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evidence_law:guiding_principle_for_dealing_with_expert_opinion_dayal_singh_case_1924212019

Guiding principle for dealing with expert opinion – Dayal Singh Case

Court Supreme Court of India
Bench Swatanter Kumar; F. M. Ibrahim Kalifulla, JJ.
Parties Dayal Singh and Others v. State of Uttaranchal
Citation AIR 2012 SC 3046
CaseNo Crl. A. No. 529 of 2010
Date 03/08/2012

Expert evidence vs Eye witness

Evidence Act, 1872 : S.45, S.3

Where eyewitness account is found credible and trustworthy, medical opinion pointing to alternative possibilities may not be accepted as conclusive. If the view of the expert has to find due weightage in the mind of the Court, it has to be well authored and convincing.

Where the eye-witness account is found credible and trustworthy, medical opinion pointing to alternative possibilities may not be accepted as conclusive. The expert witness is expected to put before the Court all materials inclusive of the data which induced him to come to the conclusion and enlighten the Court on the technical aspect of the case by examining the terms of science, so that the Court, although not an expert, may form its own judgment on those materials after giving due regard to the expert's opinion, because once the expert opinion is accepted, it is not the opinion of the medical officer but that of the Court. The Indian law on Expert Evidence does not proceed on any significantly different footing. The skill and experience of an expert is the ethos of his opinion, which itself should be reasoned and convincing. Not to say that no other view would be possible, but if the view of the expert has to find due weightage in the mind of the Court, it has to be well authored and convincing.

Criminal Trial : Evidence Act, 1872, S.59, S.60

An eyewitness version cannot be discarded by the Court merely on the ground that such eyewitness happened to be a relation or friend of the deceased

An eye-witness version cannot be discarded by the Court merely on the ground that such eyewitness happened to be a relation or friend of the deceased. The concept of interested witness essentially must carry with it the element of unfairness and undue intention to falsely implicate the accused. It is only when these elements are present, and statement of the witness is unworthy of credence that the Court would examine the possibility of discarding such statements. But where the presence of the eye-witnesses is proved to be natural and their statements are nothing but truthful disclosure of actual facts leading to the occurrence and the occurrence itself, it will not be permissible for the Court to discard the statements of such related or friendly witness.

Purpose of an expert opinion

Purpose of an expert opinion is primarily to assist the Court in arriving at a final conclusion. Such report is not binding upon the Court

The purpose of an expert opinion is primarily to assist the Court in arriving at a final conclusion. Such report is not binding upon the Court. The Court is expected to analyse the report, read it in conjunction with the other evidence on record and then form its final opinion as to whether such report is worthy of reliance or not. Just to illustrate this point of view, in a given case, there may be two diametrically contradictory opinions of handwriting experts and both the opinions may be well reasoned. In such case, the Court has to critically examine the basis, reasoning, approach and experience of the expert to come to a conclusion as to which of the two reports can be safely relied upon by the Court. The assistance and value of expert opinion is indisputable, but there can be reports which are, ex facie, incorrect or deliberately so distorted as to render the entire prosecution case unbelievable. But if such eye-witnesses and other prosecution evidence are trustworthy, have credence and are consistent with the eye version given by the eye-witnesses, the Court will be well within its jurisdiction to discard the expert opinion. An expert report, duly proved, has its evidentiary value but such appreciation has to be within the limitations prescribed and with careful examination by the Court. A complete contradiction or inconsistency between the medical evidence and the ocular evidence on the one hand and the statement of the prosecution witnesses between themselves on the other, may result in seriously denting the case of the prosecution in its entirety but not otherwise.


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Created on 2020/10/19 23:14 by • Last modified on 2021/02/09 14:26 by LawPage