Uttarakhand HC tells Govt to amend IPC
The Uttarakhand High Court in the case of 1. Pramod Sharma 2. Balveer Singh Negi 3. Brijmohan @ Bijji v State of Uttarakhand in Criminal Appeal No. 114 of 2016 dated May 14, 2018 has passed a string of directions, including payment of reasonable travel allowance on date of recording of statement, adequate protection, installation of security devices like CCTVs and security doors in their houses to ensure their protection. It observed that witnesses are required to be shown utmost respect and their dignity has to be maintained during investigation and trial. There can be no denying it.
Simply put, this Criminal Appeal has been instituted against the judgment and order dated 17.03.2016 rendered by learned 1st Additional Sessions Judge, Dehradun in Sessions Trial No. 133 of 2008 whereby the appellants were charged with and tried for the offences under Section 302 IPC read with Section 34 IPC. The appellants were convicted and sentenced under Sections 302 read with Section 34 of IPC. The appellants were sentenced to undergo life imprisonment and to pay fine of Rs 20,000/- each under Section 302 read with Section 34 of IPC and in default of payment of fine, to undergo additional rigorous imprisonment for a period of two years. The half of the fine was directed to be given to the mother of the deceased as compensation under
Section 357 IPC.
Truth be told, the case of the prosecution, in a nutshell, is that PW-4 Smt Padma Mishra (mother of the deceased Monu Mishra) lodged the first information report to the effect that on 20.07.2008 she was present in her house. PW-1 Manoj who is resident of Patel Nagar came to her house and told that her son Monu Mishra and Chhotu @ Krishna had gone to bring CD from Rana Sinku’s shop. Manoj and her son turned towards the street to urinate. The appellants appeared on the spot. Appellant Pramod was carrying some weapon made of iron.
It was also revealed that appellant Brij Mohan @
Bijji was carrying iron rod and appellant Balveer Singh Negi was carrying the hockey. They attacked him. Manoj and Krishna tried to save him. The appellants also tried to attack them but both of them escaped from the spot. Her son was taken to Doon Hospital. Thereafter, he was referred to Indresh Hospital where he was declared dead.
As it turned out, the court noted that the youth named Manoj, who was with Monu at the time of the incident and who had testified about the incident and recognized the convicts, was cross-examined after a long gap of nine months leading to some contradictions in his statement. Two of the witnesses had turned hostile. Witnesses turning hostile have become very common now and this menace needs to be dealt with on a war footing!
Taking note of the minutest of detail on how the witnesses do not even any place to sit while waiting for their turn to depose, the Uttarakhand High Court Bench has also directed all judicial officers in the state to hold day-today trial noting that “unnecessary adjournments are given by the trial courts prolonging the trial and causing mental agony to the witnesses.” The Bench passed the directions while hearing the appeals of three lifers punished by the trial court for murdering a youth named Monu Mishra in
July 2008 due to strained family ties.
The Uttarakhand High Court also noted that the State of Uttarakhand, in a very progressive manner, enacted the Uttarakhand Police Act, 2007 which contains Section 54 qua witness protection and anonymity but it has not framed any rules to give effect to Section 54 of the Act, 2007 for witness protection as a measure of human rights protection.
Uttarakhand High Court has passed a string of directions to protect witnesses.
The court observed that witnesses are not adequately compensated and their dignity should be maintained.