Create WhatsApp group for each criminal trial to summon witnesses, ensure speedy trial: Madhya Pradesh High Court to Police

Team SoOLEGAL 26 Sep 2023 12:28pm

Create WhatsApp group for each criminal trial to summon witnesses, ensure speedy trial: Madhya Pradesh High Court to Police

New Delhi: The Director General of Police (DGP) and Director of Prosecution have been directed by the Madhya Pradesh High Court to seriously consider creating WhatsApp groups for each criminal case in order to ensure that witnesses appear before trial courts in such cases.

Justice Anand Pathak directed the DGP and Director of Prosecution to hold a workshop on the subject and seek professional advice on the formation of such WhatsApp groups in an order delivered last week in the matter Vijendra Singh Sikarwar V. The State Of Madhya Pradesh.

The Court's order stated,"it is earnestly believed by this Court that Director General of Police and Director, Prosecution shall seriously take a workshop and suggestion from police officers and other experts to think of creating concept of WhatsApp Groups for twin purpose of summoning the witnesses and protection of witnesses." 

The Court issued the order while reiterating suggestions made by it in September last year.

In last year's order, the Court had recommended every police station to consider creating a WhatsApp group with the complainant, material prosecution witnesses, the Public Prosecutor and other officials as members to ensure a swift trial.

Also, the creation of these WhatsApp groups would provide a way to notify witnesses well in advance of their court appearance date. The court had instructed the court clerk or court munshi to post the summons on the WhatsApp group in addition to serving it personally as is customary.

The Court noted that the groups may be deleted after the trial is over. The Court's latest order further stated, “privacy and dignity/decency of the members of the WhatsApp Group be maintained, so that it may be available only as tool for facilitation of trial rather than for any other purpose.”

During a hearing regarding a murder case from 2018, the Court issued the directives. The trial in the case has been delayed due to the non-appearance of witnesses.

The High Court found that “almost four and half years have passed since then, but trial is not being completed. Incidentally, all the eye-witnesses have been examined but other formal and departmental witnesses are yet to be examined and that is causing delay in the trial.”

Therefore, it directed the trial court to take proactive steps to keep the case posted on a weekly basis and to deal seriously with any tactics used by the defence counsel to get the case adjourned.

The case will be heard further in November on compliance.

Tagged: WhatsApp group   criminal trial  
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