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Delhi HC Issues Notice In Plea Challenging Magistrate's Power To Order Compulsory Collection Of Voice Samples

Karan Tripathi
24 Sep 2019 1:49 PM GMT
Delhi HC Issues Notice In Plea Challenging Magistrate
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The Delhi High Court has issued a notice to the Delhi Government in a PIL that challenges the validity of taking voice samples by the police under section 53 of CrPC as being violative of Right to Privacy.

The writ petition was filed by a Delhi-resident challenging an order passed by the Metropolitan Magistrate at Karkardooma which had allowed the Investigating Officer to take the voice samples of the Petitioner. The criminal case allegedly arose out of matrimonial disputes between the petitioner and her husband.

The Petitioner has submitted that the IO is hand in glove with her husband, and both have tried to intimidate her under the garb of an investigation, wanting her to drop the suit she has filed against her husband.

In pursuance of the said purpose, IO had moved an application before the Magistrate seeking permission to collect the Petitioner's voice samples. The Metropolitan Magistrate allowed the application by noting that as per the Supreme Court's judgment in Ritesh Sinha v. State of UP, Judicial Magistrate is empowered to order a person to give his voice samples for investigation and the same doesn't violate fundamental rights of privacy and protection from self-incrimination.

The Petitioner has moved the present petition contending that the SC judgment has been wrongly relied upon by the Magistrate. It is submitted that in Ritesh Sinha, the apex court did not go into the question of right to privacy. Moreover, it was also not declared in the said judgment that taking voice samples does not breach the protection granted under section 20(3) of the Constitution.

It is also averred by the Petitioner that the Ritesh Sinha judgment is not a declaration of law under Article 141 but only a direction under Article 142. Therefore it only binds the parties in that particular case and no else, contends the petitioner.

The Supreme Court had held that in the absence of specific powers in the Code of Criminal Procedure, inherent powers under Article 142 of the Constitution should be invoked to confer such power on the Magistrate.

The Petitioner goes on to submit that asking a person to submit voice samples is a judicial function which needs to be exercised judicially and not upon mere asking of the IO. Allowing an IO, who seeks voice samples with a malafide intention, to collect the same serves no 'compelling public interest'.

The Petitioner was represented by Advocates Anurag Ojha, Shivam Malhotra and D N Chaturvedi.  

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