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Punjab & Haryana HC: ‘Witness Not Expected to Have Photographic Memory, Variations in Facts/Improvements Natural in Depositions’

The Punjab and Haryana High Court has asserted that in a criminal case, “one cannot be expected to have an eidetic/photographic memory” and that “slight changes in the facts or alleged improvements are bound to happen, being natural…. Natural variations do happen and such depositions are considered and relied upon by the courts after its careful analysis”, observed Justice Anil Ksheterpal. The Single Bench made the remarks while dismissing the appeal by two convicts – a woman and her brother-in-law (sister’s husband) – for sexually harassing her own underage daughter. The woman, who was living in separation from her husband, had illicit relations with the co-convict, who had also attempted to sexually exploit her daughter. The woman always sided with her brother-in-law when he tried to molest her daughter, even thrashing the daughter whenever she complained about it. Before the High Court, it was the appellant’s main case that there have been significant improvements in the depositions of the prosecutrix from the time of the FIR, then in her statements under section 164, Cr. P. C., and finally when examined in court.

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