Report No. 198
(16) Instead examination 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?
This question refers to the procedure at the trial.
In this final Report, we have suggested that at the stage of preliminary inquiry during Investigation, accused need not be heard; and at the stage of preliminary Inquiry during inquiry and before recording evidence at the Trial, the accused is to be heard separately. We have provided in section 9(4) that in the latter type of situations, a list of questions can be given by or on behalf of the accused but not those which may lead to the identity of the witness.
In our view, it is not an effective alternative to closed-circuit TV with audio facility added. In the closed circuit TV, there is a semblance of a regular hearing though identity is not disclosed. Further the great advantage is that the defence lawyer can put further questions which arise out of the answers given by the witnesses. If a list of questions alone is given to the witness, the defence lawyer is confined to those questions and cannot put any further questions arising out of the answers of the witness.
There is no question of furnishing a list of questions at the regular trial. The two-way television or video link procedure will be followed and under that procedure, questions can be put via audio and video.
We, therefore, prefer to two-way closed-circuit television with twoway audio facility rather than the procedure of listed questions.