‘I do not have any hesitation to hold that the criminal court conducting the trial is bound to receive all the evidence produced by the prosecution irrespective of the fact whether the said evidence or documents were part of the charge-sheet placed before the court or not.’
The Karnataka High Court has observed that the documents which are not the part of the charge-sheet could be received in evidence for prosecution after the commencement of trial.
The issue in the petition (BL Udaykumar v. State of Karnataka) filed by the accused before the Karnataka High Court was whether the prosecution can be allowed to produce fresh documents after the commencement of the trial. The magistrate’s order allowing the prosecution’s application under Section 242(3) CrPC was assailed before the high court.
It was contended on behalf of the accused that the proper course available for the prosecution was to obtain the necessary permission from the court to conduct further investigation as per section 173(8) of CrPC and the documents so collected during further investigation could only be produced before the court along with a supplementary report.
Sec 242(3) CrPC is stand-alone provision
Justice John Michael Cunha observed that Section 242(3) is a stand-alone provision and is not controlled by Section 173 of the Code. “It operates on a totally different field. Section 173(8) of the Code confers a statutory right on the police officer, in the event of availability of evidence bearing on the guilt of the accused, to conduct further investigation. As held in the above decision, it is “no longer res integra” that a Magistrate, if exigent to do so, to espouse the cause of justice, can trigger further investigation even after a final report is submitted under section 173(8) of the Code. This Section, therefore, cannot be construed to mean that prosecution is debarred from producing additional evidence in support of its case during trial as canvassed by the learned counsel for the petitioners. In my view, the language of section 242(3) of the Code is wide enough to invest power in the Magistrate to take all the evidence produced by the prosecution in support of its case,” the court observed.
The court also took note of the expression in Section 242(3) i.e., “all such evidence” and observed that it means that the court is required to take or receive all such evidence which the prosecution may produce in support of its case. “Having regard to the wide language used in the section, the expression “all such evidence” cannot be given a restrictive meaning so as to hold that only such evidence as relates to those of persons who have been examined by the police or only the documents collected during investigation could be produced before the Court. To read the section in such a restricted manner would amount to reading into the sub-section something which is not there. Even otherwise “evidence” in strict sense means oral and documentary evidence,” the court added.
Upholding the magistrate’s order, the court said: “If the main object of criminal trial is to discover truth, necessarily all and every piece of evidence while could help the court to arrive at a just decision should be allowed to come on record. Therefore, it is immaterial whether the “evidence” sought to be produced during trial was either collected in the course of investigation or subsequent thereto.”