S 230,242 CrPC – Chronological Examination Of Witnesses

We received a query today in which it is stated that a Sessions Judge always undertakes examination of witnesses in a random fashion, based on availablility. In other words, whichever witness is brought to court by the police is examined, instead of following the chronolgical order given in the list of witnesses.

On research, we found a caselaw of Uttarakhand High Court in Rakesh Mittal vs C.B.I. :The prosecution cannot put the accused on surprise by producing any of the witnesses of its choice from the charge sheet, ignoring the chronology of the witnesses. However, if the witness who should have been examined as per the next witness of the charge sheet, the prosecution can request the trial court that the next witness in the order is not available and the prosecution be permitted to examine the next witness in order, but a prior permission from the trial court is required to the prosecution to examine a particular witness so that the accused may not be put to surprise. An accused has a right to cross-examine the witness when a witness is produced, but if a witness on its turn is not produced by the prosecution and all of a sudden a witness is produced and produced before the court without seeking permission of the court thereby breaking the chronological list of the witness as given in the charge sheet that would definitely hamper the right of the accused to cross-examine the witness.

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