The Supreme Court (SC) on Thursday pulled up Uber cab driver Shiv Kumar Yadav for harassing and embarrassing the girl whom he allegedly raped by asking her to appear once again for cross-examination in court.
“Do you think it’s easy for a young girl to go again and again to the court and recount her ordeal,” the bench asked Yadav’s counsel DK Mishra.
“Why do you want to cross examine the witnesses, when in the earlier instance you have not asked a single relevant question?” the bench asked.
The bench was hearing the Delhi Police and the victim’s appeals against a Delhi high court verdict that allowed Yadav’s petition to recall prosecution witnesses. Yadav was given the order after he said his first counsel was not experienced. One of the 14 witnesses who were to be re-examined was the victim.
The SC, however, was unconvinced with Yadav’s argument and called him a “past master”.
On perusing the trial court record, the bench remarked the accused wanted to simply “torture” the victim who was asked to re-appear even though the defence counsel had already examined her.
She has gone to the trial court thrice after the HC order.
“He is so brilliant and well advised that he raised a perfect objection. He is a past master. He raises a perfectly legal and sustainable objection which a cab driver is not expected to raise. It is so apparent he is a past master,” said a bench of Justices JS Khehar and AK Goel, reserving judgment on the victim’s appeal.
The bench told Yadav’s counsel that the plea for recall of witnesses was a carefully thought of device to derail the trial.
“We are making it impossible to punish the guilty,” the bench said. It added Yadav had turned down free legal aid counsel and instead engaged a private lawyer of his own choice. Thereafter, he dumped him and engaged Misra as his new counsel.
The apex court also found fault with the Delhi high court for passing a 67-page judgment in favour of Yadav, without giving any valid reasons. Yadav is accused of raping a 25-year-old passenger on December 5, 2014, after kidnapping and beating her up at an isolated spot in the national Capital.