Cross-examination should be recorded either on same day or following: SC

The Supreme Court has said that no long adjournment should be granted while recording the statement of prosecution witnesses and the cross-examination should be recorded either on the same day or on the day following.

A bench of Justices Ajay Rastogi and C.T. Ravikumar said the mandate of law itself postulates that examination-in-chief, followed with cross-examination, is to be recorded either on the same day or on the day following. It emphasised that there should not be a long adjournment.

The bench said: “We do not want to dilate at this stage since the trial is pending but we would like to observe that the trial judge may take a note of the judgment of this court in reference to Section 309 Cr.P.C and not only expedite the trial but the examination-in-chief/cross-examination is to be recorded either on the same day or on the day following but no long adjournment should be granted while recording the statement of prosecution witnesses.”

It made this observation while hearing plea seeking quashing of bail granted by the Allahabad High Court to a person in a murder case.

Counsel for the petitioner informed the bench that there were three eye-witnesses as per the calendar of witnesses and charge sheet has been filed and statement of a witness by this time has been recorded which took almost three months to conclude.

“So far as statement of PW-2 is concerned, part of the examination-in-chief was recorded on September 21, 2022 and despite request been made the mandate of Section 309 Cr.P.C. is not being followed which has been considered by this court in ‘Vinod Kumar versus State of Punjab (2015)’,” noted the bench.

Section 309 of the CrPC deals with power to postpone or adjourn proceedings.

The top court, in its order, said: “The mandate of law itself postulates that examination-in-chief followed with cross-examination is to be recorded either on the same day or on the day following. In other words, there should not be any grounds for adjournment in recording the examination-in-chief/cross-examination of the prosecution witness, as the case may be.”

In an order passed in March, the high court granted bail to a person for the alleged offences, which also included murder charges.

The top court has scheduled the matter for further hearing after six weeks.

20221008-181801

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