Decided on September 20,1973

J.K. Rout @ Gyanendra Kumar Rout Appellant
STATE Respondents


G.K.Misra, J. - (1.) THE Petitioner is the accused in G.R. 20(1) (Vigilance) of 1966. In this case two prosecution witnesses were examined, cross -examined and discharged by the learned Sub -Divisional Magistrate, Cuttack. P.w. 3, the informant was examined in chief on various dates beginning from 15 -4 -1972. The cross -examination of that witness had to be deferred as copies of many important documents which were exhibited by the prosecution were not supplied to the accused. Copies of those documents were subsequently supplied, but p.w. 3 did not attend Court as he was suffering from high blood pressure. On a date prior to 26th of March, 1973 the learned S.D.M. passed an order that pending cross -examination of p.w. 3, examination of other witnesses would proceed as p.w. 3 was not available on account of illness. On 26 -3 -1973 one p.w. Kasinath Swain was present in Court. A petition was filed on behalf of the defence to defer examination of this witness till the cross -examination of p.w. 3 was complete. This application was rejected by the learned S.D.M. and it is against this order that the Criminal Revision has been filed.
(2.) THERE is no provision in the Code of Criminal Procedure restricting the discretion of the prosecution to examine witnesses in the order or manner it chooses. The learned Magistrate was, therefore, perfectly justified in taking the decision that he would examine other witnesses and finish them before p.w. 3 is available. If p.w. 3 does not attend Court on unreasonable grounds, he can be brought to Court under coercive process if the Magistrate so thinks necessary in the facts and circumstances of the case. The Magistrate, however, clearly states that p.w. 3 was not available as he was suffering from high blood pressure. This case illustrates how criminal cases are unnecessarily protracted. The learned Magistrate should not have granted time to the Petitioner to file a revision in the High Court. He should have proceeded with the examination of the witness Kasinath Swain who was present in Court and the Petitioner had enough time to approach the High Court.
(3.) THE attention of the learned Magistrate is invited to the observation of the Supreme Court in Mahendra Singh v. State of West Bengal, 1973 S.C.D. 753 wherein their Lordships observed that speedy disposal of criminal cases promotes confidence of the society in the administration of criminal justice which is essential for sustaining the faith of the law -abiding members of the society in the effectiveness of the rule of law. It also saves the accused from avoidable harassment inherent in unreasonable prolonged trials.;

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