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Filing Written Request Must For The Accused To Be Treated As A Witness U/S 315 CrPC: Gujarat High Court

PRIYANKA PREET
13 Jun 2022 7:30 AM GMT
Filing Written Request Must For The Accused To Be Treated As A Witness U/S 315 CrPC: Gujarat High Court
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The Gujarat High Court has held that an accused person can be competent witness, provided there is a written permission or there is a written request made to the concerned court at the instance of accused under Section 315 CrPC.

It thus dismissed the petition challenging the order of the Sessions Court which rejected the Petitioner's application for being treated as a witness, in the absence of a written request.

Justice Niral Mehta was hearing a petition under Article 226 of the Constitution, praying for the stay on proceedings against the Petitioner-accused for offences under Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act.

"In view of the provision of Section 315 of the Cr.P.C., accused person can be a competent witness, but before that, accused is required to request in writing to the concerned Court. In the instant case, no such written request came to be made by the petitioner to the concerned Magistrate and straightaway, moved an application Exh.80, submitting examination-in-chief."

The Petitioner submitted that after the completion of recording of further statements under Sec 313 of CrPC before the Civil Judge, the Petitioner had submitted an application tendering his examination-in-chief which was dismissed by the Principle Civil Judge. The Petitioner then approached the Sessions Judge vide a criminal revision application which was rejected. Therefore, the Petitioner filed the instant petition before the High Court.

It was contested that the Courts had erred in rejecting the application as they had failed to appreciate the provisions of Sec 145 of the Negotiable Instruments Act. Further sec 315 of CrPC allows the Petitioner-accused to become a competent witness for himself. Reliance was placed on Rakeshbhai Maganbhai Barot v. State of Gujarat to bolster this contention.

Per contra, the APP opposed the petition with the contention that the Petitioner-accused can treat himself as a witness for himself under Sec 315 of CrPC by submitting an application. However, no such application was filed for permission to be treated as a witness. Instead, he straight away filed an application at Exh 80 requesting the trial court to accept the examination-in-chief. Further, the accused can give his evidence on oath as envisaged under Sec 243 of CrPC.

The Bench identified the main issue worth consideration was whether the order passed by the trial court and the appellate court refusing to accept the examination-in-chief of the accused is justified. The Bench affirmed that in order to be treated as a witness, the accused is required to request in writing to the concerned Court. The Bench, upon, reading the examination-in-chief, noted that the Petitioner had given no written request to the Court as envisaged in Sec 315. Justice Mehta remarked:

"Keeping in mind this peculiar and distinguishing fact and the mandate of Section 315 of the Cr.P.C., in my considered opinion, both the courts below have committed no mistake in not accepting the examination-in-chief of the present petitioner."

As regards the Rakeshbhai judgement, the Bench observed that in the said case, the accused had filed a written request for submitting the examination-in-chief. However, no such request was filed by the Petitioner and therefore, the facts of both the cases were materially different.

Accordingly, the High Court dismissed the petition.

Case Title: SONI ANILKUMAR PRAHLADBHAI v/s STATE OF GUJARAT

Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (Guj) 209

Click Here To Read/Download Order


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