Expert Evidence – Indian Evidence Law

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Sri Chand Batra v. State of U.P.

Whether an Excise Inspector could be considered an expert whose opinion about the nature of a liquid found is opinion evidence admissible under Section 45 of the Evidence Act ?  The Court holds that Excise Inspector who had deposed at the very outset of his evidence that he had put in 21 years of  service as Excise Inspector and tested lacs of samples of liquor and illicit liquor, could be treated as an expert within the meaning of Section 45 of the Indian Evidence Act. Dismiss the appeal and affirm the conviction and sentence the appellant.

State of H.P. v. Jai Lal

In the year of 1983, a disease called ‘scab’ afflicted the apple orchards in different areas rendering the fruits unfit for human consumption. Feeling concerned about the heavy financial loss, keeping in view the danger to public health the scab affected apples were sold in markets, the state government took a policy decision to purchase the diseased fruits and destroy the same. In this operation about 3000 tons of scab affected apple were procured and destroyed at 195 centers set up for the purpose and @50 Rs. Per kilogram was paid to the concerned growers. Complaints of large scale misappropriation of government money were received. The government appointed Roop Singh Thakur then the Session Judge to examine the matter. The commission had concluded that some people had obtained false payments by showing inflated quantities of scabbed apple and had defrauded the government. Criminal charges were filed against the accused who denied the charges. The duty of an expert witness is to furnish the Judge with the necessary scientific criteria for testing the accuracy of the conclusions so as to enable the judge to form his independent judgment by the application of this criteria to the facts proved by the evidence of the case. The scientific opinion evidence, if intelligible, convincing and tested becomes a factor and often an important factor for consideration along with the other evidence of the case. The credibility of such a witness depends on the reasons stated in support of his conclusions and the data and materials furnished which form the basis of his conclusions.

High Court in not placing any reliance upon the evidence of an expert witness on the ground that his evidence was merely an opinion unsupported by any reasons. Further there is no evidence, direct or circumstantial, in support of the charge of conspiracy amongst the accused persons to cheat the State exchequer and with that object having entered inflated quantities of scabbed apple brought by the growers as already stated. the High Court was right in taking the view that the prosecution has failed to establish the charges against the accused persons and rightly acquitted them of the same.

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