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SC Stays Allahabad HC's Direction To Provide Chinmayanand Copy Of Student's Statement Under S.164 CrPC [Read Order]

Akshita Saxena
16 Nov 2019 3:11 AM GMT
SC Stays Allahabad HCs Direction To Provide Chinmayanand Copy Of Students Statement Under S.164 CrPC [Read Order]
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The Supreme Court on Friday issued notices on a Special Leave Petition filed by the Shahjahanpur law student, who had leveled allegations of sexual harassment and rape against former Union Minister and BJP leader Chinmayanand. The petition challenged the order of the Allahabad High Court dated November 7, whereby it allowed Chinmayanand's application seeking a certified copy of...

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The Supreme Court on Friday issued notices on a Special Leave Petition filed by the Shahjahanpur law student, who had leveled allegations of sexual harassment and rape against former Union Minister and BJP leader Chinmayanand.

The petition challenged the order of the Allahabad High Court dated November 7, whereby it allowed Chinmayanand's application seeking a certified copy of the statement of the victim  recorded under Section 164 CrPC.

The bench of Justice UU Lalit and Justice Vineet Saran issued notices on the plea and granted the interim relief of stay on the operation of the impugned order, till final disposal of the special leave petition.

The petitioner contended that the direction granting copy of the victim's statement before filing of the charge sheet was contrary to law and may have far reaching effects.

"the view taken by the High Court would be having far reaching effect not only in the petitioner's case but in all cases of sexual offences against the women, where direction for supply of copy of statement of victim u/s 164 CrPC even during investigation would unreasonably put the accused to an advantageous position to and would cause irreversible damage to the investigation and case of the prosecutrix. It is therefore, very necessary for this Hon'ble Court to interfere and add a caveat in the High Court's order that the statement of the victim recorded u/s Section 164 CrPC cannot be given to the accused till charge-sheet is filed and cognizance has been taken by the court concerned."

It is noteworthy that a pre-condition for obtaining the copy of statement of the victim under section 164 CrPC, is that the charge-sheet has been filed and cognizance has been taken by the Magistrate. Sections 207 and 208 of CrPC, which contemplate supply of copy of police report, statements and documents and other documents to the accused, envisage the same.

"...powers under section 207 and 208 can be exercised by the Magistrate after commencement of the proceedings under Chapter XVI of the CrPC, which means after taking cognizance of an offence.

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High Court order is erroneous and per incuriam to the mandate of section 207 and 208 of Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 and the very object and purpose of recording statement of a victim of sexual assault/rape by a Judicial Magistrate and to be kept by the Judicial Magistrate dealing with the matter," it was argued.

Reliance was placed on State of Karnataka v. Shivanna @ Tarkari Shivanna, 2014 (8) SCC 913, whereby it was held that,

"Upon receipt of information relating to the commission of offence of rape, the investigating officer shall make immediate steps to take the victim to any Metropolitan/preferably Judicial Magistrate for the purpose of recording her statement under Section 164 CrPC. A copy of the statement under Section 164 CrPC should be handed over to the investigating officer immediately with a specific direction that the contents of such statement under Section 164 CrPC should not be disclosed to any person till charge-sheet/report under Section 173 CrPC is filed."

The petitioner further submitted that the High Court's reliance on the judgment rendered in Raju v. State of U.P. & Ors., 2012 LawSuit (All) 723, was flawed inasmuch as the same was a reference to an approach that was adopted prior to the amendment of CrPC in 1973 and that the criminal jurisprudence had seen a overhaul since then.

As per the petition, Chinamayanand had not made the law student a respondent in his application filed before the Allahabad HC. The order was passed by the HC on the basis of 'concession' by the Government Pleader that the statement can be given to the Chinmayanand. 

"Thus the Criminal Misc. Application was allowed in a fast track mode, just in two days, that too unopposed", stated the SLP. 

According to the petition, the student had made a detailed complaint to the SIT in September. However, FIR was not registered on her complaint, forcing her to approach the high court's Monitoring Bench in this regard. The matter is pending as of yet and will be taken up on November 28.

"At this stage when FIR is yet to be registered on the complaint of the petitioner, supply of statement of the prosecutrix to the accused would cause irreversible damage to her case and the causer of fair investigation"

The SIT, headed by Naveen Arora, Inspector General of Grievances, was constituted by the Supreme Court to investigate into the rape allegations, under the monitoring of the Allahabad High Court.

On September 21, Chinmayanand was arrested by the SIT and sent to jail. The student was also booked on alleged charges of extortion against Chinmayanand.

The Petitioner was represented by AOR Shobha Gupta and Advocates Rajendra K. Panigarhi and Abhinav Bansal.

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