“231. Evidence for prosecution.–(1) On the date so fixed, the Judge shall proceed to take all such evidence as maybe produced in support of the prosecution.
(2) The Judge may, in his discretion, permit the cross-examination of any witness to be deferred until any other witness or witnesses have been examined or recall any witness for further
Confers a discretion on the Judge to defer the cross examination of any witness until any other witness or witnesses have been examined, or recall any witness for further cross
examination, in appropriate cases. Judicial discretion has to be exercised in consonance with the statutory framework and context while being aware of reasonably fore-seeable consequences -
The party seeking deferral under Section 231(2) of the Cr.P.C. must give sufficient reasons to invoke the exercise of discretion by
the Judge, and deferral cannot be asserted as a matter of right - While it is for the parties to decide the order of production and examination of witnesses in accordance with the statutory
scheme, a Judge has the latitude to exercise discretion under Section 231(2) of the Cr.P.C. if sufficient reasons are made out for de-viating from the norm.
Cr.P.C., Section 231(2) – Guiding principles - There cannot be a straitjacket formula pro-viding for the grounds
on which judicial discretion under Section 231(2) of the Cr.P.C. can be exercised - The exercise of discretion has to take place on a casetocase basis - The guiding principle for a
Judge under Section 231(2) of the Cr.P.C. is to ascertain whether prejudice would be caused to the party seeking deferral, if the application is dismissed - While deciding an Ap-plication under
Section 231(2) of the Cr.P.C., a balance must be struck between the rights of the accused, and the prerogative of the prosecution to lead evidence - The following factors must be kept in
• possibility of undue influence on witness(es);
• possibility of threats to witness(es);
• possibility that nondeferral would enable subsequent witnesses giving evidence on
similar facts to tailor their testimony to circumvent the defence strategy;
• possibility of loss of memory of the witness(es) whose examination inchief has been
• occurrence of delay in the trial, and the nonavailability of witnesses, if deferral is
al-lowed, in view of Section 309(1) of the Cr.P.C..
These factors are illustrative for guiding the exercise of discretion by a Judge under Section 231(2) of the