29 November 2022

New Delhi : Fair trial is a constitutional goal and a basic fundamental right of every individual and it demands giving an opportunity to an accused to defend himself , the Delhi High Court has said .

The high court also said there is a constitutional duty in every court to determine the truth and reach a correct and just decision to prevent miscarriage of justice on ac count of absence of fair opportunity to a party .

Fair Trial Constitutional Goal
Fair Trial Constitutional Goal

The court’s observations came on a petition by an accused in a sexual offence matter , challenging a trial court order which dismissed his plea to re – examine two witnesses , including the victim .

The petitioner , who was facing trial for the alleged of fences under Sections 376 ( rape ) / 506 ( punishment for criminal intimidation ) of IPC and Section 6 ( Punishment for aggravated penetrative sexual assault ) of Prevention of Children from Sexual Of fences Act ( POCSO ) , contend ed that his lawyer was not able to cross – examine the two witnesses and same was causing prejudice to him as it would affect the future outcome of the case .

He said there was a dispute about the age of the victim and the case not being covered under the POCSO Act and trial court order , there fore , should be set aside .

Allowing the petitioner to undertake the cross – examin-ation of the witnesses subject to a deposit of Rs 5,000 as costs with the Delhi High Court Advocates ‘ Welfare Fund , Justice Swarana Kanta Sharma said the court has ” widest discretionary powers to summon , examine or recall and re – examine ” any person to find out the truth and arrive at a just and correct decision but the same has to be exercised judiciously and not arbitrarily .

” A constitutional duty has been cast on every Court to determine the truth and reach a correct and just decision so that miscarriage of justice does not take place by failure of affording an opportunity in a fair manner to the concerned party . In case the evidence sought to be brought on record is essential to the issue involved , the powers under Section 311 Cr.P.C. must be invoked . A fair trial is a constitutional goal and basic fundamental right of every individual , ” said the court in a recent order.

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