Supreme Court laid down the following practice guidelines to be followed by all Trial Courts, while conducting a criminal trial.
From Para 12,
State of Kerala Vs Rasheed on 30 October 2018
12. The following practice guidelines should be followed by trial courts in the conduct of a criminal trial, as far as possible:
i. a detailed case-calendar must be prepared at the commencement of the trial after framing of charges;
ii. the case-calendar must specify the dates on which the examination-in-chief and cross-examination (if required) of witnesses is to be conducted;
iii. the case-calendar must keep in view the proposed order of production of witnesses by parties, expected time required for examination of witnesses, availability of witnesses at the relevant time, and convenience of both the prosecution as well as the defence, as far as possible;
iv. testimony of witnesses deposing on the same subject-matter must be proximately scheduled;
v. the request for deferral under Section 231(2) of the Cr.P.C. must be preferably made before the preparation of the case-calendar;
vi. the grant for request of deferral must be premised on sufficient reasons justifying the deferral of cross-examination of each witness, or set of witnesses;
vii. while granting a request for deferral of cross-examination of any witness, the trial courts must specify a proximate date for the cross-examination of that witness, after the examination-in-chief of such witness(es) as has been prayed for;
viii. the case-calendar, prepared in accordance with the above guidelines, must be followed strictly, unless departure from the same becomes absolutely necessary;
ix. in cases where trial courts have granted a request for deferral, necessary steps must be taken to safeguard witnesses from being subjected to undue influence, harassment or intimidation.
Citations: [2018 SCC ONLINE SC 2251], [2019 SCC 13 297], [2019 SCC CRI 4 552], [2019 AIR SC 721], [2018 KLT 4 783], [2018 CRIMES 4 288], [2018 AIC 192 212], [2019 CRI LJ 1516], [2019 KLJ 2 398], [2019 ECRN 1 46], [2018 INSC 1021]
Supreme Court initiate a Suomoto WP here to assess the effectiveness of the Guidelines issue above.