Magistrate Can Direct Collection Of Voice Samples Of Accused : Supreme Court Reiterates
Aiman J. Chishti
25 May 2023 6:37 AM GMT
Upholding the Gujarat High Court order to refuse interference in the order of the session judge directing the accused to give a voice sample to the police, the Supreme Court recently said that a Magistrate has the power to order the collection of a voice sample for the purpose of investigation.
Relying on Ritesh Sinha v. State of Uttar Pradesh, the bench of Justice Hrishikesh Roy and Justice Manoj Misra further said that the Magistrate has such a power “until explicit provisions are engrafted in the CrPC by the Parliament”.
The Court was hearing the special leave petition challenging the decision of the Gujarat High Court, which upheld the order passed by the Special Court in Gandhinagar in 2021. The order directed the accused petitioner to provide his voice samples for a spectrograph test in a corruption case.
The counsel for petitioner argued that unless rules are framed and appropriate standard operating system is notified under the provisions of the Criminal Procedure (Identification) Act, 2022 read with the Rules 2022, the collection of voice sample would impeach on the “right of privacy” of the accused.
The Court referred to Apex’s Court decision in Ritesh Sinha Vs. State of Uttar Pradesh wherein it said “…in view of the opinion rendered by this Court in Modern Dental College and Research Centre v. State of M.P., Gobind v. State of M. P. and another and the nine Judge’s Bench of this Court in K.S. Puttaswamy(Privacy 9) v. Union of India the fundamental right to privacy cannot be construed as absolute and must bow down to compelling public interest.”
The Court further noted that the decision in Ritesh Sinha indicates that, “the Magistrate is given the power to order for collection of voice sample for the purpose of investigation of a crime until explicit provisions are engrafted in the CrPC by the Parliament. Such direction was issued by invoking powers under Article 142 of the Constitution of India”.
Upholding the decision of the High Court,the Court said, “we see no infirmity with the impugned judgment of the High Court as also of the Special Court ordering the accused to give his voice sample to facilitate investigation of the crime.”
Case Title: Pravinsinh Nrupatsinh Chauhan v. State Of Gujarat
For Petitioner: Shamik Shirishbhai Sanjanwala, AOR Tejas Baro.
Citation : 2023 LiveLaw (SC) 463