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Object Of Trial: The Quest For Truth And Justice

The objective of a criminal trial is to mete out justice, convict the guilty, and protect the innocent. Therefore, the trial should be a search for truth, not an overemphasis on technicalities. It must be conducted under rules that protect the innocent and punish the guilty. Failure to accord a fair hearing to either the accused or the prosecution violates even the minimum standards of due process of law.

The state has a definite role in protecting witnesses, starting with sensitive cases involving those in power who have political patronage and can wield muscle and money power to divert the trial, leading to tainting, derailment, and the casualty of truth.

Sections 311 of the Code of Criminal Procedure and 165 of the Evidence Act confer vast and wide powers on the presiding officer of the court to elicit all necessary materials by playing an active role in the evidence-collecting process. The power of the court under Section 165 of the Evidence Act is, in a way, complementary to its power under Section 311 of the Code.

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