SC: Inadequate questioning merely does not always prejudice accused

The Hon’ble Supreme Court, on 4th October 2019, in the matter of Fainul Khan v. State Of Jharkhand And Another pronounced that there cannot be a generalised presumption of prejudice to an accused merely by reason of any omission or inadequate questions put to an accused.

The Hon’ble Supreme Court observed that:

Section 313, Cr.P.C. incorporates the principle of audi alteram partem. It provides an opportunity to the accused for his defence by making him aware fully of the prosecution allegations against him and to answer the same in support of his innocence. The importance of the provision for a fair trial brooks no debate. (Para 11)

There cannot be a generalised presumption of prejudice to an accused merely by reason of any omission or inadequate questions put to an accused thereunder. Ultimately it will be a question to be considered in the facts and circumstances of each case including the nature of other evidence available, the kind of questions put to an accused, considered with anything further that the accused may state in his defence. (Para 12)

There will have to be a cumulative balancing of several factors. While the rights of an accused to a fair trial are undoubtedly important, the rights of the victim and the society at large for correction of deviant behaviour cannot be made subservient to the rights of an accused by placing the latter at a pedestal higher than necessary for a fair trial. (Para 12)

Copy of judgment: Judgement_4th-Oct-2019

-Adv. Tushar Kaushik

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