The Supreme Court on Wednesday said that it will lay down a law as to whether an accused has got the right to get witnesses recalled for their re-examination in a criminal case.”We are going to lay down the law that whether witnesses can be recalled at the behest of an accused,” a bench headed by Justice JS Khehar said.
The bench was hearing two separate petitions filed by the Uber rape case victim and the city police against the Delhi High Court order allowing the accused taxi driver to recall 13 prosecution witnesses, including the victim in the trial.
The bench, meanwhile, also summoned the trial court record of the case before it for next date of hearing on April 22.
It also asked the counsel for accused Shiv Kumar Yadav to furnish the documents, which are written in vernacular language, to the office of the Attorney General for their translation in English.
“You (counsel for accused) are the beneficiary of the (High Court) order and you are delaying the proceedings. It’s a matter having far reaching consequences. Since proceedings have already been stalled, we will not delay it further,” the bench said when Yadav’s lawyer sought six weeks’ time for filing his reply to the petitions filed by the victim and Delhi Police.
The bench has asked Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi and senior advocate Colin Gonsalves, counsel for the victim, to provide the list of judgements, their written submissions and said the translated copy of the records be submitted by the accused within ten days.
Earlier, on two different dates, the apex court had issued notice to the accused on the petitions of the 25-year-old victim and Delhi Police, respectively.
On March 20, the city police had filed the plea against recall of witnesses claiming that the High Court’s order to recall the victim as witness in the case would cause further harassment to her.