No presumption exists for Police Officers to be Liars

Delhi High Court: In the conjoint appeals concerning the seizure of large quantity of charas from the two appellants in a raid conducted by the Delhi Police, a Single Bench of Gupta J. made a slew of observations while dismissing both the appeals and upholding the judgment of the Trial Court charging the appellants under Section 20 of the NDPS Act, 1985 with 10 years of rigorous imprisonment and a fine of Rs. 1 lakh each.

The police had received secret information that two persons Rajiv and Rajveer, both residents of Bhiwani, Haryana were coming near Ghevara Mor to supply huge quantity of charas to someone. Upon the receipt of this information, police mobilised a raiding party and apprehended the appellants on the spot with their heavy loads of charas. The Trial Court convicted and sentenced them on appreciation of evidence on record under Section 20 of the NDPS Act. The appellants represented by Narender Sharma and Habibur Rehman argued that no effort was made by the police to join independent persons in the investigation and that no eye witness or public witness was presented for recovery of the contraband from the appellants. Further arguing, the appellants claimed that there was inordinate delay in the registration of FIR and that the Trial Court failed to acknowledge the contradictions in the deposition of the witnesses regarding the test of the seized charas. However, observing to the contrary, the Court noted that the testimonies tendered by various witnesses stood corroborated with one another and that the case of the prosecution could not be disbelieved merely on the ground of non-joining of public witnesses if the deposition of the police witnesses were convincing and credible. Furthermore, the Court noted that the appellants did not allege any animosity or grudge against any of the police officials for which they would be falsely implicated in the case.

Noting the disinterest of people in joining the investigation as highlighted by the prosecution, Court expressed its dismay towards the attitude of the courts of sending witnesses back, which causes harassment to them and discourages them from associating in the investigation of any case. Court also averred that the presumption of honesty is as much available to a police officer as it is available to any other official witness, and that no presumption exists for the police officials to be considered liars. Dismissing the appeals, Court refused to interfere with the Trial Court’s judgment in any manner. [Rajveer Millar v. State,  2016 SCC OnLine Del 1880  decided on 28/03/2016]

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