Long duration of a case cannot displace the basic requirement of ensuring the just decision

Manju Devi Vs State of Rajasthan and Anr

Supreme Court

16/04/2019

CRIMINAL APPEAL NO.688 OF 2019

About/from the judgment:

Supreme Court has held that the age of a case, by itself, cannot be decisive of the matter when a prayer is made for examination of a material witness.

 

In Sessions Case No. 05 of 2015 in the Court of Additional Sessions Judge Ratangarh, District Churu (Rajasthan), the accused-respondent No. 2 is facing trial for offences under Sections 302, 304-B and 498-A of the Indian Penal Code (‘IPC’) due to the death of his wife under unnatural circumstances in Nigeria. The appellant, mother of the deceased, moved an application under Section 311 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (‘CrPC’) in the said case, seeking summoning of one Dr. I. Yusuf (who had conducted first postmortem of the dead-body of the appellant’s daughter in Nigeria) through High Commission of Nigeria or to record his evidence through video-conferencing, after issuing a commission for the purpose.

 

By its order dated 31.05.2018, the Trial Court rejected the application so moved by the appellant, essentially for reasons that the trial was pending for almost 8 years. High Court chosen not to interfere.

 

When the matter reached the Supreme Court, it observed “In fact, the principal reason weighing with the Trial Court in declining the prayer for examination of the said witness had been that the case was pending since the year 2010”.

 

It then observed “Though it is expected that the trial of a sessions case should proceed with reasonable expedition and pendency of such a matter for about 8-9 years is not desirable but then, 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”. (emphasis supplied)

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