While acquitting a person who was sentenced to seven years rigorous imprisonment on a charge of robbery, the Madras High Court has said that in a criminal trial, the FIR had its own importance for a just decision of the case.

Citing Supreme Court judgments, Justice M.Venugopal said the importance of the FIR, the earliest version of an occurrence, could not be lost sight of. When the document was extremely suspicious, its credibility would be damaged considerably. The FIR was not substantive evidence. However, it could be used as a previous statement for the purpose of corroboration or contradiction of its maker under the Evidence Act.

He was passing judgment on an appeal by one Vijay alias Venkatesan. The prosecution case was that Vijay threatened one Raji with a knife on Walaja Dam Road on May 18, 2007 and removed a half-a-sovereign ring from him. The victim sustained a simple injury on his hand while trying to ward off Vijay. Also, the accused threatened two others who came to the victim’s rescue and damaged aerated water bottles in a shop.

On October 31, 2007, the Additional District and Sessions Judge cum Fast Track Court No.2, Ranipet, Vellore district, sentenced the accused to seven years RI under Section 397 (Robbery or dacoity, with attempt to cause death or grievous hurt) and one month RI under 427 (Mischief causing damage to the amount of fifty rupees) IPC.

The convicted person filed an appeal.

Mr.Justice Venugopal said the victim himself had clearly stated before the trial court that he was beaten by an unknown person. On examination, the doctor had found that there were ‘no external injuries’ and as a result of the beating, he had swelling on the hand. Thus, the victim had given a clear go by to his version in the complaint that he was robbed by a person who brandished a knife and threatened him.

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