The following practice guidelines should be followed by trial courts in the conduct of a criminal trial, as far as possible:
- A detailed case calendar must be prepared at the commencement of the trial after framing of charges.
- The case calendar must specify the dates on which the examination in chief and cross examination (if required) of witnesses is to be conducted.
- The case calendar must keep in view the proposed order of production of witnesses by parties.
- Testimony of witnesses deposing on the same subject matter must be approximately scheduled.
- The request for deferral under Section 231(2) of the Cr.P.C. must be preferably made before the preparation of the case calendar.
- The grant for request of deferral must be premised on sufficient reasons justifying the deferral of cross examination of each witness, or set of witnesses.
- While granting a request for deferral of cross examination of any witness, the trial courts must specify a proximate date for the cross examination of that witness, after the examination in chief of such witness(es) as has been prayed for.
- The case calendar, prepared in accordance with the above guidelines, must be followed strictly, unless departure from the same becomes absolutely necessary.
- In cases where trial courts have granted a request for deferral, necessary steps must be taken to safeguard witnesses from being subjected to undue influence, harassment or intimidation.