Witnesses in 27 cases to be examined physically : SC

New Delhi, Sep 16
The Supreme Court on Friday said that the proceedings in the 27 Manipur violence cases being probed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) will be conducted physically in the presence of a local Magistrate.
The 27 cases are being probed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
The top Court said that the statement of witnesses will be recorded and test identification parade of accused will be conducted in the physical presence of a local Magistrate who will digitally transmit the documents to Assam Court where the trial in these cases is pending. The order by the bench, headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) Dhananjaya Y Chandrachud, came after the top Court received a letter on September 13 from the Registrar General of Manipur seeking clarification on the Court’s August 25 order according to which the 27 CBI cases were shifted to Assam in the “interest of fair trial”.
Passing directions on the letter, the bench also comprising Justices JB Pardiwala and Manoj Misra said that the “statement of witnesses under Section 164 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) will be recorded by the local Magistrate in Manipur or elsewhere, where the witness is temporarily residing”. After recording the statement, “the same shall be sent along with the digital records of the case to the concerned Court in Assam”.
Similarly, the Court ordered the local Magistrate in Manipur to conduct the test identification parade — considered mandatory in sexual crimes where the victim has to identify the accused — of the accused lodged in Manipur jail and digitally transmit the information to the Assam district Court.
Earlier the Manipur High Court had wished to know if the Magistrate in Manipur was required to conduct this exercise or the same would be virtually done by the Magistrate sitting in Assam. The petitioners appearing for the victims supported physical recording of statement of witnesses suggesting that the same is effective when the victim is physically before the Magistrate.
The SC also received a letter from the Gauhati High Court informing that pursuant to the August 25 order, all necessary directions have been issued for constituting the Courts and assigning cases to the respective judicial officers in the State.
The SC had transferred these cases to the neighbouring State on a suggestion made by the Manipur Government in view of the prevailing situation in the State and to avoid possibility of any aspersions being cast on the trial Court Judges in Manipur who may invariably belong to one community or the other involved in the ethnic strife. The SC in its order issued last month had said, “This is in the interest of the victims and the survivors...We are making it clear neither the victims nor the witnesses will be made to travel.” Hindustan Times