Section 311 CrPC | Defence Counsel must remain “Completely Awakened” during Cross-Examination of Witnesses: Punjab and Haryana High Court

punjab and haryana high court
punjab and haryana high court

PUNJAB: Recently in the matter, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has held that Section 311 of CrPC is not meant to “cure defects” in the defense. The section was which makes provision for the recall of material witnesses. The Court said that the Counsel should remain focused entirely during the Cross-Examination of Witnesses.

The bench comprising Justice Sureshwar Thakur rejected a petition which sought to recall two prosecution witnesses for further cross-examination. The petition seeks to put exculpatory suggestions to them. The Court observed that during a virtual proceeding, the defense counsel was assisted by the accused.

Therefore, if certain suggestions with respect to the penal incident which remained unmelted to them were allowed to be put now, by allowing the recall application, it would amount to giving an opportunity to the defense to cure its omissions/ invent fresh evidence, besides unnecessarily harassing the witnesses.

The Petitioner was charged under  Section 302 of IPC. The Court observed that during the cross-examination of PW-2, she did not initially identify the accused, through video conferencing and subsequently she recognized the accused.

The defense counsel, in the same application, also asked for the re-examination of PW-2 due to the reason of her inability to interact with the accused, for certain material which was necessary to enable the defense to efficaciously carry forth its defense.

After a complete argument between the parties, the court noted that as far as the prayer in the instant petition is concerned, it is completely rudderless, and, thereby declined for the reason that the defense counsel was assisted by the accused in the proceedings which occurred through video conferencing.

The court noted that if the above permission is granted then it would lead to an undesirable consequence since the defense through this endeavor will try to improve earlier defect.

Therefore, his subsequent awakenings from slumber would obviously, as stated above become, an impermissible recourse, to undo all the omissions which he earlier made, while putting exculpatory suggestions to the witnesses concerned. If he so desires, he can lead defense evidence after the termination of the proceedings under Section 313 of Cr.P.C.

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