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Documents Seized By Investigating Agency Cannot Be Withheld Merely On The Ground That They Are Not Part Of Charge-Sheet: Gujarat HC Partly Allows Sanjiv Bhatt's Plea

LIVELAW NEWS NETWORK
5 Oct 2021 5:19 PM GMT
Documents Seized By Investigating Agency Cannot Be Withheld Merely On The Ground That They Are Not Part Of Charge-Sheet: Gujarat HC Partly Allows Sanjiv Bhatts Plea
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The Gujarat High Court partly allowed Former IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt's plea seeking production of certain documents including A Summary report in relation to the trial in a 1996 case under Narcotics Drugs Psychotropic Substances Act (NDPS).The documents which were not part of the chargesheet, but seized by the investigating agency during the investigation of the offence, cannot be withheld...

The Gujarat High Court partly allowed Former IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt's plea seeking production of certain documents including A Summary report in relation to the trial in a 1996 case under Narcotics Drugs Psychotropic Substances Act (NDPS).

The documents which were not part of the chargesheet, but seized by the investigating agency during the investigation of the offence, cannot be withheld by the prosecution merely on the ground that the documents sought to be summoned are not part of the chargesheet, Justice Ilesh J. Vora observed.

Bhatt had filed an application before the Special Court seeking production of following documents

(i) Investigation papers of "A" Summary report vide Exh:18 to 279 as well as case diary consisting pages 1 to 42, case diary consisting pages 1 to 29 and 16 documents attached with the case diary;

(ii) copies of the FIR being C.R. No.51/1996 and 54/1996 registered at Agthala Police Station;

(iii) Pursuant to the application filed by the witness Sumersingh Rajpurohit, the then DIG, Bhuj Range, Mr. Dhagal came for investigation at Palanpur Police Station and carried out investigation with respect to the application made under the provisions of Human Rights, therefore, all the relevant documents pertaining to said inquiry conducted by Mr. Dhagal.

The Trial Court dismissed the applications observing that, he has not established that the documents sought are ''necessary and desirable'' for the just decision of the case and that it has been filed with a view to delay the trial proceedings.

One of the claimed documents, A Summary report, was not part of the chargesheet, but after completion of investigation, the IO forwarded it to the Special Court in a sealed cover. Opposing Sanjiv Bhatt's plea before the High court, he prosecution contended that, those papers are not part of the chargesheet, would not require to provide to the accused. In this regard, the court observed:

"What is significance is if in a given situation, the accused comes to the court contending that, some papers forwarded to the Court by the Investigating Agency have not been exhibited by the prosecution as the same favours the accused, the court must concede a right to the accused to have an assess to the said documents....The ''A'' Summary report can be termed to be a part of the chargesheet, because investigating agency has collected some of the documents from ''A'' Summary report and made part of the chargesheet, whereas, some of the documents whether it favours the accused or not, left out from the part of the chargesheet and submitted again to the Special Court in a sealed cover"

Partly allowing the applications filed by Sanjiv Bhatt, the court said:

25. In view of the aforesaid, this Court is of the view that, the investigating agency being a part and parcel of the State is legally required to be fair, just and reasonable. It is no doubt true that, since from his arrest in the alleged crime, the applicant had filed many applications either before this or trial Court under various provisions of the Code, as a result, trial could not commence. However, the Court being a guardian of fundamental rights enshrined under the Constitution of India, keeping the larger interest and rights of the fair trial and defence of the accused, should have decided the issue accordingly.

The court also directed the Special Judge, NDPS Court to expedite the trial proceedings and complete the same positively within a period of nine months.


Click here to Read/Download Judgment 



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