The Supreme court momentarily clarified the scope of Section 311 CrPC of the Code of Criminal Procedure in its two ongoing judgments.
Section 311 arrangements with the power to summon material witness, or inspect individual present. Any Court may, at any phase of any request, trial or other continuing under this Code, summon any individual as a witness, or look at any individual in participation, however not summoned as a witness, or review and rethink any individual already inspected; and the Court will summon and analyze or review and reevaluate any such individual if his evidence appears to it to be crucial for the only choice of the case, the provision peruses.
One judgment was delivered by a bench involving Justices Indu Malhotra and Ajay Rastogi while permitting an allure against a Karnataka High Court order. The High Court had put to the side an order of the Trial Court permitting the application documented by arraignment for summoning the witnesses alongside getting the relevant records.
The Apex Court bench observed that the article fundamental Section 311 CrPC is that there may not be disappointment of equity because of misstep of one or the other party in welcoming the valuable evidence on record or leaving equivocalness in the statements of the witnesses analyzed from one or the other side.
The determinative factor is whether it is fundamental for the only choice of the case. The articulation that happens is “at any phase of any request or trial or other continuing under this Code”. It is, however, to be borne as a primary concern that the optional power presented under Section 311 CrPC must be practiced sensibly, as it is constantly said “more extensive the power, more noteworthy is the need of alert while exercise of reasonable caution…
…The point of every Court is to discover reality. Section 311 CrPC is one of numerous such provisions which fortify the arms of a court in its work to uncover reality by procedure endorsed by law. Simultaneously, the optional power vested under 10 Section 311 CrPC must be practiced prudently for solid and valid reasons and with alert and caution to meet the finishes of equity.
The bench especially alluded to the observations made in Swapan Kumar Chatterjee Vs. Central Bureau of Investigation 2019(14) SCC 328.
The initial segment of this section which is permissive gives absolutely optional power to the criminal court and empowers it at any phase of request, trial or different procedures under the Code to act in one of the three different ways, in particular, (I) to summon any individual as a witness; or (ii) to look at any individual in participation, however not summoned as a witness; or (iii) to review and rethink any individual already analyzed. The subsequent part, which is mandatory, forces a commitment on the court (I) to summon and analyze or (ii) to review and rethink any such individual if his evidence has all the earmarks of being vital for the only choice of the case.
It is very much settled that the power gave under Section 311 ought to be invoked by the court just to meet the closures of equity. The power is to be practiced distinctly for solid and valid reasons and it ought to be practiced with incredible alert and watchfulness. The court has vide power under this section to even review witnesses for reevaluation or further assessment, essential in light of a legitimate concern for equity, however the equivalent must be practiced subsequent to contemplating current realities and conditions of each case. The power under this provision will not be practiced if the court is of the view that the application has been recorded as a maltreatment of the interaction of law.”
Permitting the allure, the bench observed that the Trial Court judge was advocated in summoning the witnesses whose statements should be recorded to subserve the reason for equity, with the object of getting the evidence in guide of a fair choice and to maintain reality.
In another case, the bench including Justices DY Chandrachud and MR Shah observed that the genuine test for invoking Section 311 CrPC is whether it appears to the Court that the evidence of such individual who is looked to be reviewed is vital for the only choice of the case. In this case, the state had moved toward the Apex Court against dismissal of the application documented by it looking for reviewing of witnesses.
“In Manju Devi v State of Rajasthan, a two-Judge Bench of this Court noticed that an application under Section 311 couldn’t be dismissed on the sole ground that the case had been forthcoming for an over the top measure of time (ten years there). Or maybe, it noticed that “the length/term of a case can’t uproot the fundamental prerequisite of guaranteeing the only choice in the wake of taking all the vital and material evidence on record. At the end of the day, the age of a case, without help from anyone else, can’t be decisive of the matter when a supplication is made for assessment of a material witness”, the bench noted while permitting the appeal.