Is it possible to bring surprise witness in Court as per movie Jolly LL.B?


It once happened years ago in Gujarat High Court when I was practising there.

I had filed a PIL to free some bonded labourers. After High Court issues notice to Govt and Police, the main witness, a bonded labourer disappeared before next date of case.

The police and Govt explained to court that there is no evidence in my PIL.

I pointed out that there are two more bonded labourers who are witnesses and I have kept them hidden in next court room!

The court allowed me to produce them. I succeeded. About 300 bonded labourers were freed.

In another PIL, after High Court issued notice, the corporate house let loose its wolves on petitioner. He called up me to withdraw petition. I asked him to send me written instructions.

The company’s lawyer, through some middleman, called me, offered bribe to withdraw PIL.

Bribe was not issue. But there was danger to life of petitioner. I placed the letter of client on record and matter was disposed off. The Judge understood my silence.

Since then I avoid filing PIL. It is not good for an ordinary man to file a PIL. There are so many wheels under wheel.

The normal rule of Evidence is clear that before producing a surprise witness, notice to other side has to be given and permission of court by a written order is necessary.

But in PIL, the courts are not bound by technicalities. In fact it can constitute a SIT type fact finding committee and can ask it to give report.

In a PIL, matters, Courts can certainly do what Judge in Jolly Ll. B. did.

However, the proceedings do not go as projected in movie. There are some procedures which has to be followed by Judge.

By and large. The movie has done a great job in telling people, about how helpless a judge and a good lawyer is, when evidence start disappearing:(

The life of PIL lawyer is always in danger. I know a very good PIL lawyer who died mysteriously.

So far as I am concerned, I have learned lessons and I avoid going into waters were sharks are swimming.

Haresh Raichura