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Sham Singh Vs. State of Himachal Pradesh and Ors. - (High Court of Himachal Pradesh) (09 Aug 2019)

Powers to summon any witness can be invoked at any stage of inquiry or trial, if such evidence appears to the Court to be essential



The present criminal revision petition is filed under Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (CrPC) for quashing of order passed by learned Judicial Magistrate. In facts of present case, the victim, who works as a Junior Engineer in the IPH Department, in her complaint, alleged that, Petitioner, who is a Contractor, keeps on calling her on phone and pressurizes her to establish sexual relations with him. She further alleged that, for the last six months, Contractor Sham Singh was mentally disturbing her. On these allegations, FIR under Sections 354A, 354D, 379 and 506 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 and Section 66A of the Information and Technology Act, 2000, was registered.

After investigation, police filed a report under Section 173 of the CrPC and consequently, accused is facing the trial. During the pendency of the trial, the victim through Public Prosecutor filed an application under Section 311 of the CrPC for placing on record one CD containing some vulgar remarks made by the accused. The trial Court, vide order allowed the application and ordered that the CD be taken on record. The trial Court further ordered examination of Keshav Kumar, the Government Contractor and summoned him for 15th May, 2019. This order is under challenge vide the present petition.

There are two limbs of arguments addressed by learned counsel for the Petitioner. The first limb touches the scope and powers under Section 311 of the CrPC to summon such evidence at a belated stage and second limb of his arguments is that, this application was simply a tactics played by the victim to drag on the prosecution and delay the outcome of the trial. The first limb of the argument has a very limited scope. Section 311 of the CrPC defines the powers of criminal Courts to summon any person as a witness, at any stage of inquiry, trial or other proceedings, if such evidence appears to the Court to be essential to the just decision of the case.

This Court is of the opinion that there is no necessity to refer all the vulgar remarks in such kind of application because the victim had placed on record CD, which can always be played by the Court to decipher the allegations. This is not an order, but allegations of vulgar remarks by a lady. The possibility cannot be ruled out that to save her dignity, she might have restrained from reproducing the text of the audio recording. Even otherwise, in the absence of hearing the CD, no conclusion can be drawn that, it did contain obscene language or not. Therefore, the first limb of the argument has no substance and is without any merit.

Regarding second limb of argument that, these proceedings are with a view to delay the trial, this argument itself is contradictory to the effect that, through the impugned order, the witness was summoned for 15.5.2019 and because of this petition, the trial Court proceedings are delayed till date. If the accused was very serious in early disposal of the entire trial, then he would have not opposed the examination of such a witness. The fear of the accused that the victim filed this application with a view to delay the trial, can be addressed by requesting the trial Court to complete the trial within a time frame. Petition dismissed.


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