Magistrate Needn’t Examine ‘All’ Witnesses In Complaint Case Triable Exclusively By Court Of Session: T&AP HC

Magistrate Needn’t Examine ‘All’ Witnesses In Complaint Case Triable Exclusively By Court Of Session: T&AP HC

‘During trial no more witnesses would be permitted to be examined by the complainant. However, if the ends of justice require that some more witnesses have to be examined, by following the procedure under Section 311 Cr.P.C., the Court can examine any other witness, but not as witness of the complainant or prosecution rather as a court witness.’

The Telangana and Andhra Pradesh High Court in Pitta Chandramma v State of AP has held that in a complaint case triable exclusively by Court of Session, the Magistrate need not direct the complainant to examine all the list-mentioned witnesses but it is sufficient for the complainant to produce all his witnesses which means those witnesses on whom the complainant has confidence.

Justice U Durga Prasad Rao also observed that the witnesses omitted to be examined by the Magistrate can be examined by the Session’s Court only in terms of Section 311 CrPC as a court witness, if in his view the evidence of such witness is essential to the just decision of the case by giving reasons.

The accused in his plea had contended before the high court that if the Magistrate does not insist on examination of all the list-mentioned witnesses and permits the complainant to examine only some of them and commits the case to Sessions Court, the said court shall examine only those witnesses who were earlier examined before the Magistrate but not other witnesses who were not examined by the complainant.  It was argued that if during the trial, the Sessions Court proposes to examine all the witnesses, including those who were omitted to be examined before the Magistrate, then the accused cannot have the advantage of their earlier statements so as to confront them during the trial to point out any contradictions or improvements.

Justice Rao relied on a decision of a full bench of the high court in G Subba Naidu and others v Talluri Mahalakshmamma, wherein it was held that it is not necessary in its view for the complainant to produce all the witnesses in an enquiry under Section 202 CrPC.

Referring to an Allahabad High Court ruling, the court observed: “The only limitation in such an instance as per Allahabad High Court is, during trial no more witnesses would be permitted to be examined by the complainant. However, if the ends of justice require that some more witnesses have to be examined, by following the procedure under Section 311 Cr.P.C., the Court can examine any other witness, but not as witness of the complainant or prosecution rather as a court witness.”

Read The Judgment Here