Criminal Cases – Delay in lodging Report

In criminal trial one of the cardinal principles for the Court is to look for plausible explanation for the delay in lodging the report. Delay sometimes affords opportunity to the complainant to make deliberation upon the complaint and to make embellishment or even make fabrications. Delay defeats the chance of the unsoiled and untarnished version of the case to be presented before the Court at the earliest instance.

That is why if there is delay in either coming before the police or before the Court, the Courts always view the allegations with suspicion and look for satisfactory explanation. If no such satisfaction is formed, the delay is treated as fatal to the prosecution case.

In Thulia Kali v. The State of Tamil Nadu (AIR 1973 SC 501), it was held that the delay in lodging the first information report quite often results in embellishment as a result of afterthought. On account of delay, the report not only gets bereft of the advantage of spontaneity, but also danger creeps in of the introduction of coloured version, exaggerated account or concocted story as a result of deliberation and consultation.

In Ram Jag and others v. The State of U.P. (AIR 1974 SC 606) the position was explained that whether the delay is so long as to throw a cloud of suspicion on the seeds of the prosecution case must depend upon a variety of factors which would vary from case to case. Even a long delay can be condoned if the witnesses have no motive for implicating the accused and/or when plausible explanation is offered for the same. On the other hand, prompt filing of the report is not an unmistakable guarantee of the truthfulness or authenticity of the version of the prosecution.

Source: Supreme Court cases

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