Allahabad: Allahabad High Court has observed that stringent laws are unlikely to check crimes against women unless witnesses appear in court and give evidence and do not turn hostile or give false testimony.
"No introduction of new laws or making existing laws more stringent for punishing crimes against women can have any impact, unless witnesses appear in court and give evidence and do not turn hostile or give false testimony in courts.
"Hostile witnesses have indeed become a cancer which can ensure erosion of public confidence in our legal system," a division bench comprising Justice Amar Saran and Justice Bachchoo Lal said in an order dated September 3.
The court sought a response from DGP and the Director of Prosecutions of UP on measures taken to prevent hostility of witnesses and prosecution of witnesses who turn hostile.
It asked for data on cases where acquittals were recorded on the basis of hostility of witnesses and suggested setting up a mechanism at the district level for speedy production of absconding accused and ensuring appearance of witnesses.
The court also requested the Chief Justice to consider constituting a committee for acquiring data on the number of acquittals being recorded due to hostile witnesses and the directions to be issued for the guidance of trial courts in this matter.
The order was passed during hearing on an appeal of Umesh Yadav, who had challenged the judgement passed by Additional Sessions Judge of Hathras dated on May 29, whereby he was convicted and sentenced for murdering his wife.
The court fixed October 22 as the next date of hearing in the matter.