Decided on August 24,2016

Ram Mehar And Others Etc. Etc. Respondents


DIPAK MISRA, J. - (1.) Present appeals, by special leave, assail the order dated 09.03.2016 passed by the High Court of Punjab and Haryana at Chandigarh in CRM -M No. 482 of 2016 and CRM -M No. 484 of 2016 whereby the learned single Judge in exercise of the power under Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (for short "CrPC") has annulled the order of the learned First Additional Sessions Judge, Gurgaon passed on 16.12.2015 wherein he had rejected the prayer of the accused persons seeking recall of the witnesses under Section 311 read with Section 231(2) CrPC.
(2.) To appreciate the controversy that has emanated in these appeals, it is obligatory to state the facts in brief. The prosecution case before the trial court is that on 18.07.2012 about 7 p.m. the accused persons being armed with door beams and shockers went upstairs inside M1 room of the Manesar Factory of Maruti Suzuki Limited, smashed the glass walls of the conference room and threw chairs and table tops towards the management officials, surrounded the conference hall from all sides and blocked both the staircases and gave threats of doing away with the lives of the officials present over there. As the allegations of the prosecution further unfurl, the exhortation continued for quite a length of time. All kind of attempts were made to burn alive the officials of the management. During this pandemonium, the entire office was set on fire by the accused persons and the effort by the officials to escape became an exercise in futility as the accused persons had blocked the staircases. The police officials who arrived at the spot to control the situation were assaulted by the workers and they were obstructed from going upstairs to save the officials. Despite the obstruction, the officials were saved by the police and the fire was brought under control by the fire brigade. In the incident where chaos was the sovereign, Mr. Avnish Dev, General Manager, Human Resources of the Company was burnt alive. The said occurrence led to lodging of FIR No. 184/2012 at Police Station Manesar. After completion of the investigation, the police filed charge sheet against 148 workers in respect of various offences before the competent court which, in turn, committed the matter to the court of session and during trial the accused persons were charged for the offences punishable under Sections 147/ 148/ 149/ 452/ 302/ 307/ 436/ 323/ 332/ 353/ 427/ 114/ 201/ 120B/ 34/ 325/ 381 and 382 IPC.
(3.) The evidence of the prosecution commenced in August, 2013 and was concluded on 02.03.2015. Recording of statements of the accused persons under Section 313 CrPC was concluded by 13.04.2015. After the statements under Section 313 CrPC were recorded, the defence adduced its evidence by examining number of witnesses. Be it noted, when an application for bail was filed before the trial court and it was rejected upto the High Court, some accused persons moved this Court by filing Special Leave Petition (Criminal) Nos. 9881 -9882 of 2013 and this Court on 17.02.2014 passed the following order: - "On 3.2.2014, this Court had directed learned counsel for the State of Haryana to inform the Court as to how many witnesses, the State proposes to examine and approximately how much time it will take. Mr. K.T.S. Tulsi, learned senior counsel appearing on behalf of the State, has informed the Court that as of today, the prosecution wishes to examine total 186 witnesses, out of which 92 are eye -witnesses. However, as presently advised, the prosecution wants to examine only 23 eye witnesses. Two of the eye witnesses have already been examined. Therefore, 21 more eye -witnesses have to be examined. In view of this statement, we do not propose to pass any order on the bail application filed by the petitioner. We feel that it would be appropriate to give directions to the learned Sessions Judge to dispose of the trial as expeditiously as possible. We are informed that in a month, only one or two days are assigned by the learned Sessions Judge to this case. We are aware of the pressure under which the learned Sessions Judge is working. However, considering the peculiar nature of the offence and the number of persons involved in this case, we feel it would be in the interest of justice to expedite examination of eye witnesses and for that to take up the matter on day to day basis, if required. We direct the learned Sessions Judge to examine all the eye -witnesses by 30.4.2014. Needless to say that it will be open to the petitioner to prefer a bail application the after eye -witnesses are examined. We make it clear that on the merits of the petitioner's case, we have expressed no opinion." ;

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