New Delhi: It is the quality and not the quantity of evidence which is required for conviction that can even be based on the testimony of a sole eyewitness, the Supreme Court has said.
"In the matter of appreciation of evidence of witnesses, it is not the number of witnesses but quality of their evidence which is important, as there is no requirement under the Law of Evidence that any particular number of witnesses is to be examined to prove/disprove a fact," a bench of justices BS Chauhan and SA Bobde said.
"It is a time-honoured principle that evidence must be weighed and not counted. The test is whether the evidence has a ring of truth, is cogent, credible and trustworthy or otherwise," it said.
The court said that the legal system has laid emphasis on value provided by each witness, rather than the multiplicity or plurality of witnesses.
"It is quality and not quantity, which determines the adequacy of evidence as has been provided by Section 134 of the Evidence Act.
"Even in probate cases, where the law requires the examination of at least one attesting witness, it has been held that production of more witnesses does not carry any weight.
Thus, conviction can even be based on the testimony of a sole eyewitness, if the same inspires confidence," the bench said.
It passed the order on a appeal filed by a Bihar resident who had approached the apex court challenging his conviction and sentence of life imprisonment in a murder case.
The apex court dismissed the appeal, saying that there was no infirmity in the orders of the trial court and Patna High Court.