Rape Victim's Statement Under Section 164 CrPC Must Not Be Disclosed To Any Person Including Accused Till Charge-Sheet Is Filed: Supreme Court
The Supreme Court reiterated that a rape victim's statement made under Section 164 CrPC should not be disclosed to any person including the accused till charge-sheet/final report is filed.
The bench of CJI UU Lalit and Justice Bela M. Trivedi was considering a contempt petition which highlighted violation of mandatory directions issued in State of Karnataka by Nonavinakere Police vs. Shivanna alias Tarkari Shivanna – (2014) 8 SCC 913 and A vs. State of Uttar Pradesh – (2020) 10 SCC 505
The bench also suggested the High Courts to make appropriate modifications/amendments to the Criminal Practice/Trial Rules incorporating provisions consistent with the directions in these decisions.
The contempt petitioner had alleged that the copy of statement of the daughter of the petitioner recorded under Section 164 CrPC was applied for and furnished to the accused in the matter.
"The documents now placed on record indicate that the accused did apply for such copy and was furnished the copy under stamp issued by the Copying Department, though the response filed by the concerned Court in answer to the queries raised by this Court, states that no such copy was given by the Court to anyone..In theory what is projected in the contempt petition is quite correct that is to say despite authoritative pronouncements and directions issued by this Court the copy was applied for and furnished to the accused. Further, the copy of statement under section 164 of Cr.PC was extensively referred to in the proceedings before the Court. It is quite unfortunate that the concerned Court also did not notice the violation of the directions issued by this Court.", the bench said.
The court however said that it is refraining from exercising contempt jurisdiction in this matter.
The counsel for the petitioner pointed out that in Rules of Criminal Practice/Criminal Trial framed by the High Courts across the country, there are no provisions in tandem with the directions in the above decisions. The Court therefore agreed with the suggestion made by the counsel that the Practice Rules framed by various High Courts must include and incorporate provisions consistent with the law declared in the above decisions.
State of Karnataka by Nonavinakere Police vs. Shivanna alias Tarkari Shivanna
In Shivanna (supra), the following directions were issued:
- 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 investigating officer shall as far as possible take the victim to the nearest Lady Metropolitan/preferably Lady Judicial Magistrate.
- The investigating officer shall record specifically the date and the time at which he learnt about the commission of the offence of rape and the date and time at which he took the victim to the Metropolitan/preferably Lady Judicial Magistrate as aforesaid.
- If there is any delay exceeding 24 hours in taking the victim to the Magistrate, the investigating officer should record the reasons for the same in the case diary and hand over a copy of the same to the Magistrate.
- Medical examination of the victim : Section 164-A CrPC inserted by Act 25 of 2005 in CrPC imposes an obligation on the part of investigating officer to get the victim of the rape immediately medically examined. A copy of the report of such medical examination should be immediately handed over to the Magistrate who records the statement of the victim under Section 164 CrPC.
In A vs. State of Uttar Pradesh , the court held that no person is entitled to a copy of statement recorded under Section 164 CrPC till the appropriate orders are passed by the court after the charge-sheet is filed.The right to receive a copy of such statement will arise only after cognizance is taken and at the stage contemplated by Sections 207 and 208 CrPC and not before, it was observed.
X vs M Mahender Reddy | 2022 LiveLaw (SC) 899 | Contempt Petition (C) 555 OF 2022 | 1 November 2022 | CJI UU Lalit and Justice Bela M. Trivedi
Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 ; Section 164 - Rape victim's statement made under Section 164 CrPC should not be disclosed to any person (including accused) till charge-sheet/final report is filed - Referred to State of Karnataka by Nonavinakere Police vs. Shivanna alias Tarkari Shivanna (2014) 8 SCC 913 and A vs. State of Uttar Pradesh (2020) 10 SCC 505 - Appropriate modifications/amendments be made to the Criminal Practice/Trial Rules incorporating provisions consistent with the directions issued by this Court in these decisions.
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