The Supreme Court on Friday held that the television interview of the December 16 gang rape victim’s friend, the sole-eyewitness to the incident, cannot be used as evidence in the trial court proceedings.
A bench headed by Chief Justice Altamas Kabir set aside a March 7 Delhi High Court order that allowed accused Ram Singh and his brother Mukesh’s plea to exhibit the CD of the interview telecast on January 4 as piece of evidence.
“This is a case where there is an attempt by the defence to introduce evidence which is not contemplated in the scheme of Evidence Act. It can’t be permitted,” the bench said.
The lawyers of the accused wanted to use the interview to cross-examine the witness. In support of their demand, the advocates said they wanted to bring out certain contradictions in the witness’s statement given to the police and in the interview.
They had questioned his credibility as a reliable prosecution witness. According to them, the friend’s interview to the TV channel was a statement given during the course of investigation.
The trial court had refused the plea ruling the CD wasn’t an admissible piece of evidence. The HC later overruled this direction.
Agreeing with the Delhi Police contention, the SC said since the interview was given after the final report was filed against the accused, it could not be used as evidence under the law.
The police had opposed the plea, saying the media interview of a witness was inadmissible evidence under the law. It further stated the interview was taken in violation of the criminal procedure code that restrained the media from covering trial and inquiry proceedings related to rape.
The 23-year-old victim was brutally gang-raped and assaulted by six persons in a moving bus in South Delhi on December 16, last year. She died in a Singapore hospital on December 29.
Proceedings against the main accused, Ram Singh, abated after his death on March 11.
Trial against the remaining four is on in a fast-track court in Saket.
The sixth accused is a juvenile and is facing proceedings before the Juvenile Justice Board.