Ut­tarak­hand HC tells Govt to amend IPC

Alive - - Contemplation -

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.

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