HC: Can’t be affected by hostile witnesses

The Bombay High Court on Wednesday observed that it could not be affected by the developments in the trial court in the fake encounter case of Sohrabuddin Sheikh, Kauser Bi and Tulsiram Prajapati.

After a five-month break, Justice A.M. Badar has resumed the hearing in the petition filed by the CBI and Sohrabuddin’s brother Rubabuddin Sheikh against the lower court’s order discharging police officers and a constable accused in the case.

Advocate Gautam Tiwari, representing Mr. Shaikh, read a statement of a prime eyewitness, Nathuba Jadeja, in the case. The counsel representing the discharged officers brought to the court’s notice that Mr. Jadeja had turned hostile.

Justice Badar refused to accept this argument. “We have read in the newspapers that witnesses are turning hostile, so the moment you raised an objection I understood that he (Jadeja) too must have turned hostile. That doesn’t matter at the revisional stage, since this court can’t be affected by what is going on in the trial court right now. I have to go by what has been presented in the chargesheet.”

The judge went on to say, “It is unfortunate, but the longer a trial takes, the greater the chances that witnesses begin turning hostile and the accused then say they must be discharged. Apprehending such a situation, I had refused to stay the trial in the case in November last year.”

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