Read Order: Manohari Devi v. Harvel Singh and Others

Monika Rahar

Chandigarh, February 17, 2022:  The Punjab and Haryana High Court has upheld the decision of the revisional court in which application of accused under Section 217 of Cr.P.C. seeking to recall witnesses for examination/ re-examination because of the addition of Sections 325 and 427 of IPC in a case registered against them under Sections 452 and 323, r/w Section 34 of IPC, was allowed.

The revisional court allowed the said application of the accused on the ground that it was the right of any person to recall/re-examine a witness after a charge had been altered. 

The case before the bench of Justice Amol Rattan Singh originated when the accused-respondent filed an application before the Trial Court under Section 217 of Cr.P.C. for recalling witnesses for examination/ re-examination after some additional charges were framed against them by the trial court. 

This application however was dismissed by the trial court on the ground that when it ordered the altering/ adding to the charges, it was made clear that no fresh evidence would be led by either party as the substance of the charges were within the knowledge of the accused persons and the nature of the injuries were also within their knowledge and further, that they already cross-examined all witnesses including doctors on the aforesaid points. The Court also stated that no reason was furnished in the application for recalling any witnesses and that the same was filed just to delay the proceedings.  

Against this order of the Trial Court, a revision was filed before the Court of Addl. Sessions Judge who allowed that petition vide the impugned order. 

The Addl. Sessions Judge, after referring to Sections 216 and 217 of the Cr.P.C. as also to the Supreme Court in  Bhimanna v. state of Karnataka, (2012) 9 SCC 650, held that it was the right of any person to recall/re-examine a witness after a charge had been altered; consequently, the trial court was directed to provide two effective opportunities to the accused for cross-examining either all or as many prosecution witnesses, as they wished to examine. 

The petitioner’s counsel reiterated the reasoning given by the trial court to submit that as a matter of fact the application under Section 217 of Cr.P.C. was filed only to delay proceedings, and simply because the offences punishable under Sections 325 and 427 of IPC were added as charges against the accused, the earlier charges being in respect of offences punishable under Sections 452 and 323, r/w Section 34 of the IPC, there would be no reason to recall such witnesses for cross-examination, as they were already cross-examined in detail as regards the offences punishable under Sections 452 and 323 of the IPC.

After having considered the case, the Court observed that as regards the charge under Section 325 (punishment for voluntarily causing grievous hurt) of IPC and one under Section 323 (punishment for voluntarily causing hurt) thereof, there was not much ground for recalling witnesses as the only difference between these injuries was of the extent/ the number of injuries, but regarding the addition of charge under Sections 427 (mischief causing damage to the amount of fifty rupees) of IPC, the Court opined that the revisional court did not err in passing the impugned order. 

Further, the Court added that the revisional court was correct in directing that two effective opportunities be granted to the accused to recall the witnesses as they wish to for cross-examination after the charges were altered by the addition of two more offences.

Hence, the petition was dismissed.

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