The Madras High Court recently observed that witnesses are the eyes and ears of the justice and they have to be instilled with confidence to depose without any fear or favour before the Court.

Justice B. Pugalendhi made this observation while dealing with a plea by the State seeking the cancellation of bail granted to a suspended Police Inspector for allegedly indulging in influencing the witnesses.

“Witnesses are the eyes and ears of the justice. Witnesses have to be instilled confidence to depose without any fear or favour before the Court.”, the Court observed.

In this case, the suspended Police Inspector was arrested based on a complaint alleging that the Police had taken away Rs.10 Lakh from the defacto complainant and intimidated him that they are going to foist a case, thereafter directed him to collect money from the police station next day.

On the next day when the defacto complainant sought to receive the money, he was intimidated that he should not insist for money, or else, a criminal case would be foisted against him. Hence, he lodged a complaint.

Subsequently, a case was registered and the officer was arrested who later got bail from the High Court.

Meanwhile, the police officer along with other accused moved an application to quash the final report of investigation in this case on the ground of compromise between the parties.

The Court observed that “The nature of the complaint, the manner in which the case was registered, the manner in which the trial is protracted, the timing at which the joint compromise memo has been filed and the contents of the affidavit filed by the defacto complainant would prima facie make out a case as against the accused that there was an attempt to jeopardies the trial.”

However, the Court noted that there is no specific averment as against the accused as that she has contacted the defacto complainant at any point of time or in any manner either has influenced, persuaded or intimidated the defacto complainant thereby inducing compromise.

Thus the Court noted that the bail cannot be cancelled however the Court held that it cannot be a mute spectator to any subversion of the judicial process.

The Court directed the Inspector General of Police (South Zone) to constitute a special team to ascertain whether the accused attempted to influence the defacto complainant or any other witnesses. The Court added that if any attempt has been made to tamper with the witnesses, the investigation officer shall register a separate case.

The Court also directed the District Legal Services Authority, Madurai to review this case and to pass necessary witness protection order for the witnesses, who require or seek protection.

Cause Title- Crl MP (MD)No. 10321 of 2022

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