Holding that the cross examination of a witness cannot be subjected to the convenience of an accused person more particularly in an offence under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (Pocso), the Madras High Court dismissed a petition challenging the order of Sessions (Fast Track Mahila) Judge, Namakkal, which refused to recall the witness for the purpose of cross examination.
As per the case, Sakthivel is facing trial for an offence under various sections of Pocso Act. Five witnesses were examined on February 6, 2017. However, even though represented by a counsel, the petitioner chose not to cross examine the witnesses.
Thereafter, after more than a year, he moved an application under section 311 of Cr.P.C. to recall the five witnesses for cross examination. This was rejected by the Mahila Court on March 7 mainly on the ground that in a case involving a victim under Pocso Act, the victim should not be repeatedly exposed before the court to recall the traumatic experience and there is a clear bar under Section 33(5) of the Pocso Act.
Justice Anand Venkatesh also held that if the counsel representing the petitioner was not well on that day, nothing prevented the petitioner from filing a petition immediately for recalling the said witnesses.
“There is absolutely no explanation as to why it took a year and a half for the petitioner to file a petition seeking to recall the witnesses.”