Supreme Court Deprecates Practice Of Postponing Cross-Examination Of Witnesses Till Examination-In-Chief Of Other Accused Are Finished
The Supreme Court recently deprecated the practice of postponing the cross-examination of prosecution witnesses in a matter where the examination-in-chief of the first witness was recorded and cross-examination was postponed till other witnesses were examined.
The bench in the matter was also shocked to note that the State relied upon confessional statements of the accused recorded by the police.
While referring to the situation as a “disturbing feature”, a bench of Justice Abhay S. Oka and Justice Ujjal Bhuyan observed, “…after examination-in-chief of the PW-1 was recorded, without completion of his cross-examination, the Trial Court has proceeded to record the examination-in-chief of the second witness for the prosecution. The learned counsel appearing for the respondent-State, on instructions, pointed out that after examination-in-chief of five witnesses is recorded, their cross-examination will be recorded. We deprecate such practice”.
“In the counter affidavit filed by the respondent-State of West Bengal, shockingly, the State has relied up so called confessional statements of the petitioner-accused recorded by the police. To put it mildly, we are shocked to note that the State is relying upon confessional statements recorded before the police”, the bench further noted in the order.
Therefore, the bench refused to consider the prayer for bail only with a view to allow cross-examination of the two eye witnesses to be completed.
Advocate Sunando Raha appeared for the petitioner and AOR Madhumita Bhattacharjee appeared for the respondent.
In the present matter, an application for bail under Section 439 of the Code of Criminal Procedure for offences under Sections 302/120B/201/212 IPC and 27/35 of the Arms Act was made to seek bail.
However, after considering the relevant facts and circumstances, through the impugned order, the Calcutta High Court rejected the prayer to grant bail.
The High Court noted, “We have considered the materials on record. Bail prayer of the petitioner was rejected earlier on merits. Date has been fixed for recording prosecution evidence. Under such circumstances, we are not inclined to grant bail to the petitioner at this stage”.
Petitioner: Advocate Sunando Raha, AOR Pulkit Agarwal, Advocates Kunal Malik, Sudhanshu Kaushesh, K.P.Jayaram.
Respondent: AOR Madhumita Bhattacharjee, Advocate Srija Choudhury.
Cause Title: Saiful Laskar v. The State Of West Bengal