Section 311 CrPC empowers Court to protect a petitioner against error of improper examination-in-chief by his counsel

Manipur High Court: A criminal petition seeking to allow the petitioner to recall himself as defence witness for re-examination, was allowed by a Single Judge Bench comprising of Ramalingam Sudhakar, J.

The petitioner, a rifleman in Indian Reserve Battalion, was accused of a murder. During the trial, the petitioner was examined as Defence Witness 1. He was further cross-examined by the Additional Public Prosecutor. Thereafter, the petitioner moved an application for his re-examination stating that though he had given correct facts as to the incident; by oversight, certain relevant factors were not mentioned. He pleaded that the Court may exercise power under Section 311 CrPC to allow the petitioner to be recalled and re-examined as defence witness, otherwise great prejudice would be caused to him due to the improper conduct of examination-in-chief by his counsel. The trial court rejected the application of the accused, thus, the petitioner filed the instant petition.

In order to settle the issue, the High Court perused Section 311 to hold that power granted under the Section can be exercised by the Courts in a case where the petitioner seeks substantial justice to lay his defence at the time of trial so that he should not be convicted on certain errors committed by learned counsel in not properly examining him. The Court found that the petitioner maintained a particular stand during his examination as well as cross-examination. He sought to clarify the events which happened during the intervening night of the incident. The Court was of the opinion that by filing the application, the petitioner was not trying to fill up any lacuna or loopholes in his case. In such circumstances, the petition was allowed giving the benefit of Section 311 CrPC to the petitioner. [Angom Indrajit Singh v.  State of Manipur,2018 SCC OnLine Mani 58, decided on 05-06-2018]

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