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Don't Make Witnesses, Especially Doctors, Wait: Judge Tells Subordinates [Read Circular]

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28 Sep 2017 12:09 PM GMT
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Great thinker Bentham had once said: "Witnesses are the eyes and ears of justice."

Last year, the Delhi High Court had said witnesses should be treated with due respect and not put to inconvenience and that making them wait for hours in courts is not judicious.

However, as on date, any person familiar with the business of trial court would know how time-consuming the affair recording of evidence could be.

Recording of statement of witnesses entails long waiting hours before the case, if called, and the question and answer round begins.

Keeping this in mind and to check wastage of time of witnesses, a circular has been issued by AS Jayachandra, district and sessions judge, Shahdara, asking all subordinate judicial officers to summon witnesses considering the day’s roster and not summon all witnesses at 10 am, as is the usual practice.

The circular emphasises on summoning doctors as witnesses only after 2 pm and recording their evidence on priority basis.

“It is requested to all judicial officers that witnesses be summoned at different times meaning thereby that summons to witnesses should not show timing of reporting at 10 am only and a sufficient gap be maintained in the timing as per workload of the court on a given day.

“It is again requested that doctors be summoned only at 2 pm and priority be given to the cases in which doctors from hospitals are appearing as witness so that their evidence is recorded at the earliest and they may leave to attend their respective duties as early as possible,” Jayachandra said in the circular.

It is to be noted that the Delhi High Court, in a case titled International Planned Parenthood Federation vs Madhu Bala Nath (2016), had observed, “Witnesses are the real backbone of the proceedings. It is the testimony of the witnesses that enables the Court to arrive at the truth. Witnesses have to be treated with due respect and are not to be put to any inconvenience merely because they agree to testify. It is common knowledge that when a witness travels to Court for the purpose of deposition, a witness has to spend several hours in Court and at times major part of the time spent in Court is in waiting for the case to reach and the proceedings to commence. In these circumstances, to insist on the witness travelling to Court and waiting for hours may not be judicious.”

Read the Circular Here

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