Wednesday, 21 April 2021

Supreme court mandates a preliminary case management hearing in all criminal trial

  This court is of the opinion that the courts in all criminal trials should, at the beginning of the trial, i.e. after summoning of the accused, and framing of charges, hold a preliminary case management hearing. This hearing may take place immediately after the framing of the charge. In this hearing, the court should consider the total number of witnesses, and classify them as eyewitness, material witness, formal witness (who would be asked to produce documents, etc) and experts. At that stage, the court should consider whether the parties are in a position to admit any document (including report of experts, or any document that may be produced by the accused, or relied on by her or him). If so, the exercise of admission/denial may be carried out under Section 294, Cr. PC, for which a specific date may be fixed. The schedule of recording of witnesses should then be fixed, by giving consecutive dates. Each date so fixed, should be scheduled for a specific number of witnesses. However, the concerned witnesses may be bound down to appear for 2-3 consecutive dates, in case their depositions are not concluded. Also, in case any witness does not appear, or cannot be examined, the court shall indicate a fixed date for such purpose. The recording of deposition of witnesses shall then be taken up, after the scheduling exercise is complete. This court has appropriately carried out necessary amendments to the Draft Rules. {Para 17}

REPORTABLE

IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

ORIGINAL JURISDICTION

SUO MOTO WRIT (CRL) NO.(S) 1/2017

IN RE: TO ISSUE CERTAIN GUIDELINES REGARDING INADEQUACIES AND DEFICIENCIES IN CRIMINAL TRIALS  Vs THE STATE OF ANDHRA PRADESH 

Coram: S.A. BOBDE J, L. NAGESWARA RAO J, S. RAVINDRA BHAT J

Dated: April 20, 2021.

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