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Nothing new about hostile witness: CJI

Sabharwal, however, accepted that hostile witness and inordinate delay in trial came in the way of law.

india Updated: Mar 11, 2006 22:22 IST

The issue of hostile witnesses, which has hogged the limelight in the wake of public outcry over the acquittal of all the accused in the Jessica Lall murder case, on Saturday confronted the Chief Justice of India YK Sabharwal, who skirted the question saying it was not a new phenomenon.

"Hostile witness is not a new phenomenon. When I started practice it was there...., it is a problem of society," he said at a press conference.

Without referring to the Jessica Lall Case, the CJI said the question could be asked to those who turned hostile.

"You should ask at different forums to those who were hostile witnesses," he said in veiled reference to some high-profile witnesses who retracted from their statements during the trial.

He said in the judicial system, "courts have their own limitations. That is why there is so much of discussion."

He, however, accepted that hostile witness and inordinate delay in trial came in the way of law and in such a situation the courts had their own limitations.

"The court cannot create its own evidence," he said adding that "basic principles cannot change and courts have to decide only on the basis of available evidence".

The CJI said the remedy lay in better investigation which could be done by separating law and order duty of the police from investigation of cases.

First Published: Mar 11, 2006 16:04 IST