In a recent judgment by a Supreme Court bench comprising of J. A.K. Sikri and J. Ashok Bhushan observed that video-conferencing can be used as a method of disposing testimony.
In its order, the Supreme Court directed a trial Court to record the testimony of a murder witness through video-conferencing. The witness had seen the murder of his employer, and thus his statement was very important to the trial.
The person was a key witness and claimed that there was a threat to his life if he came to Court. He requested the Court for setting up of a Commission to record his testimony as an arrest warrant had been issued in his name to take his statement. His request was however rejected by both the IndoreTrial Court and the Madhya Pradesh High Court. When he approached the Supreme Court, it upheld the decision of the lower courts stating the difficulty that would be faced in setting up of a Commission.
The Apex Court however in a bid to protect the interests of both the witness and the trial proceedings, directed the Court to take the testimony by way of video-conferencing, considering that the Indore Court has the facility of video-conferencing.
The Court also directed that the witness has to testify before the accused giving him an opportunity to cross examine.