Trial of Offences (Section 4 of CrPc)
Trial should be fair trial. The Supreme Court of India, has held that a trial which is primarily aimed at ascertaining the truth has to be fair to all concerned. Fair trial means a trial in which bias or prejudice for or against accused, witnesses, or cause which is being tried eliminated. If witnesses get threatened or are forced to give false evidence, it would not result in fair trial.
Failure to hear material witnesses is certainly denial of fair trial. It will not be correct to say that it is only the accused who must be fairly dealt with. That would be turning a Nelson’s eye to the needs of the society at large and the victims or their family members and relatives. Each one has an inbuilt right to be dealt with fairly in a criminal trial.
The Supreme Court further held that if witnesses turn hostile either due to threats, coercion, lures, monetary considerations, political clouts and patronage and innumerable other corrupt practices ingeniously adopted to smother and stifle truth, the trial cannot be said to be fair. It has been emphasized by the Court that in these circumstances protection of witness is necessary.