Can't Judge Credibility on Statement Made Outside, Says Court as FIR Sought Against Nirbhaya Witness


New Delhi: A Delhi court while hearing an application in connection with the Nirbhaya gang rape and murder case observed that the "credibility of a witness cannot be judged from what he or she says outside the court".

"Witnesses record statements under oath, what they say outside the courtroom cannot raise a question on their credibility as a witness," said Metropolitan Magistrate Sudhir Kumar Sirohi while hearing an application filed by advocate AP Singh on behalf of the father of one of the four death-row convicts in the 2012 Nirbhaya gang rape and murder case seeking an FIR against the sole witness in the case.

Coming down heavily on the complainant's counsel, the court questioned, "What cognisable offence is made out in your complaint?"

On the next date of hearing, i.e. December 20, the court will decide on the maintainability of the plea. The complainant has alleged that the sole witness gave interviews to various news channels after charging money, claiming it affected the case by "resulting into a media trial".

The sole eye-witness who is the friend of 23-year-old victim, was accompanying her in the bus when the gruesome incident took place and he had also sustained injuries.

The complaint, filed by Heera Lal Gupta, father of Pawan Kumar Gupta, cited some recent media reports which alleged that witness charged money to appear for interviews on various news channels, advocate AP Singh said.

"This calls for independent investigation into the perjury that appears to have been committed by him (witness), being the sole witness, his testimony has strongly influenced the outcome of the case which led to the imposition of death penalty of the accused," the complaint said.

While citing the media reports, advocate A.P. Singh stated, "On the basis of said facts and circumstances, it is clear that the conduct of him clearly shows that his testimony was false and fabricated... This goes to the root of his testimony and if established would show that the testimony is infact false."

A 23-year-old woman was gangraped and tortured on December 16, 2012, which led to her death. All the six accused were arrested and charged with sexual assault and murder. One of the accused was a minor and appeared before a juvenile justice court, while another accused committed suicide in Tihar Jail.

Four of the convicts were sentenced to death by a trial court in September 2013, and the verdict confirmed by the Delhi High Court in March 2014 and upheld by the Supreme Court in May 2017, which also dismissed their review petition in July 2018.