Section 315 CrPC – Accused Can Be Competent Witness, Provided Written Request Is Made In This Regard: Gujarat HC
The Gujarat High Court has held that under Section 315 CrPC, an accused person can be a competent witness provided a written request is made in this regard.
Justice Niral R. Mehta, in this context, observed –
"Bare perusal of the provision of Section 315 would indicate that accused person can be competent witness, provided there is a written permission or there is a written request made to the concerned court at the instance of accused. Thus, in view of the provision of Section 315 of the Cr.P.C., accused person can be a competent witness, but before that, accused is required to request in writing to the concerned Court."
In this case, a criminal complaint was filed against the Petitioner under Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act. Thereafter, after the completion of the recording of further statements, the Petitioner submitted an application tendering his examination-in-chief. Both the Principal Judge and Judicial Magistrate dismissed his application.
Aggrieved, the Petitioner approached the Sessions Judge, Patan by way of the Criminal Revision Application, which came to be rejected.
Aggrieved, the Petitioner-Original Accused approached the High Court.
Counsel Mr. Amit Joshi appeared for the Petitioner while APP Mr. Pranav Trivedi appeared for the Respondent-State.
The issue which was dealt with by the Court was –
Whether the order passed by the trial court as well as the appellate court refusing to accept the examination-in-chief of the accused was justified.
The Court referred to Section 315 CrPC which states – Accused Person to be a competent witness and held that the accused can be a competent witness provided there is written permission or written request made to the concerned Court at the instance of the accused.
The Court further noted that admittedly, no written request was made to the concerned Court under Section 315 CrPC, thus the Bench held –
"Keeping in mind this peculiar and distinguishing fact and the mandate of Section 315 of the Cr.P.C., in my considered opinion, both the courts below have committed no mistake in not accepting the examination-in-chief of the present petitioner."
Accordingly, the Court dismissed the Petition.