Case Summary: Bhagwan Singh v. The State of Haryana

Author: Ishita Arora

Case Name: Bhagwan Singh v. The State of Haryana

Citation: 1976 AIR 202, 1976 SCR (2) 921

Bench:  Justice P.K. Goswami, Justice P.N. Bhagwati and Justice N.L. Untwalia.


In the present case, a special leave petition under Article 136 of the Constitution of India by the appellant against the order of conviction and sentence made by the High Court. In this case, the witness was declared hostile. The appellant was convicted under section 165A IPC and he contended that as the victim has been declared hostile the whole case has been destroyed. However, the court held that there is no legal bar to base a conviction upon his testimony if there are other reliable evidences.

Facts of the case

The facts of the case state that the appellant is a CID police constable and Jagat Singh (PW – 1) is a head constable. The appellant with a view to help the accused in a case to get an acquittal as well as get back the seized coins approached a Jagat Singh who was in charge of an investigation of this case under section 411 of IPC to substitute the seized gold coins with different markings and for doing this he was offered a bribe of Rs. 1,000.  However, the constable reported the matter to the DSP and as per the orders the raiding party arrested the appellant and the other accused in a hotel and also recovered from him the gold coins of different markings. The currency notes of Rs. 1000 which were with the head constable were also recovered. The special judge and the High Court convicted appellant and sentenced him to Rigorous Imprisonment for one year.

Issues and facts of law
  1. Whether the appellant can escape conviction using the defence that the witness was declared hostile?

The court observed that just because the court allowed the Prosecutor to cross examine his own witness, thus characterizing him as a hostile witness, does not completely efface his evidence. The evidence remains admissible in the trial and there is no legal bar to base a conviction upon his testimony if it can be proved by other evidences. Moreover, recovery of the gold coins from appellant also proves charge against the appellant. If PW-1 had accepted the bribe he would have been guilty under section 161 IPC.

 Hence, the appeal was dismissed. The Court held that there is clear abetment by the appellant of the offence mentioned under section 161 IPC and the essential elements of section 165A IPC are established against him. The court upheld the order of conviction and sentence made by High Court.