Tuesday 9 August 2022

Whether the court can permit accused to call prosecution witness examined, cross examined and discharged as defence witness?

 The power to summon any person as a witness or recall and re-examine any person already examined is the discretionary power of the Court in case such evidence appears to it to be essential for a just decision of the case. Under Section 233 Cr.P.C. the accused can enter upon defence and he can apply for the issue of any process for compelling the attendance of any witness in his defence. The provisions of sub-section (3) of Section 233 cannot be understood as compelling the attendance of any prosecution witness examined, cross-examined and discharged to be juxtaposed as DWs. In the present case PW-8 and PW-9 were juxtaposed as DW-1 and DW-2. This situation is not one what was contemplated by sub-section 3 of Section 233 Cr.P.C.

When such frivolous and vexatious petitions are filed, a Judge is not powerless. He should have used his discretionary power and should have refused relief on the ground that it is made for the purpose of vexation or delay or for defeating the ends of justice. In the present case, the witnesses were examined by the prosecution as eyewitnesses on 18.12.1990, cross-examined and discharged. Thereafter, an application under Section 311 Cr.P.C. was rejected. They were recalled purportedly in exercise of power under sub- section (3) of Section 233 Cr.P.C. and examined as DW-1 and DW-2 on behalf of the accused on 17.7.1995. This was clearly for the purpose of defeating the ends of justice, which is not permissible under the law.

Supreme Court of India
State Of Madhya Pradesh vs Badri Yadav & Anr on 31 March, 2006
Author: J H.K.Sema

Bench: H.K. Sema, Dr. Ar. Lakshmanan
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