From the decision of the division bench of Supreme Court, this is the concurring opinion of Justice D.P. Wadhwa. Wonderful, indeed!
Swaran Singh Vs State of Punjab on 26 Apr 2000
D.P Wadhwa, J. (concurring)— I agree with the judgment pronounced by my noble and learned sister Ruma Pal, J. I, however, wish to add a few lines.
35. The first information report was lodged within 2-1/2 hours of the occurrence and the case registered against four persons, namely, Shamsher Singh, Jagjit Singh, Amrik Singh and Mittar Pal Singh alias Lovely. These four accused were named in the FIR. While Shamsher Singh surrendered a day following the lodging of the FIR, no steps were taken to apprehend the other named accused. The case was not only investigated by Sub-Inspector Karnail Singh, SHO of the police station concerned but also by Mohinder Singh, DSP, Baldev Sharma, DSP, Sanjeev Gupta, SP (Detective) and B.P Tiwari, DIG (Crime). When challan was put up, it was only against Shamsher Singh. A criminal complaint was filed by the complainant and all the accused were committed to stand their trial in the Court of Session for various offences. In the course of the trial, more than 50 prosecution witnesses were given up having been won over and the case hinged on the statements of seven witnesses which led to the conviction of Shamsher Singh and Jagjit Singh by the trial court, upheld by the High Court and now affirmed by this Court. The questions that arise for consideration are as to why the police did not challan the accused Jagjit Singh and why over 50 witnesses should have been given up. It only shows that the criminal justice system is in doldrums. There has to be honest investigation uninfluenced by any political or other pressure.
36. A criminal case is built on the edifice of evidence, evidence that is admissible in law. For that, witnesses are required whether it is direct evidence or circumstantial evidence. Here are the witnesses who are a harassed lot. A witness in a criminal trial may come from a far-off place to find the case adjourned. He has to come to the court many times and at what cost to his own self and his family is not difficult to fathom. It has become more or less a fashion to have a criminal case adjourned again and again till the witness tires and gives up. It is the game of unscrupulous lawyers to get adjournments for one excuse or the other till a witness is won over or is tired. Not only is a witness threatened, he is abducted, he is maimed, he is done away with, or even bribed. There is no protection for him. In adjourning the matter without any valid cause a court unwittingly becomes party to miscarriage of justice. A witness is then not treated with respect in the court. He is pushed out from the crowded courtroom by the peon. He waits for the whole day and then he finds that the matter is adjourned. He has no place to sit and no place even to have a glass of water. And when he does appear in court, he is subjected to unchecked and prolonged examination and cross-examination and finds himself in a hapless situation. For all these reasons and others a person abhors becoming a witness. It is the administration of justice that suffers. Then appropriate diet money for a witness is a far cry. Here again the process of harassment starts and he decides not to get the diet money at all. High Courts have to be vigilant in these matters. Proper diet money must be paid immediately to the witness (not only when he is examined but for every adjourned hearing) and even sent to him and he should not be left to be harassed by the subordinate staff. If the criminal justice system is to be put on a proper pedestal, the system cannot be left in the hands of unscrupulous lawyers and the sluggish State machinery. Each trial should be properly monitored. Time has come that all the courts, district courts, subordinate courts are linked to the High Court with a computer and a proper check is made on the adjournments and recording of evidence. The Bar Council of India and the State Bar Councils must play their part and lend their support to put the criminal system back on its trail. Perjury has also become a way of life in the law courts. A trial Judge knows that the witness is telling a lie and is going back on his previous statement, yet he does not wish to punish him or even file a complaint against him. He is required to sign the complaint himself which deters him from filing the complaint. Perhaps law needs amendment to clause (b) of Section 340(3) of the Code of Criminal Procedure in this respect as the High Court can direct any officer to file a complaint. To get rid of the evil of perjury, the court should resort to the use of the provisions of law as contained in Chapter XXVI of the Code of Criminal Procedure.
Citations : [2000 ACR SC 2 1648], [2000 AIR SC 2017], [2000 CRI LJ 2780], [2000 JT SC 6 623], [2000 RCR CRIMINAL 2 762], [2000 SCALE 4 153], [2000 SCC 5 668], [2001 SCC CRI 190], [2000 CRLJ 0 2780], [2001 SCC CR 0 190], [2000 AIR SC 1895], [2000 CRIMES SC 3 12], [2000 SUPREME 4 364], [2000 CRLJ 106 2780], [2000 CCR 2 149], [2000 SLT 4 138], [2000 SRJ 5 487], [2000 JCC SC 2 694], [2000 JT 6 623], [2000 CRIMES 3 12], [2000 RECENTCR 2 762], [2000 AIR SCW 1895], [2000 CRILJ 2780]
Other Sources :