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Trial Judge bound to summon defence witnesses unless it vexes, delays or defeats justice
Antony Rosario Fernando Vs State of Kerala
CRL.M.C. No. 19 of 2021
About/from the judgment:
"...Dilating on the right of an accused to examine myriad of witnesses and that of the court to prune down the list, the court held as follows:
17. The purpose of furnishing a list of witnesses and documents to the court before the accused is called upon to enter on his defence is to afford an occasion to the court to peruse the list. On such perusal, if the court feels that examination of at least some of the persons mentioned in the list is quite unnecessary to prove the defence plea and the time which would be needed for completing the examination of such witnesses would only result in procrastination, it is the duty of the court to shortlist such witnesses. We may also add that if the court feels that the list is intended only to delay the proceedings, the court is well within its powers to disallow even the whole of it."
"13. The above being the position, the decisions in Arivazhagan or Santhosh Kumar cannot be understood to have held that the trial Judges have absolute discretion to prune or reject the list of witnesses submitted by the accused.
14. Going by the plain meaning of the words in Section 233(3) and the settled legal position, the trial court is empowered to interfere with only when the court is convinced that the application seeking issuance of summons is submitted for the purpose of vexation or delay or for defeating the ends of justice. In my considered opinion, the petitioner cannot be attributed with any such intention in having filed Annexures A2 and A3 and hence the interference with the list as per Annexure A5 order cannot be sustained."
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