Directing the reporting officers of lower judiciary to enter “adverse remarks” in the annual confidential reports of judicial officers who do not hold the trial on day-to-day basis, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has also directed the investigating officers of Punjab Police to start recording statements of witnesses in the criminal cases by “audio, video and electronic means”.
“All the investigating officers in Punjab are directed to record the statement under Section 161 CrPC by audio, video, and electronic means forthwith,” the HC said in the order, adding that the Punjab home secretary will be “personally responsible” to implement the directions.
The division bench of Justices Rajiv Sharma and Harinder Singh Sindhu further directed the trial courts throughout Punjab to comply with the Section 309 of CrPC and examine the eyewitnesses expeditiously on continuous or day-to-day basis. “Adjournments for next day shall be granted only after recording cogent, convincing and special reasons. The reporting officers are directed to enter adverse remarks in ACRs of the judicial officers who do not hold the trial on day-to-day basis,” the order reads.
The HC in the verdict also reiterated the Witness Protection Scheme, 2018 and directed the Punjab government to comply with it to ensure fair and expeditious investigation and trials.
“Punjab is also directed that the material witnesses in heinous and sensitive matters are insured on short-term or long term basis to enable them to fearlessly testify before the court and also protecting their identity, changing their identity and relocating the witnesses,” reads one of the directions.
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