Court pulls up trial court for declaring witnesses hostile

February 2nd, 2009 - 11:39 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Feb 2 (IANS) The Delhi High Court Monday expressed concern over trial courts in the capital terming witnesses hostile whenever minor differences are found in their statements, saying it was a disturbing feature of the criminal justice system.A division bench of Justices Pradeep Nandrajog and Aruna Suresh said trial courts should refrain from this.

“While hearing criminal appeals, we have noticed a good number of disturbing features pertaining to sessions trial. The instant case has compelled us to pen down our experiences which, needless to state, are not reflective of a healthy and a vibrant criminal justice delivery mechanism,” the court said.

“We have been noticing cases where the witness wrongly names an accused and is immediately declared hostile, who is otherwise fully supportive of the prosecution. This has to be avoided for the reason that once a witness is declared hostile the defence immediately pounces on the argument that the witness lacks credibility,” the court said.

The court made the observations while hearing an appeal filed by a rape convict challenging the order of a trial court.

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