On 16th April 2019, in the matter of Manju Devi v. State of Rajasthan & Anr., the Hon’ble Supreme Court pronounced that the age of a case, by itself, cannot be decisive of the matter when a prayer is made for examination of a material witness.
The discretionary powers like those under Section 311 CrPC are essentially intended to ensure that every necessary and appropriate measure is taken by the Court to keep the record straight and to clear any ambiguity in so far as the evidence is concerned as also to ensure that no prejudice is caused to anyone. (Para 9.1)
The length/duration of a case cannot displace the basic requirement of ensuring the just decision after taking all the necessary and material evidence on record. In other words, the age of a case, by itself, cannot be decisive of the matter when a prayer is made for examination of a material witness. (Para 12)
Copy of judgment:Judgement_16-Apr-2019