SC not to meddle in examination of accused by prosecutor

It is the sole discretion of the prosecutor to examine a particular witness in order to prove his case and the court will not interfere unless oblique motive is proved, the Supreme Court has said.

The accused may also summon any of the witnesses–not produced by the prosecution– as a defence witness, while the trial court is empowered to call anyone as a court witness, the apex court added.

A bench of Justices B S Chauhan and Dipak Misra enunciated the legal principle while upholding the life term awarded to a man for killing his estranged wife on September 2, 2004, a day before the couple had to appear in a Faridabad court for giving consent to mutually-agreed divorce.

In his appeal before the apex court against his conviction as well as sentence awarded by a trial court and confirmed by the Punjab and Haryana High Court, Rohtash Kumar made the plea, among other grounds, that the prosecution had not examined material witnesses to the incident, particularly a guard and a cook at the girls’ hostel where the convicted was alleged to have killed the victim by strangulating her.

He further claimed that the prosecution was also under obligation to examine Mahender, an attendant of the Taneja Guest House, where he was alleged to have stayed under a fake name after the incident.

The apex court did not find any merit in his plea by stating that he himself could have examined those witnesses in his defence.

“The prosecution is not bound to examine all the cited witnesses, and it can drop witnesses to avoid multiplicity or plurality of witnesses. The accused can also examine the cited, but not examined witnesses, if he so desires, in his defence. It is the discretion of the prosecutor to tender the witnesses to prove the case of the prosecution,” the bench said.

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