The Supreme Court has set aside a Punjab and Haryana High Court order allowing the accused to recall prosecution witnesses on the death of a senior manager, allegedly burnt alive, at the Maruti Suzuki factory in Manesar during labour unrest in 2012.

Directive to sessions court

A Bench of Justices Dipak Misra and U.U. Lalit directed the sessions court to continue with the trial while allowing the Haryana government’s challenge of the High Court order.

On July 18, 2012, 51-year-old Avnish Dev, a senior human resources personnel, was allegedly burnt alive while 100 others were injured after the workers’ protest turned violent.

The trial court had rejected the plea of some of the accused to re-examine some key witnesses.

 The apex court observed that “a criminal trial does not singularly centre around the accused.”

‘Striking balance’

“In it, there is involvement of the prosecution, the victim and the victim represents the collective. The cry of the collective may not be uttered in decibels which are physically audible on the court premises, but the court has to remain sensitive to such silent cries and the agonies for, the society seeks justice. Therefore, a balance has to be struck,” the apex court said.

The Supreme Court said a “magnanimous approach” should not be confined to the accused only.

“Regard being had to the concept of balance, and weighing the factual score on the scale of balance, we are of the convinced opinion that the High Court has fallen into absolute error in axing the order passed by the learned trial court judge,” the judgment said.

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