MADURAI: The Madurai bench of Madras High Court on Wednesday initiated contempt proceedings against Swathi, a key witness, who turned hostile, in Gokulraj murder case.
The court was convinced that Swathi made false statements on oath and thereby, she interfered in the administration of justice.
The order issued by a division bench of Justices MS Ramesh and N Anand Venkatesh stated that during examination, the court found Swathi repeatedly evading making a true statement. While recording her statement, the court recorded her demeanor.
The court physically saw Swathi in the witness stand and also had the advantage of seeing the video and it was clear that the person seen in the video was none other than Swathi along with Gokulraj, the deceased. When the CCTV footage was played, Swathi was specifically asked to identify the two persons in the video. The witness made a statement to the effect that, out of the two persons, one person looked like the deceased Gokulraj. However, Swathi expressed ignorance on the identity of the woman, who was seen next to him. In other words, Swathi refused to identify herself.
Despite asking her repeatedly to come out with the truth at least by identifying the woman, who’s seen in the video, she did not budge an inch. To ascertain whether the prime witness is under any pressure or threat from any side that prevented her from making a true statement before the court, she categorically stated that no pressure has been exerted on her from any quarters.
A false statement on oath given before the court strikes at the very root of the Criminal Justice System. A court could not ignore such a conduct, which has the propensity to shake the public confidence in judicial institutions. Hence, apart from the alternative remedy of proceeding against the witness for perjury, it is always open to the higher courts to initiate contempt proceedings to ensure that the administration of justice remains unpolluted due to false evidence being tendered before the temple of justice.
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