Section 311 Cr.P.C. – witness can’t be recalled merely because he gave a different statement in another case relating to the same incident: Supreme Court.
Any person connected to the case may be questioned at any level of the investigation or called in as a witness under Section 311 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. However, under the clause, a person who has previously been summoned or examined cannot be recalled or re-examined.
When considering the petition, the Supreme Court ruled that the same witness's differing testimony in other cases could not be used as a sole justification for recalling the witness in accordance with section 311 CrPC.
In the murder trial, a witness by the name of Naushad claims to have seen the petitioner with a firearm and recognized him as the assailant.
The same witness, however, declined to identify the petitioner in the second Gangster Act case, claiming that the petitioner's face was covered by a cloth and that prevented him from seeing it well.
The petitioner wished to recall the witness for the testimony from the first case again in light of the statement in the second case, and he submitted an application for this in the trial court. The application was denied by the trial court.
He then went to the High Court. The Court upheld the lower court's ruling and also found the rejection to be correct. Later, the petitioner petitioned the Supreme Court.
Even though the apex court agreed that the trial court's judgment was right, the fact that the witness's statements varied from case to the case was insufficient justification for recalling him for the first case, especially after a seven-year interval.
The petitioner's counsel cited the Supreme Court decision in Sudevanand v. State through the Central Bureau of Investigation (2012) and said that it involved identical facts and the witness recall was approved by the court.
The court responded to the argument by stating that the two cases are distinct. The witness made a different statement in front of the investigation commission than he did during the trial in the mentioned case.
Therefore, it was appropriate to call the witness back in that instance. The bench dismissed the special leave petition while upholding the High Court’s ruling.