‘Evidence of hostile witness can't be rejected’

New Delhi: Evidence of a hostile witness cannot be discarded as a whole and it can be accepted if it is found to be dependable after close scrutiny, the Supreme Court on Monday ruled.

"The law can be summarised to the effect that the evidence of a hostile witness cannot be discarded as a whole, and relevant parts thereof which are admissible in law, can be used by the prosecution or the defence," a bench of justices B S Chauhan and Dipak Misra said.

The bench said that it is the duty of courts to unravel the truth under all circumstances even when there is some exaggeration in the evidence of the prosecution witnesses.

"It is a settled legal proposition that the evidence of a prosecution witness cannot be rejected in toto merely because the prosecution chose to treat him as hostile and cross examine him. The evidence of such witnesses cannot be treated as effaced or washed off the record altogether but the same can be accepted to the extent that their version is found to be dependable on a careful scrutiny thereof," the bench said.

It said that evidence of hostile witness should be subjected to close scrutiny and that portion should be accepted which is consistent with the case of the prosecution or defence.