share in the land segregated to which Bijendra didn’t agree upon. Rama Devi gave no heed to Bijendra’s advice. So on a fateful night, the accused Bijendra Singh along with his wife Khajani (co-accused) had brutally murdered his step-mother Ram Devi (deceased) by inflicting blows at deceased’s naval and an unknown person was holding her head and Bijendra’s wife Khajani (co accused-appellant no. 2) was holding her legs.

The police submitted charge-sheet only against the appellants Bijendra and Smt Khazani under Sections 302/34 IPC. The third unknown accused of the F.I.R. could not be traced out by the police. In appeal counsel for the appellants at the first instance submitted that the doctor, who conducted the postmortem examination of the deceased Smt. Ram Devi, was not examined in the court, though the same has been marked as exhibit by the court. Such a procedure adopted by the trial court could not be approved, as the contents of the postmortem report could not be admitted under Section 294 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, unless, the same was duly proved by the doctor, who had prepared the same.

Court’s Decision

To this, the court said that non-examination of the concerned medical officers is fatal for the prosecution. However, there is no denial of the fact that the defence admitted the genuineness of the injury reports and the post mortem examination reports before the trial court. So the genuineness and authenticity of the documents stands proved and shall be treated as valid evidence under Section 294 of the CrPC. It is settled position of law that if the genuineness of any document filed by a party is not disputed by the opposite party it can be read as substantive evidence under sub-Section (3) of Section 294 CrPC. Accordingly, the post-mortem report, if its genuineness is not disputed by the opposite party, the said post-mortem report can be read as substantive evidence to prove the correctness of its contents without the doctor concerned being examined.

Further, the court was of the view that on the cumulative evaluation of the evidence on record and testing the prosecution evidence on the anvil of probabilities, the prosecution has failed to establish the guilt of the appellants beyond all reasonable doubts and as such the appellants are entitled to get the benefit of the doubt. The appeal was therefore allowed, setting aside the order of conviction and acquitted them of their charges.

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