The Delhi High Court on Monday expressed concern at trial courts declaring witnesses hostile at the drop of a hat, resulting in injustice to many victims of crime.
A Bench of justices Pradeep Nandrajog and Aruna Suresh directed trial courts not to declare a witness “hostile” citing minor discrepancies in their statement and to go extra mile in their quest for truth.
"We have been noticing cases where the witness wrongly names an accused and is immediately declared hostile who is otherwise is fully supportive of the prosecution... This has to be avoided for the reason that once a witness is declared hostile the defence immediately pounces on the argument that the witness lacks credibility," the court said.
The court said it was also noticed that when witnesses of prosecution suffers momentary memory loss, prosecutors were not doing anything to refresh his memory as permitted by law nor asking any leading question.
The judges made the observations while hearing an appeal filed by a rape convict challenging the order of a trial court.