The Kerala HC in the case of Gopal C V Central Bureau of Investigation observed that “the examination of a witness during trial may be conducted through video linkage mode as per the provisions of the Electronic Video Linkage Rules for Courts (Kerala), 2021, the same makes no difference as far as the right of the accused to cross-examine the witness is concerned.”
The court was hearing a plea challenging the decision passed by Special Court (CBI). The ground for the challenge was that CBI allowed the complainant’s examination via video conferencing. Since he was working in Dubai and his presence could not be ensured. The physical presence could have costed time as well as money. The petitioner argued that for an effective and fair proceeding witnesses must be present physically.
The court further observed, ” Since the purpose of enactment of Electronic Video Linkage Rules for Courts (Kerala), 2021 itself is to examine the witnesses whose presence could not be secured without undue delay or expenses and for other reasons stated in Rule 8(23), a person who has been employed in Dubai whose presence could not be secured without delay and also without spending travelling and other expenses when allowed to be examined through video linkage, in terms of the rules, in such a case the petitioner has no right to say that cross-examination by video linkage is not effective and as good as physical mode and, therefore, such examination should not be permitted.”