The High Court of Kerala, in J Rajmohan Pillai v CBI, Kerala, Kochi has ruled that parties to a litigation cannot claim any right to obtain certified copies of the legible copy of the depositions of the case.
The legible/readable copies of the depositions were prepared based on a circular issued by the High Court. This was done to be an aid in circumstances where the handwriting of the presiding officer was not easily understandable/legible. This was to help the subsequent judicial officers to conduct future proceedings of the case. However these copies are not made available to the parties . The certified copies of prior deposition recorded by the presiding officer are only made available to the party.
Petitioner approached the High Court seeking a direction to make available the legible copy the depositions of the case. He stated that the handwriting of the presiding officer was not readable /legible and hence he could not properly read the depositions recorded.The petitioner, being an accused, in the case canvassed a proposition that non availability of legible copies would act as a hindrance in him defending the case properly.
Justice Sunil Thomas however rejected the contentions of the petitioner.The Court held that parties are not entitled for certified copies of legible copy of depositions. The court further stated that, parties will be entitled to certified copies of original depositions recorded and not those of legible copies prepared subsequently.The bench observed:-“ Rule 222 of the Criminal Rules of Practice is identical to Rule 128 of High Court Rules. It deals with copy of application of documents and copy of proceeding or document filed or in the custody of the court.Rule 225 deals with copies of non-judicial and confidential papers.It provides the correspondence or the proceeding which are confidential or are not strictly judicial shall not be granted except under orders of the Court. Rule 229 provides that notes of evidence of the Presiding Officer form only the record of evidence and hence copies of such notes can be given.These rules eminently show that certified copies of each and every part of the judicial file cannot be issued.The certified copy of the document can be issued only if it relates to a proceeding or is a document filed in or forming part of judicial record.”
Read the order here.