21 Oct 2020 8:33 AM GMT
The Delhi High Court has set aside the 24 July, 2019 Order of the Trial Court wherein the Court did not allow Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Minister Manish Sisodia to access crucial documents without following the procedure as prescribed by the Code of Criminal Procedure in the Chief Secretary Assault CaseA Single-Judge Bench of Justice Suresh Kumar Kait presided over the matter....
The Delhi High Court has set aside the 24 July, 2019 Order of the Trial Court wherein the Court did not allow Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Minister Manish Sisodia to access crucial documents without following the procedure as prescribed by the Code of Criminal Procedure in the Chief Secretary Assault Case
A Single-Judge Bench of Justice Suresh Kumar Kait presided over the matter. FACTS OF THE CASE The Petitioner herein had filed an Application under Section 207 of CrPC for supply of certain deficient documents, including the copy of the statement of one witness, VK Jain recorded on 21st February, 2018, and the audio/video recording of the examination of the Petitioners. The Trial Court declined to supply the copy of the statement of VK Jain and held that as per prosecution, no statement under Section 161 of CrPC was recorded on 21.02.2018 and therefore, the same could not be supplied. A Revision Petition was accordingly filed before the Trial Court, but the same was disposed of stating that as it was a record of oral examination by the IO and was noted in the case diary, it could not constitute a statement under Section 161 and therefore, could not be given to the accused. However, it could be used during the trail as an aid by the Court.
Further, as the Revisionists could not show any provision of law entitling them to their own statements during interrogation, this prayer was also declined, with the liberty to call for the recordings during the trial if the same was deemed necessary for production by the Trial Court.
ARGUMENTS ADVANCED Senior Advocate N. Hariharan, appearing on behalf of the Petitioners, submitted to the Delhi High Court that impugned order categorically stated that VK Jain had been examined in-depth and that the statement was being withheld because it did not suit the prosecution case. "…they are trying to conceal/withheld the crucial part of evidence which is against the principle of 'Criminal Jurisprudence' and in violation of the basic principle of natural justice, free and fair trial. A plain reading of Section 207 CrPC makes it amply clear that under this provision the accused is entitled to have right to take the complete copy of the chargesheet and other documents in regarding of the case from the prosecution". It was submitted that there existed an obligation on the Magistrate to see that all the documents which are necessary for the accused for proper conduct of his defense are furnished to him well before the trial and the prosecution cannot pick and choose. Hariharan referred to the case of Shakuntala v. State of Delhi (2007) to underline to the legal right to an impartial and free trial. It was also argued that a conjoint reading of Section 173(5), 173(6) and first proviso attached to Section 207 of CrPC, leaves no scope of doubt that it is the bounden duty of the police officer to forward to the Magistrate all the statements mentioned in Section 173(5)(b) without any exception. The discretion lies with the Magistrate to allow the request of withholding of evidence.
Senior Advocate Sidharth Luthra, appearing on behalf of Respondent No. 2/Complainant, submitted that on 21st February, despite VK Jain being called for examination, no statement under Section 161 had been recorded. Further, statements mentioning 21st September were in fact referring to 22nd and the 21st was a typographical error.
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