The Supreme Court has expressed displeasure over the delay in examination of witnesses, and said it is the duty of the trial court to ensure that the trial is not prolonged as time lag creates problems in the testimony of witnesses.

A Bench of Justice S K Kaul and Justice M M Sundresh said the trial court must control the dilatory tactics of any of the parties.

The observations came while granting bail to an man who was accused of facilitating the escape of persons who murdered the Mayor of Chittor district in Andhra Pradesh.

The Court noted that the man is in jail since the last seven years and prosecution witnesses are yet to be examined.

We are troubled by the fact that seven years after the incident the prosecution witnesses have not been examined and the trial is yet to commence. This is completely unacceptable. Time lag creates its own problems in the testimony of witnesses more so the eyewitnesses.

"It is the duty of the prosecution to ensure that the prosecution witnesses are available and it is the duty of the trial Court to ensure that none of the parties is permitted to protract the trial", the Bench observed.

The Apex Court directed the trial court to ensure that post trial, the judgment of the trial court is available within a period of one year from the date of the communication of this order.

We are, however, inclined to grant bail to the appellant considering the role ascribed to the appellant in the charge sheet and the total period spent in custody. Ordered accordingly.

This is subject to such conditions that the trial court may impose. We in addition make it clear that the appellant would be required to be present personally before the trial court on all dates and would facilitate in the trial. If the trial court finds that the appellant is endeavouring to delay the trial, or thereafter temper with the evidence, we authorise the trial court to cancel the bail, the Bench said.

Cause Title: S. Murugan @ Muruga v. The State of Andhra Pradesh & Anr.

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With PTI inputs