The Gujarat High Court on 6th June 2022 ruled that an accused person can be a competent witness if written permission or a written request is presented to the concerned court at the accused’s request under Section 315 Cr.P.C., through the single bench of Justice Niral R. Mehta in the case of Soni Anilkumar Prahladbhai vs State of Gujarat (Special Criminal Application No. 4888 of 2022).
FACTS OF THE CASE:
The present petition was filed under Article 226 of the Constitution of India, requesting a stay of proceedings against the Petitioner-accused for offences under Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act. The Petitioner contended that after completing the recording of additional statements under Section 313 of the CrPC before the Civil Judge, he made an application submitting his examination-in-chief, which was rejected by the Principle Civil Judge. The Petitioner subsequently filed a criminal revision application with the Sessions Judge, which was also rejected. As a result, the Petitioner filed the present petition with the High Court.
It was argued that the Courts erred in dismissing the application because they did not understand the terms of Section 145 of the Negotiable Instruments Act. Furthermore, Section 315 of the CrPC empowers the accused Petitioner to become a competent witness for himself. The judgement of Rakeshbhai Maganbhai Barot v. the State of Gujarat [R.SCR. A. No. 3367 of 2018] was relied upon to back up this argument.
The APP, on the other hand, challenged the petition, arguing that the Petitioner-accused might treat himself as a witness for himself under Section 315 of the CrPC by filing an application. However, no such application for permission to be treated as a witness was filed. Instead, he filed an application immediately seeking that the trial court accepts the examination-in-chief. Furthermore, as provided for under Section 243 of the CrPC, the accused may testify under oath.
The Bench stated that the main issue worth considering was whether the trial and appellate courts’ orders refusing to accept the accused’s examination-in-chief were reasonable. The Bench ruled that be considered as a witness, the accused must make a written request to the competent Court. After reading the examination-in-chief, the Bench noted that the Petitioner had not submitted a written request to the Court as required by Section 315.
Addressing Rakeshbhai’s case, the Bench noted that in that case, the accused had filed a written request for the examination-in-chief to be submitted. However, the Petitioner did not file such a request, and so the circumstances of both cases were materially different.
Accordingly, the petition was dismissed.
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JUDGEMENT REVIEWED BY NIDHI KUMAR