Cross-examination of witness vital to render justice in Pocso cases: HC

M Santhosh, Government Advocate (Criminal Side) countered the arguments of the petitioner submitting that there is a bar under Section 33(5) of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act to repeatedly call the victim girl to testify in the Court.
Madras High Court
Madras High Court

CHENNAI: Observing that the court understands the plight of the victim girl / Prosecution Witness One (PW1) in coming to the court to testify in Pocso Act cases, the Madras High Court made it clear that in a criminal trial, the cross-examination of a witness is absolutely necessary to render justice.

Justice G Chandrasekharan passed the order allowing a petition filed by L Subramanian, an accused in a Pocso case. The petitioner who filed this plea to quash the case submitted that the victim should be cross-examined again. According to the petitioner, the 15-year-old PW1 was not present on May 13, July 4, and August 01 last year for recording evidence.

“When PW1 was examined by the chief on November 10, 2022, my advocate did not appear for cross-examination. Therefore, I engaged a new advocate and filed a petition under Section 311 of CrPC to recall the victim for the purpose of cross-examination. However, the case was dismissed by the Principal Special Court for Exclusive Trial of Cases under Pocso Act, Coimbatore,” the petitioner submitted.

M Santhosh, Government Advocate (Criminal Side) countered the arguments of the petitioner submitting that there is a bar under Section 33(5) of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act to repeatedly call the victim girl to testify in the Court.

Acknowledging such submission, the judge said though there is a bar, cross-examination of the victim is much necessary in criminal cases.

“This court allows the petition to recall PW1 victim girl on condition that the petitioner should pay a sum of Rs 10,000 to her,” the judge ordered. Justice Chandrasekharan asked the trial judge to fix a date and the petitioner should complete the cross-examination of the victim on the same day.

“It is made clear that failing to avail this opportunity, will not entitle the petitioner to again seek the remedy of cross-examination of PW1,” the court highlighted.

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