Witness statement, including cross-examination, be recorded either on same or following day: SC

Supreme Court of India | Photo: Mathrubhumi

New Delhi:The Supreme Court has held that statement of a witness, including cross-examination, has to be recorded either on the same or the following day and there should not be any ground for adjournment on this.

The apex court, which was hearing two pleas seeking quashing of bail granted by the Allahabad High Court to two persons in a murder case, was informed that it took almost three months to conclude recording of statement of one of the prosecution witnesses.

"The mandate of law itself postulate that examination-in-chief followed with cross-examination is to be recorded either on the same day or on the day following," a bench of justices Ajay Rastogi and C T Ravikumar said.

"In other words, there should not be any ground for adjournment in recording the examination-in-chief/cross-examination of the prosecution witness, as the case may be," the top court said in its order passed on September 30.

The high court, in its two separate orders passed in February and March, had granted bail to the two persons in connection with the case lodged at Bhadohi district in Uttar Pradesh for the alleged offences including that of murder.

During the hearing before the apex court, the bench was informed that there are three eye-witnesses according to the list of witnesses and charge sheet has been filed in the case.

The bench was also told that statement of one of the prosecution witnesses has been recorded and it took almost three months to conclude.

It was apprised that so far as statement of another prosecution witness is concerned, part of the examination-in-chief was recorded on September 21 and despite request been made, the mandate of section 309 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) was not being followed which has been considered by the apex court in a judgment delivered in 2014.

Section 309 of the CrPC deals with power to postpone or adjourn proceedings.

In its order, the apex court noted that it would like to observe that the trial judge may take a note of the top court's judgment in reference to section 309 of the CrPC.

It noted that the trial judge may not only expedite the trial but the examination-in-chief or cross-examination of a witness is to be recorded either on the same day or on the day following but no long adjournment should be granted while recording the statement of prosecution witnesses.

The bench has posted the matter for hearing after six weeks.


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