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Ensure S. 309 CrPC Strict Compliance In Murder, Abduction & Rape Cases; Don't Adjourn Cases At Drop Of Hat: MP High Court To Trial Courts

Sparsh Upadhyay
27 Jun 2021 2:18 PM GMT
Ensure S. 309 CrPC Strict Compliance In Murder, Abduction & Rape Cases; Dont Adjourn Cases At Drop Of Hat: MP High Court To Trial Courts
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The Madhya Pradesh High Court recently directed all the trial court judges, to ensure strict compliance of Section 309 of Cr.P.C. especially in sensitive cases like murder, abduction, and rape, and said that the provision should be observed religiously, without fail and cases should not be adjourned on the drop of a hat.The Bench of Justice Subodh Abhyankar was dealing with a matter wherein,...

The Madhya Pradesh High Court recently directed all the trial court judges, to ensure strict compliance of Section 309 of Cr.P.C. especially in sensitive cases like murder, abduction, and rape, and said that the provision should be observed religiously, without fail and cases should not be adjourned on the drop of a hat.

The Bench of Justice Subodh Abhyankar was dealing with a matter wherein, when a 7-year-old boy was cross-examined after over 2 months of his chief examination, he took a somersault from his earlier story by denying everything.

The Court observed that Section 309 of CrPC has been given a complete go-by by the learned judge of the trial court while fixing the date for cross-examination.

Section 309 of CrPC states that in every inquiry or trial, the proceedings shall be held as expeditiously as possible, and in particular, when the examination of witnesses has once begun, the same shall be continued from day to day until all the witnesses in attendance have been examined, unless the Court finds the adjournment of the same beyond the following day to be necessary for reasons to be recorded.

The matter before the Court

The Court was hearing the fourth bail plea of an accused booked for offence punishable under Sections 364-A and 120-B read with Section 34 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 and he was arrested in connection with the aforesaid offence whereby a boy aged seven years was kidnapped for ransom.

The Court noted that so far as the examination-in-chief of the victim was concerned, he had clearly identified the accused persons, as the persons who had abducted him.

However, after his examination-in-chief on October 4, 2019, his cross-examination was conducted after more than two months i.e. on December 18, 2019 and this time, he did not support the case of the prosecution.

The Child victim denied his earlier statement on the ground that he was afraid of the Police personnel and they had asked him to depose in a particular manner supporting the case of the prosecution.

Court's order

At the outset, the Court observed that it was not inclined to allow the bail application, however, so far as the deposition of the victim in his cross-examination is concerned, the Court observed:

"Apparently, he has not supported the case of the prosecution however, he has affirmed his kidnapping by the accused persons by identifying them in his examination-in-chief, thus, in the considered opinion of this court, it is for the trial Court to examine the aforesaid aspect of the matter while passing the final judgment; as this Court cannot venture into appreciating the evidence at this stage."

The Court further observed that on December 18, 2019 he was cross-examined and he took a somersault from his earlier story by denying everything and thus, the Court said:

"It is apparent that in the meantime, he was won over by the accused persons."

Further, the Court opined that the Judge ought to have seen the sensitivity of the matter and should not have given such long date for no apparent reasons for the purposes of cross-examination.

"(This) led to the material witness turning hostile, seriously jeopardizing and undermining the efforts made by the police officers to bring home the charges against the accused persons, and to say the least, of the cost involve in the rescue operation which is always borne by the State," added the Court.

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