Aim Of Every Court Is To Discover The Truth: Supreme Court Explains Scope Of Section 311 CrPC

first_imgKnow the LawAim Of Every Court Is To Discover The Truth: Supreme Court Explains Scope Of Section 311 CrPC LIVELAW NEWS NETWORK6 March 2021 7:14 AMShare This – xThe Supreme court briefly explained the scope of Section 311 of the Code of Criminal Procedure in its two recent judgments.Section 311 deals with the power to summon material witness, or examine person present. Any Court may, at any stage of any inquiry, trial or other proceeding under this Code, summon any person as a witness, or examine any person in attendance, though not summoned as…Your free access to Live Law has expiredTo read the article, get a premium account.Your Subscription Supports Independent JournalismSubscription starts from ₹ 599+GST (For 6 Months)View PlansPremium account gives you:Unlimited access to Live Law Archives, Weekly/Monthly Digest, Exclusive Notifications, Comments.Reading experience of Ad Free Version, Petition Copies, Judgement/Order Copies.Subscribe NowAlready a subscriber?LoginThe Supreme court briefly explained the scope of Section 311 of the Code of Criminal Procedure in its two recent judgments.Section 311 deals with the power to summon material witness, or examine person present. Any Court may, at any stage of any inquiry, trial or other proceeding under this Code, summon any person as a witness, or examine any person in attendance, though not summoned as a witness, or recall and re­examine any person already examined; and the Court shall summon and examine or recall and re­examine any such person if his evidence appears to it to be essential to the just decision of the case, the provision reads.One judgment was delivered by a bench comprising Justices Indu Malhotra and Ajay Rastogi while allowing an appeal against a Karnataka High Court order. The High Court had set aside an order of the Trial Court allowing  the application filed by prosecution for summoning the witnesses along with securing the relevant records.The Apex Court bench observed that the object underlying Section 311 CrPC is that there may not be failure of justice on account of mistake of either party in bringing the valuable evidence on record or leaving ambiguity in the statements of the witnesses examined from either side.The determinative factor is whether it is essential to the just decision of the case. The expression that occurs is “at any stage of any inquiry or trial or other proceeding under this Code”. It is, however, to be borne in mind that the discretionary power conferred under Section 311 CrPC has to be exercised judiciously, as it is always said “wider the power, greater is the necessity of caution while exercise of judicious discretion……The aim of every Court is to discover the truth. Section 311 CrPC is one of many such provisions which strengthen the arms of a court in its effort to unearth the truth by procedure sanctioned by law. At the same time, the discretionary power vested under 10 Section 311 CrPC has to be exercised judiciously for strong and valid reasons and with caution and circumspection to meet the ends of justice.The bench particularly referred to the observations made in Swapan Kumar Chatterjee Vs. Central Bureau of Investigation 2019(14) SCC 328″10. The first part of this section which is permissive gives purely discretionary authority to the criminal court and enables it at any stage of inquiry, trial or other proceedings under the Code to act in one of the three ways, namely, (i) to summon any person as a witness; or (ii) to examine any person in attendance, though not summoned as a witness; or (iii) to recall and re­examine any person already examined. The second part, which is mandatory, imposes an obligation on the court (i) to summon and examine or (ii) to recall and re­examine any such person if his evidence appears to be essential to the just decision of the case. 11. It is well settled that the power conferred under Section 311 should be invoked by the court only to meet the ends of justice. The power is to be exercised only for strong and valid reasons and it should be exercised with great caution and circumspection. The court has vide power under this section to even recall witnesses for re­examination or further examination, necessary in the interest of justice, but the same has to be exercised after taking into consideration the facts and circumstances of each case. The power under this provision shall not be exercised if the court is of the view that the application has been filed as an abuse of the process of law.”Allowing the appeal, the bench observed that the Trial Court judge was justified in summoning the witnesses whose statements ought to be recorded to subserve the cause of justice, with the object of getting the evidence in aid of a just decision and to uphold the truth.In another case, the bench comprising Justices DY Chandrachud and MR Shah observed that the true test for invoking Section 311 CrPC is whether it appears to the Court that the evidence of such person who is sought to be recalled is essential to the just decision of the case. In this case, the state had approached the Apex Court against rejection of the application filed by it seeking recalling of witnesses. “In Manju Devi v State of Rajasthan , a two-Judge bench of this Court noted that an application under Section 311 could not be rejected on the sole ground that the case had been pending for an inordinate amount of time (ten years there). Rather, it noted that “the length/duration of a case cannot displace the basic requirement of ensuring the just decision after taking all the necessary and material evidence on record. In other words, the age of a case, by itself, cannot be decisive of the matter when a prayer is made for examination of a material witness”, the bench noted while allowing the appeal.Case 1: V.N. Patil Vs K. Niranjan Kumar [CrA 267 OF 2021]Coram: Justices Indu Malhotra and Ajay RastogiCitation: LL 2021 SC 135Case 2: State vs. Tr N Seenivasagan LL 2021 SC 136 [CrA 231-232 of 2021]Coram: Justices DY Chandrachud and MR ShahCitation: LL 2021 SC 136Click here to Read/Download Judgment 1Click here to Read/Download Judgment 2Next Storylast_img

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