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Immediately Provide Computers In Court Halls To Effectively Record Witness Evidence: Kerala High Court Directs Registry

Hannah M Varghese
1 Nov 2021 6:45 AM GMT
Immediately Provide Computers In Court Halls To Effectively Record Witness Evidence: Kerala High Court Directs Registry
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The Kerala High Court recently directed its Registry to provide computers in all Court Halls to enable recording of the dictation, particularly to take down the evidence of witnesses in a proceeding. A division bench comprising Justice K. Vinod Chandran and Justice Ziyad Rahman A.A. while hearing a criminal appeal noted that readable copies had transcribed the original...

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The Kerala High Court recently directed its Registry to provide computers in all Court Halls to enable recording of the dictation, particularly to take down the evidence of witnesses in a proceeding.  

A division bench comprising Justice K. Vinod Chandran and Justice Ziyad Rahman A.A. while hearing a criminal appeal noted that readable copies had transcribed the original deposition fully. The Court stated that it cannot find fault with the persons who copied it, since the originals are undecipherable.

It thus suggested that evidence of each witness be recorded as the examination proceeds, in the form of a narrative or as the presiding Judge deems fit in the form of question and answer.

This, the Court said, could also be typed out in a computer so as to enable reading out the same immediately on the evidence of each witness being concluded for the day or finally.

It thus ordered as follows:

"It is hence expedient that the Registry provides for computers inside the Court Hall for the purpose of dictation to be taken down as the examination of a witness proceeds." 

The Court further noted:

"The readable copies must be transcribed with the aid of the Judicial Officer, who recorded the evidence, which in every circumstance, may not be possible. Or there should be a transcription carried out, immediately after the recording of evidence, which again would be time-consuming." 

Therefore, it suggested that evidence on dictation be typed out in a computer so as to enable reading out the same immediately on the evidence of each witness being concluded for the day.

This was found necessary considering that Section 276 CrPC requires the evidence of each witness in all trials to be taken down in writing, either by the presiding Judge himself or by his dictation in open Court; as the examination proceeds.

The Registry had also informed the Bench that the Court had issued two circulars in 2016 and 2017 respectively, directing evidence to be recorded as envisaged in Order XVIII, Rules 4 and 5 of the CPC and Sections 274, 275 and 276 of CrPC.

Accordingly, the Registry was directed to provide computers inside Court Halls for the purpose of dictation and to communicate the aforementioned circulars to all trial courts immediately. 

The observation came in an appeal filed by a migrant labourer who was convicted of snatching a gold chain from the body of a housewife and drowning her, presumably in a bid to avoid identification.

The trial court had found him guilty of offences under Sections 299, 300, 302 and 304 of IPC. 

Commenting on the unfortunate incident, the Court said:

"The lure of gold has begotten more crimes than any reasonable man would think; often snuffing out innocent lives. 'Crime doesn't pay' is an adage which the deviants, the desperate and some desperadoes pay little heed to."

Thereafter, the Court noted that the readable copies had not transcribed the original deposition fully before going to the merits of the appeal. The direction to the Registry came after this observation. 

After noting so, the Bench delved into the appeal and found that although the prosecution had relied majorly on circumstantial evidence, it had succeeded in bringing home the guilt of the accused with its arguments.

Accordingly, finding no reason to interfere with the impugned judgment, the appeal was rejected. 

Advocate V. John Sebastian Ralph represented the petitioner and Special Government Pleader for Atrocities against Women and Children S. Ambikadevi appeared for the State in the matter.

Case Title: Balu v. State of Kerala & Ors.

Click Here To Read/Download The Order

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