New Delhi: Questioning the prosecution of all the witnesses, who took a turn over during the Jessica Lall murder trial, the Delhi High Court on Tuesday said the incident of turning hostile has become an ‘endemic’ and all such persons cannot be painted with the same brush.

A bench comprising Justices S Ravindra Bhat and G P Mittal said, "How will the case of the prosecution move? The incidents of witnesses turning hostile and doctored evidence have become endemic now. Somebody fears for his life, someone gets tempted and someone does not support (the prosecution) for obvious reasons. Should we go ahead and prosecute all of them?"

The bench sought the assistance of the public prosecutor on the issue saying "is that (prosecution of such witnesses) a solution? Ultimately, he will have to face the music."

"We will have to take a call as to what is the purpose of having a trial," the court said, adding such kind of prosecution may deter persons from coming forward and record their statements to the police.

The court made these remarks while hearing a bunch of petitions against witnesses who failed to support the police version which led to acquittal of Siddharth Vashist alias Manu Sharma and eight others in the sensational case.

The court on Tuesday heard arguments on behalf of 12 public witnesses, including some employees of Manu Sharma who pleaded that they be not prosecuted for the alleged offence.

The court then posted the matter on March 29 for advancing of arguments by remaining six persons who have been issued perjury notice by it.

The case dates back to April 1999 when Lall was shot dead by Manu Sharma after she refused to serve drink to him at a party at socialite Bina Ramani's restaurant Tamarind Court here in South Delhi.

The High Court, which reversed trial court's verdict on December 18, 2006, and awarded life imprisonment to Manu Sharma, later issued notices to the witnesses, asking why they be not prosecuted for the offence of perjury.

(Agencies)