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The Supreme Court on 6 January held that the accused cannot claim of being falsely implicated simply on the fact that the prosecution did not examine any independent witness.

The bench headed by Justices NV Ramana, R Subhash Reddy and BR Gavai were hearing an appeal filed by Surinder Kumar, who was convicted by the Punjab and Haryana High Court for the offense punishable under Section 18 of Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act. In his appeal, the counsel appearing on behalf of Surinder stated that no independent witness was examined, despite the fact they were available. He argued that both the trial court, as well as the High court, has committed error in convicting the appellant as the conviction was solely based on the official witnesses and not any independent witnesses.

After hearing all the facts and contentions mentioned by the counsel appearing for Surinder, the SC referred to Jarnail Singh v. The State of Punjab and stated that “In the said judgment, this court has held that merely because the prosecution did not examine any independent witness, would not necessarily lead to a conclusion that the accused was falsely implicated. The evidence of official witnesses cannot be distrusted and disbelieved, merely on the account of their official status.”

The bench further held that “From the evidence on record, in this case, the prosecution has proved the guilt of the appellant beyond a reasonable doubt. The conviction recorded and the sentence imposed conforms with the provisions of law and evidence on record, thus no interference is called for. Accordingly, this appeal is devoid of merits, and the same is dismissed.”

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