Omission of a witness cannot be a plausible explanation for the delay in filing the petition under the provisions of Section 311 of Cr.P.C: High Court of Orissa

There was no explanation as to why the petition was filed so belatedly and that the evidence of the proposed witness was necessary for a just decision of the case and the prosecution had deliberately not cited him as a witness. The Hon’ble High Court of Orissa before The Hon’ble Mr. Justice Sashikanta Mishra held such an opinion in the matter of Pradeep Santi Vs. State of Odisha (Vigilance) [CRLMC No. 1571 of 2021]. 

The facts of the case were associated with an application filed by the petitioner under Section 482 Cr.P.C. The petitioner sought to quash the order passed by the learned Special Judge (Vigilance), Keonjhar dated 03.09.2021 because his prayer to summon a witness was rejected. The petitioner was an accused. The petitioner filed a petition after the closure of the evidence from the prosecution and defence. The said petition was rejected vide order dated 03.09.2021, which was later impugned in the present application. The counsel for the petitioner contended that the petition under Section 311 was rejected by the court below without application for absurd reasons. Furthermore, the counsel stated that the witness was not cited in the charge sheet and that the witness was vital for defence. 

The Counsel representing the petitioner submitted that the law permits the court to summon any person as a witness at any stage of the proceeding so as to arrive at a just decision in the case but the rejection of the same was unjust. The Counsel for the opposition stated that the petitioner had filed the petition after the long closure of the evidence and also stated that it was a tactic by the petitioner to delay the conclusion of the trial. 

The Hon’ble Court opined that no plausible explanation was presented regarding the delay in filing the petition. After much considerations, The Hon’ble Court held that “All the above factors thus cumulatively persuade this court to hold that there is no compelling necessity to summon the proposed witness to adduce evidence in the case at this belated stage. As such, this court finds no infirmity or illegality in the impugned order so as to interfere therewith.”

Therefore, the said case was dismissed.

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Judgment reviewed by Bipasha Kundu

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