Sajjan Kumar’s lawyer did not conclude the cross examination of Jagdish Kaur even on 12th August 2010, which happened to be the 16th day of cross. He had been assuring the court since the last 3 hearings that he would conclude the cross on the next date. On 12th August again he dragged the cross unnecessarily and at the end of the day assured the court that he would conclude it on the 13th of August.
However, on the morning of 13th August, Sajjan Kumar has obtained an order from the Supreme Court granting an ex parte (without giving the other side an opportunity to be heard) stay of the trial. I was informed of the orders of the Supreme Court at about 11.15 am. I immediately rushed to the concerned court and to my dismay, learnt that the news was indeed correct. I immediately mentioned the matter to the court and submitted that the stay order is likely to prejudice the case and in the least, the evidence of Jagdish Kaur who is already in the witness box should be allowed to be completed. I also informed the court that today is the 17th day of hearing of his cross.
Unfortunately, the court did not entertain my plea and stated that the stay was only for 2 weeks and now would be heard only after 2 weeks. The case has now been listed on the 27th of August 2010 for hearing before the Supreme Court.
This raises a vital issue- whether a superior court should stay the evidence of a witness already in the witness box? Unless there exist special circumstances of not continuing with the evidence, the Court should refrain from interfering. Completing the evidence would not cause any prejudice to the accused, but a stay of the evidence at the cross stage, a rather crucial juncture, is bound to seriously prejudice the case of the prosecution. In this case, it would definitely adversely effect the case of the victims. We are trying our level best to overcome such hurdles to ensure that no damage is caused to the case.
Discussions are being held amongst the lawyers involved and we are in the process of formulating a strategy.
Mr. Phoolka’s Chamber