AS A large number of prosecution cases are falling flat in the district courts, with witnesses/ complainants turning hostile as the primary reason, the investigating agencies – UT police in this case – has started relying on alternative forms of evidence, including scientific and medical evidence, depending upon the nature of crime being investigated.
Considering the data of two months (March and April), it’s surprising that of 34 cases disposed of by the sessions court, Chandigarh, the court held only nine accused guilty of the crime. In the remaining cases, the accused walked free as the prosecution could not prove the charges. The figures raise serious questions on the investigations carried out by the UT police.
Chandigarh SSP Sukhchain Singh Gill said, “We were recently investigating a case wherein the victim, who was pregnant, had levelled rape allegations against a man. However, the police suspected another man as the accused. So there were two suspects in this particular case. We decided to get the DNA profiling done of both the suspects, the result of which is awaited. The real culprit will be the person with whom the samples match.”
Retired district and sessions judge Chandigarh B S Mehendiratta said, “I had taken up the proceedings of the Jammu & Kashmir sex scandal when I was the district and sessions judge in district courts Chandigarh. One of the victims tried to turn hostile when her statement was being recorded but then I presented the questions in such a manner that she could not.”
A retired judge of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, Justice Mehtab Singh Gill said, “The role of judiciary is crucial. The time has come when the judges have to put their foot down. The judiciary should start using coercive methods to ensure that witnesses do not turn hostile, such as non-bailable warrants against those witnesses who do not depose before the court and perjury proceedings as a tool to ensure justice is delivered.”
SSP Sukhchain Singh, asserted, “There are three types of evidence scientific evidence, direct evidence from the spot and circumstantial evidence. Now we are emphasising on scientific evidence as well.”