SC orders day-to-day hearing in serious criminal cases

Saying the accepted practice of adjournments has "caused serious inroads into criminal jurisprudence," the Supreme Court Friday directed trial courts to conduct day-to-day hearing when witnesses are being examined in serious criminal cases.

There is a "dire need" to direct courts to comply with provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure in letter and spirit so that trials are carried out on a day-to-day basis, a bench of Justices Swatanter Kumar and Fakkir Mohamed Ibrahim Kalifulla said.

"We wish to issue a note of caution to trial courts to ensure there are well settled procedures laid down under the Code of Criminal Procedure as regards the manner in which trial should be conducted in sessions cases in order to ensure dispensation of justice without providing any scope for unscrupulous elements to meddle with the course of justice to achieve some unlawful advantage," the bench said.

The bench was hearing the appeal of a convict in a robbery-and-murder case, who had challenged his conviction on the ground that the sole eye-witness in his case had turned hostile.

The bench lamented that the trial court had taken two months to conclude the eye-witness' examination just because the lawyer was said to be not available, and thus flouted the court's directions with impunity.

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