Delhi High Court has observed that a general rule, a copy of the report given by the Jail Superintendent as well as by the Investigating Officer should be supplied to the applicant so that accused can properly understand the reasons given therein and defend their case.
The Division Bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Prateek Jalan further observed that the copies of the Jail Superintendent and the Investigating Officer shall be provided in advance, both to the court and to the accused.
The order has come in a writ petition filed by Mr Chirag Madan seeking a direction to be issued to the Jail Superintendent and Investigating Officer to supply the copies of their reports to the accused persons in matters pertaining to bail before the trial courts.
The Petitioner had stated the following in his petition:
'...it has become a trend before the trial courts not to supply the copy of status report/report by the jail superintendent/ reply filed on behalf of the prosecution in response to the bail applications filed by the accused persons under section 437 CrPC, 438 CrPC and 439 CrPC, thereby not only violating Article 21 and 22 of the Constitution but also the principles of Natural Justice.'
Appearing for the prison authorities, Mr Rahul Mehra submitted that the copies of the said reports are always served to the other side except in some exceptional cases wherein the reasons for not serving the copy is recorded in writing.
It was further pointed out by Mr Mehra that generally the report is supplied to the court for a specific purpose.
While taking the submissions of both the sides into consideration, the court noted that:
'Ordinarily, as a general rule, it ought to be kept in mind by the Courts that whenever any report is called for from the Jail Superintendent and is given to the Court either directly or through APP, copy thereof should be given to the applicant of the bail application. Whenever such copy is not supplied to the applicant of the application under Code of Criminal Procedure, especially under Sections 437, 438 and 439 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, then reasons will be recorded by the Court in the order.'
In light of these observations, the court directed for a copy of this order to be sent to the Chief Secretary, Delhi Government; Director General (Prisons); District and Sessions Judge of all the District Courts; Member Secretary, Delhi State Legal Services Authority (DSLSA) and all the jail authorities.
Petitioner in this case was represented by Senior Advocate Siddharth Luthra along with Advocates Ms. Ravleen Sabharwal, Mr. Cheitanya Madan, Mr. Sai Krishna, Mr. Akshay Sehgal & Mr. Saif Shams.
Case Title: Chirag Madan v. Union of India & Ors.
Case No.: W.P.(CRL) 986/2020