Pandemic, Natural Calamities and circumstances implicating Law and Order and matters relating to the safety of the accused and witnesses :High court of Sikkim

Petitioner seek a direction to the respondent to recall of witness power to be invoked to meet the ends of justice for strong and valid reasons with cautions and circumspection, and the same issue was held in the judgement passed by a single bench judge HON’BLE MRS. JUSTICE MEENAKSHI MADAN RAI, JUDGE. In the matter, The Karmapa Charitable Trust and Others v/s State of Sikkim and Others [ WP(C) No.44 of 2021] dealt with an issue mentioned above.

In this case, the learned counsel for the petitioner submits that’s the Learned Trial Court in Title Suit No.01 of 2017 vide its Order dated 21-07-2021, allowed 4 (four) witnesses of Defendant No.3, Respondent No.3 herein, to be examined through video Conferencing (for short, “VC”). Assailing the Order in WP(C) No.44 of 2021, Learned Counsel for the Petitioners advanced the argument that the only ground raised by the Learned Senior Counsel for the Respondent No.3 for examination of the 4 (four) witnesses by VC was the prevalence of the Covid-19 Pandemic and that it would not be possible for the witnesses, who are aged between 60 and 82 years, to travel to Gangtok in the said circumstances.

In WP(C) No.45 of 2021, the Petitioners assail the Order of the Learned District Judge dated 11-11-2021 in Title Suit No.01 of 2017 vide which the Learned Trial Court rejected an application filed by the Petitioners, under Section 151 of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908, seeking to examine 15 (fifteen), local witnesses of the Defendant No.3, before the examination of his 4 (four) witnesses through VC. A second prayer related to rectification of the address of the witness of Defendant No.3, Respondent No.3 herein.

The court perused the facts and arguments presented, it was the opinion that if any exigency or circumstances so require the law provides that the Court shall exercise its discretion, otherwise it shall be for the party concerned to decide which witness he seeks to examine first and cannot be based on the dictates of the opposing party or for their convenience. regard also I have to agree with the finding of the Learned Trial Court and hence the impugned Order dated 11-11-2021 warrants no interference.

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Judgment reviewed by Sakshi Mishra

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