ISSUES REGARDING HOSTILE WITNESS – NATIONAL AND TRANSNATIONAL PRACTICES
1. WHAT DO WE UNDERSTAND BY A WITNESS
The expression “witness” has not been defined in Criminal Procedure Code, 1973. According to Oxford dictionary meaning witness means” one who gives testimony in a Court”
Black’s Law Dictionary defines witness as one who sees, knows, or vouches for something, or one who gives testimony, under oath or affirmation in person or by oral or written deposition, or by affidavit.
"Witnesses" as Jeremy Bentham said: are the eyes and ears of justice. If the witness himself is incapacitated from acting as eyes and ears of justice, the trial gets paralysed.
In Swaran Singh v State of Punjab, the Supreme Court observed, “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.”
The Justice Malimath Committee opined that, “by giving evidence relating to the commission of an offence, he performs a sacred duty of assisting the court to discover the truth. It is because of this reason that the witness either takes an oath in the name of God or solemnly affirms to speak the truth, the whole of the truth and nothing but truth. He performs an important public duty of assisting the Court in deciding on the guilt or otherwise of the accused is the case. He submits him self to cross examination and can not refuse to answer question on the ground that the answer will incriminate him.”
IMPORTANCE OF PROPER APPRECIATION OF EVIDENCE
The need for proper appreciation of evidence to determine who is a witness is brought forth in the judgement of the Delhi High Court, State v Sidhartha Vashisht And Ors. on 18 December, 2006 i.e. the Jessica Lal Murder Case. A witness of utmost importance was Beena Ramani, PW-20. The trial court held she did not further the case of the Prosecution she was not an eye witness to the occurrence but only a witness to the...