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Report No. 198

(Q) 16. Instead of examining the witness through the video-link procedure, will it be sufficient if a list of questions is handed over to the Court with a request to the Court to put those questions to the witness? Will it preclude fair and effective cross-examination, if the accused or his counsel is thus confined to a set list of questions and without the normal advantage of putting questions arising out of the answers of the witness to particular questions?

In a normal trial, it is the practice that during examination of a witness in court, the prosecutor and the defence counsel put questions to the witness for answer. But in order to preclude the accused and his counsel from seeing the witness, it is sometimes suggested that a list of questions may be handed over to the Court with a request that the Court may put those questions to the witness.

Here the question arises whether such a procedure will be able to qualify the test of 'fair trial' which requires effective cross examination? Because in this procedure, the defence may not be able to put all those questions which may arise out of the answers given by the witness.

Most of the respondents are not in favour that a list of questions be handed over to the Court. Such a procedure, as stated by respondents, will adversely affect right of accused to effectively cross examine the witness.

Only 5 respondents (2 Police Officials, 1 Judge and 2 others) are in favour that list of questions may be given to the Court and the Court may put these questions to the witness.

On the other hand, 28 respondents (6 State Governments, 8 Police Officials, 2 Judges of High Court, and 12 others) have opposed the idea of submitting list of questions to the Court.

7 respondents, however, are of the view that such a procedure can be adopted only in a few cases, like offences against women and child, or other serious offences, and not as a routine course. Among these 8 responses, 2 are from State of Governments, 3 are from Police Officers, and 2 are from others.

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