Cross-Examination of witnesses cannot be denied to the accused: Delhi High Court
Citation: Avinash Mishra v Union of India (Delhi High Court, 2014 (215) DLT 714)
- The procedure adopted in arriving at a finding has to be fair and materials have to be considered in a fair, reasonable and dispassionate manner.
- Cross-examination ought not to be denied.
The petitioner was accused of sexual harassment by a lady officer. The petitioner has challenged the proceedings on the grounds that he was not allowed to cross examine the witnesses nor was the statements of the witnesses furnished to him during the ICC proceedings.
Whether the proceedings held by the Internal Complaints Committee adhered to the principles of natural justice.
The inquiry report made by the complaints was set aside on the grounds that the proceedings conducted by the ICC did not adhere to the principles of natural justice.
It was held by the court that the procedure adopted for coming at a finding, has to be fair, and the materials also should be considered in a fair, reasonable and dispassionate manner. Barring rare instances where the security or the victim would be in peril, cross-examination of witnesses ought not be denied. The procedure adopted of not allowing the opportunity to cross-examine the witnesses in this case, vitiated the entire inquiry itself. Right to cross examine the witnesses is a principle of natural justice, therefore, the Petitioner claimed that the procedure followed by the Committee in not affording the basic principle of natural justice to him. Thus, violating Article 14 of the Constitution.