Legal Provisions of Section 315 of Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (Cr.P.C.), India.
Accused person to be competent witness:
The section provides that an accused person can be a competent witness for the defence and like any other witness he is entitled to give evidence on oath in disproof of the case brought against him by the prosecution.
Where the accused voluntarily offers himself to be examined as a defence witness, the prosecution is entitled to examine him and the evidence so obtained may be used against the co-accused. However, the section precludes the Court from drawing any adverse inference from the non-examination of the accused as a defence witness.
The higher Courts have held in a number of cases that if an accused along with others, voluntarily steps in the witness box as a defence witness, he is subject to cross- examination by the prosecution counsel and the evidence brought out in such cross- examination can be used against his co-accused. If such a witness incriminates his co- accused who are jointly tried with him, they have a right to cross-examine him, if they so desire.
In the case of Gajendra Singh v. State of Rajasthan, the accused, after getting his statement recorded under Section 313, got himself examined as a defence witness under Section 315 of the Code. His request to produce certain documents was, however, turned down by the trial Court.
Disapproving the refusal, the Supreme Court observed that once the learned Judge allowed the accused to be examined as a defence witness on his application, the trial Court ought to have permitted him to produce the documents on which he relied. The Court therefore, remanded back the case to the Sessions Court.