10 May 2023 7:03 AM GMT
The Supreme Court, on Wednesday, dismissed the petition filed by former IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt seeking to produce additional evidence in the criminal appeal pending in the Gujarat High Court against his conviction and sentence in a 1990 custodial death case.Bhatt filed the Special Leave Petition challenging the order passed by the High Court on August 24, 2022, which denied permission to him...
The Supreme Court, on Wednesday, dismissed the petition filed by former IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt seeking to produce additional evidence in the criminal appeal pending in the Gujarat High Court against his conviction and sentence in a 1990 custodial death case.
Bhatt filed the Special Leave Petition challenging the order passed by the High Court on August 24, 2022, which denied permission to him to produce additional evidence in the appeal under Section 391 CrPC.
Affirming the High Court's order, a Bench comprising Justices MR Shah and CT Ravikumar said, "Going through the impugned order of High Court we find no reason to interfere with the same". Earlier in the day, Justice Shah had rejected an application moved by Bhatt seeking his recusal from hearing the case.
In July 2019, the Sessions Court at Jamnagar in Gujarat had sentenced Bhatt to life imprisonment after finding him guilty for the custodial death of one Prabhudas Madhavji Vaishnani in 1990. Before the trial court, he had filed an application to produce expert evidence of one doctor to support his argument that the death of Prabhudas was not due to the alleged sit ups he was made to do forcefully by the police.
In the criminal appeal filed before the Gujarat High Court, Bhatt filed an application under Section 391 of the Code of Criminal Procedure seeking to adduce additional expert evidence. On August 24, 2022, a division bench of Justices Vipul M Pancholi and Sandeep N Bhatt dismissed the application.
Before the Supreme Court, Senior Advocate Devadatt Kamat, appearing for Bhatt, argued that the real controversy in this case is whether the death of the deceased was due to a condition called rhabdomyolysis and the expert evidence of one Dr.Narayan Reddy is sought to be relied on. He said that the death occurred ten days after the victim was released on bail. The post mortem reports did not show any injury.
Kamat said that considering Dr. Reddy’s opinion to be relevant the trial court allowed the application to summon the expert witness, However, the court granted only four hours time to be present before it. The expert witness being stationed in Hyderabad it was not possible to bring him to Trial Court in Gujarat within four hours.
"He was ready to depose, but the Court said get him in four hours. Heaven would not have fallen...",Kamat said. He said that the examination of the expert witness was necessary to show that the depositions of other three doctors, who were examined in the case were not believable.
The Bench noted that the trial court passed the verdict after taking note of the depositions of the three doctors, who were examined and cross-examined thoroughly and that their testimonies are to be re-appreciated by the High Court in appeal.
"Any observation by this court on the deposition of the aforesaid three witnesses may ultimately affect the appeal which is yet to be considered by the High Court...However the High Court is to decide the appeal in accordance with law and on re-appreciation of the evidence considered by the Trial Court and without being influenced by the observation made by the High Court in the impugned order", the Bench observed while dismissing the SLP.
Senior Advocates Maninder Singh and Atmaram Nadkarni, appearing for the State of Gujarat and the complainant in the case respectively, opposed the petition.
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