Diplomatic row: HC allows Canadian NRI to record statement via VC - Hindustan Times
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Diplomatic row: HC allows Canadian NRI to record statement via VC

By, Chandigarh
Dec 16, 2023 08:08 AM IST

Dhindsa is a complainant in a criminal case registered on September, 2019 on allegations of criminal breach of trust. The trial court in Hoshiarpur had closed prosecution evidence on October 25, an order challenged by him in high court.

The Punjab and Haryana high court has allowed a Canadian NRI to record his statement in a criminal case via video conferencing as he was not able to secure Indian visa due to strained relations between the two countries.

As per the plea, the trial court in Dasuya had initially allowed recording of statement in July through VC.
As per the plea, the trial court in Dasuya had initially allowed recording of statement in July through VC.

“The evidence of the petitioner being complainant is necessary for the pursuits of justice and the mechanism of fair trial as enshrined under Article 21 of the Constitution of India is not only available to the accused but it exists for the complainant victim as well and depriving an opportunity to the petitioner to depose through video conferencing, who is stuck in Canada due to a diplomatic standoff between India and Canada, would be violative of his right to free and fair trial under Article 21 of the Constitution,” the bench of justice HS Brar observed allowing plea from one Sukhmanjit Singh Dhindsa.

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Dhindsa is a complainant in a criminal case registered on September, 2019 on allegations of criminal breach of trust. The trial court in Hoshiarpur had closed prosecution evidence on October 25, an order challenged by him in high court.

As per the plea, the trial court in Dasuya had initially allowed recording of statement in July through VC. In October, he filed fresh application stating that he was not able to secure visa to visit India for recording his evidence due to strained ties between the two countries, which was dismissed by the trial court.

The relationship between India and Canada, which have strained for the past few years, went into free fall after Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made the allegation in Canada’s Parliament on September 18 that there was a potential link between Indian agents and the killing of Hardeep Singh Nijjar, designated as terrorist by India. India rejected the accusation as “absurd”.

The high court observed that Criminal Procedure Code permits recording of evidence by way of video conferencing and such procedure has been duly recognised by high court by inserting “Model Video Conferencing Rules” as circulated by the Supreme Court. “The recourse to record evidence through video conferencing is all the more necessary when attendance of a witness cannot be procured physically and any delay would affect the progress of the trial, which would cause great hardship and inconvenience to the witness by travelling a long distance to depose,” the bench further recorded adding that not allowing him to give his statement through VC would cause grave prejudice to him being the complainant and render undue advantage to the accused persons.

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