SC to hear Uber rape victim’s plea against recall of witnesses

New Delhi : The Supreme Court will hear on Tuesday a plea by the Uber rape victim challenging the Delhi High Court order permitting the recall and re-examination of some prosecution witnesses — including the victim herself — by the accused driver after he changed his lawyer.

The bench of Chief Justice H.L. Dattu, Justice Sudhansu Jyoti Mukhopadhaya and Justice Arun Mishra said the matter would be heard on Tuesday after counsel Colin Gonsalves mentioned it on Monday.

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The victim challenged the high court order of March 4 that partially allowed the accused driver Shiv Kumar Yadav to recall some of the prosecution witnesses, including the victim, for further cross-examination.

Challenging the high court order, the victim contended that the conclusion of the high court that it was Yadav who alone stood to suffer on account of delay was totally wrong as it was the victim who suffers the most for having to go through a trial virtually from the beginning all over again.

The victim wondered how could, after not accepting Yadav’s pleas on various counts, the trial court and the high court “abruptly jumped to the conclusion that recall and re-examination of witnesses was necessary”.

The petitioner contended that the high court order was “unconstitutional and in breach of the principles regarding recall and re-examination” of the witnesses.

Allowing Yadav’s plea partially, the high court had imposed some conditions that included that the cross-examination of witnesses would be conducted on a day-to-day basis.

Yadav’s counsel would not repeat any question which has already been put to them in their cross-examination, and no adjournment would be sought on any ground in the case.

“Needless to say, it is impressed upon the learned counsel for the petitioner (Yadav) not to repeat any question which has already been put to the witnesses in their cross-examination by the earlier counsel,” the high court said.

The high court further clarified that “in case for any reason any witness is not available for the purpose of further cross-examination, his/her testimony shall be read in evidence as it is”.