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The right of accused to cross-examination of witnesses cannot be diluted: P&H High Court dismisses the judge for negating the “very basic and fundamental norms of a fair trial”.

Team SoOLEGAL 23 Oct 2020 4:51pm

The right of accused to cross-examination of witnesses cannot be diluted: P&H High Court dismisses the judge for negating the “very basic and fundamental norms of a fair trial”.

The Punjab and Haryana High Court while hearing a revision petition by two accused argued for offences under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 and the Indian Penal Code,1980, noted that their right to fair trial has been negated by the learned Additional Session Judge and ordered the recall of witnesses so that the accused could cross-examine them.

 

Application filed by the state for producing certain relevant documents under Section 311 of the Criminal Procedure Code,1973, was allowed by the learned Additional Session Judge on September 15, 2014, as he acknowledged that the accused would not be adversely impacted by additional documents, as they would have had the full opportunity to contradict the record.

 

The plea by aggrieved under Section 311 of the Criminal Procedure Code,1973, to recall DSP and two other witnesses for cross-examination got disallowed by Additional Session Judge vide order dated May 17, 2016, observing that no grounds have been demonstrated to allow further cross-examination. Justice Sanjay Kumar taking note of the above-mentioned facts observed that “Surprisingly, the learned Additional Sessions Judge seems to have completely overlooked the earlier order dated 15.09.2014 passed by his predecessor and dismissed the application on the ground that the petitioners could lead defence evidence and examine any official from the concerned department.”

 

The bench further stated “the right of the petitioners to cross-examine the witnesses” as “the basic ingredient of a fair trial and depriving them of such opportunity of cross-examination would cause prejudice to them.” Thus, the Trial Court directed not to pass any final order.

The bench while taking into consideration the above facts ordered Trial Court to recall witnesses for cross-examination and held that "Denial of the petitioners' right of cross-examination cannot be countenanced. It is a valuable right given to the accused and such right cannot be diluted in this fashion. As pointed out by this Court in the interim order, the approach adopted by the learned Additional Sessions Judge negated the very basic and fundamental norms of a fair trial."



Tagged: Prevention of Corruption Act   Punjab and Haryana High Court   Indian Penal Code   Criminal Procedure Code  
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