Section 311 of The Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 II

A wife died under unnatural circumstances in Nigeria. Her mother moved an application under Section 311 seeking a) summoning of Dr. I. Yusuf [Department of Pathology, Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital] through High Commission of Nigeria or b) recording Dr. I. Yusuf’s evidence through video-conferencing, after issuing a commission for the purpose. Dr. I. Yusuf had opined that the cause of death was “asphyxia secondary to strangulation.

It needs hardly any emphasis that the discretionary powers like those under Section 311 are essentially intended to ensure that every necessary and appropriate measure is taken by the Court to keep the record straight and to clear any ambiguity in so far as the evidence is concerned as also to ensure that no prejudice is caused to anyone. The principles underlying Section 311 and amplitude of the powers of the Court thereunder have been explained by this Court in several decisions [Mohanlal Shamji Soni, 1991 Supp (1) SCC 271; Zahira Habibulla H. Sheikh, (2004) 4 SCC 158, Mina Lalita Baruwa, (2013) 16 SCC 173; Rajaram Prasad Yadav, 2013 (14) SCC 461; Natasha Singh, 2013 (5) SCC 741]. In the present case, where the witness Dr. I. Yusuf is residing in Nigeria, in order to avoid inconvenience to the witness as also to the parties, issuing of commission and recording his evidence through video-conferencing appears to be a viable alternative. Trial Court shall take all the necessary measures for ensuring the examination of the witness concerned by issuing commission and/or recording his statement through video-conferencing and shall also ensure expeditious proceedings so as to conclude the matter at the earliest.”

Hon’ble Justice Dinesh Maheshwari, Manju Devi v. State of Rajasthan, [Criminal Appeal No. 688 of 2019].

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