Examine Eyewitness Without Delay, HC Tells Trial Courts

Srinagar—The Jammu and Kashmir High Court has directed all the trial Courts in the state to get the eyewitnesses examined by the prosecution as soon as possible.

“The trial courts shall get the eyewitnesses examined by the prosecution as soon as possible and shall ensure that the statements of the eyewitnesses are invariably recorded under section 164-A of J&K Cr.P.C. as per the procedure prescribed there under,” said Registrar General in circular.

The Supreme Court in case –Doongar Singh & Ors versus the State of Rajasthan— reiterated in November this year that it was also necessary that the statements of eyewitnesses have to be recorded during investigation itself under Section 164 of the Cr.P.C.

In Mohammad Khalid versus State of W.B, the court noted how adjournment can result in witnesses being won over.

It was observed: “Unnecessary adjournments give a scope for a grievance that the accused persons get a time to get over the witnesses. Whatever be the truth in this allegation, the fact remains that such adjournments lack the spirit of Section 309 of the Code. When a witness is available and his examination-in-chief is over, unless compelling reasons are there, the trial court should not adjourn the matter on the mere asking.”

In another case—Vinod Kumar versus State of Punjab, the apex court noted how unwarranted adjournments during the trial jeopardise the administration of Justice.

 “The narration of the sad chronology shocks the judicial conscience and gravitates the mind to pose a question: Is it justified for any conscientious trial Judge to ignore the statutory command, not recognise “the felt necessities of time” and remain  impervious to the cry of the collective asking for justice or give an indecent and uncalled for burial to the conception of trial, totally ostracising the concept that a civilised and orderly society thrives on the rule of law which includes “fair trial” for the accused as well as the prosecution?” 

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