Falsus in Uno, Falsus in Omnibus

“It is a well settled position of law, testimony of a witness cannot be discarded in toto merely due to presence of embellishments or exaggerations. Doctrine of ‘falsus in uno, falsus in omnibus’, which means ‘false in one thing, false in everything’ has been held to be inapplicable in Indian scenario, where tendency to exaggerate is common. This Court has endorsed inapplicability in several decisions… It is not uncommon for witnesses to make exaggerations during course of evidence. But merely because there are certain exaggerations, improvements and embellishments, entire prosecution story should not be doubted.

This Court in State of Punjab v. Hari Singh, (1974) 4 SCC 552 observed as follows:

As human testimony, resulting from widely different powers of observation and description, is necessarily faulty and even truthful witnesses not infrequently exaggerate or imagine or tell half truths, the Courts must try to extract and separate the hard core of truth from the whole evidence. This is what is meant by the proverbial saying that Courts must separate ‘the chaff from the grain’. If, after considering the whole mass of evidence, a residue of acceptable truth is established by the prosecution beyond any reasonable doubt the Courts are bound to give effect to the result flowing from it and not throw it overboard on purely hypothetical and conjectural grounds.”

Thus, it cannot be doubted, it is duty of Court to separate chaff from grain. Moreover, minor variations in evidence will not affect root of matter, inasmuch as such minor variations need not be given major importance, inasmuch as they would not materially alter evidence/credibility of eye witnesses as a whole.”

 –Hon’ble Justice Mohan M. ShantanagoudarMenoka Malik v. State of West Bengal,  [Criminal Appeal No. 1198 OF 2006].

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Also see, Arvind Kumar v. State of Rajasthan, [Criminal Appeal No. 753 of 2017] decided on 22.1.2021.