If there is concurrent finding of facts by lower court and High court in a case, the Supreme Court considers the reappraisal or reappreciation of case in following circumstances-

(1) that the finding is based on no evidence or

(2) that the finding is perverse, it being such as no reasonable person could have arrived at even if the evidence was taken at its face value or

(3) the finding is based and built on inadmissible evidence, which evidence, if excluded from vision, would negate the prosecution case or substantially discredit or impair it or

(4) some vital piece of evidence which would tilt the balance in favour of the convict has been overlooked, disregarded, or wrongly discarded.

The Reasons

In the case of ‘Bharwada Bhoginbhai Hirjibhai v. State of Gujrat (1983)’, the Supreme Court pointed out the reasons why Supreme Court doesn’t consider it appropriate or permissible to enter upon a reappraisal or reappreciation of the evidence in the context of minor discrepancies.

The reasons are following-

(1) By and large a witness cannot be expected to possess a photographic memory and to recall the details of an incident. It is not as if a video tape is replayed on the mental screen.

(2) ordinarily it so happens that a witness is overtaken by events. The witness could not have anticipated the occurrence which so often has an element of surprise. The mental faculties therefore cannot be expected to be attuned to absorb the details.

(3) The powers of observation differ from person to person. What one may notice, another may not. An object or movement might emboss its image on one person’s mind whereas it might go unnoticed on the part of another.

(4) By and large people cannot accurately recall a conversation and reproduce the very words used by them or heard by them. They can only recall the main purport of the conversation. It is unrealistic to expect a witness to be a human tape recorder.

(5) In regard to exact time of an incident, or the time duration of an occurrence, usually, people make their estimates by guess work on the spur of the moment at the time of interrogation. And one cannot expect people to make very precise or reliable estimates in such matters. Again, it depends on the time- sense of individuals which varies from person to person.

(6) Ordinarily a witness cannot be expected to recall accurately the sequence of events which take place in rapid succession or in a short time span. A witness is liable to get confused, or mixed up when interrogated later on.

(7) A witness, though wholly truthful, is liable to be overawed by the court atmosphere and the piercing cross examination made by counsel and out of nervousness mix up facts, get confused regarding sequence of events, or fill up details from imagination on the spur of the moment.

The sub-conscious mind of the witness sometimes so operates on account of the fear of looking foolish or being disbelieved though the witness is giving a truthful and honest account of the occurrence witnessed by him-Perhaps it is a sort of a psychological defence mechanism activated on the spur of the moment.

In that case, the court also said that discrepancies which do not go to the root of the matter and shake the basic version of the witnesses therefore cannot be annexed with undue importance. More so when the all-important “probabilities-factor” echoes in favour of the version narrated by the witnesses.