Quashing an acquittal in a murder case, the Bombay High Court has held that simply because a key witness is a prostitute, her testimony cannot be discarded.
The lower court, in this case, had held that being a sex worker, the lady could not said to be an "honest woman", and since the prosecution's case hinged mainly on her testimony, it was not acceptable.
But the HC disagreed with this view.
The division bench of Justices DG Deshpande and SR Sathe, while convicting one Ayub Shaikh, held that since the lady was the eyewitness on record and there was nothing to taint her testimony, it could be relied upon along with other evidence.
Suraiyya - the sex worker in question - was residing with the deceased Salim Shaikh and saw him being attacked by Ayub on September 26, 1987 with a knife, after which the latter fled. Salim later succumbed to his injuries.
When police traced Ayub, they found his clothes and a button knife in his possession to be blood-stained. Investigation revealed that the blood group was the same as Salim's.
But later two other witnesses and the panchas who had recorded the evidence turned hostile and the lower court found no other substantial evidence to convict the accused.
However, the HC, apart from believing Suraiyya's story, held that the FIR was not challenged and medical reports testify against the accused, which was enough to convict him.