Chief Justice of Sikkim High Court noted that there had been an undue delay in recording of statement of the victims under Section 164 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 by Magistrates.
Against the Mandate of Law
CJ noted that the Magistrates had been fixing dates after a week or two with respect to the recording of statements after receiving the application from the investigating officer concerned, which is against the mandate of law.
Summoned – Improper Practice as it entails unnecessary wastage of time & resources
It also came to the notice of Chief Justice that the Magistrates recording the statements were being routinely summoned by the Session Court and Special Courts to prove the contents of the statement.
Citing the decision of Sikkim High Court in State of Sikkim v. Rakesh Rai, 2012 Crl. L.J. 2737 observed that there was no justification in calling the Magistrate as a witness.
Andhra Pradesh High Court in Guruvindapalli Anna Rao v. State of Andhra Pradesh, 2003 Crl. L.J. 3253 observed that if any Magistrate records the statement of a witness under Section 164 CrPC, it is not necessary for the Sessions Judge to summon the Magistrate to prove the contents of the statement recorded by him. When a Magistrate, discharging his official functions as such, records the statement of any witness under Section 164 CrPC such statement is a ‘public document’ and it does not require any proof.
Hence, in view of the above, Chief Justice of Sikkim High Court directed that the magistrates shall record the statement of victims/witnesses on the same day when such applications are received and in case the same is not possible, then the statement has to be recorded on the immediate next day.
Further, the Sessions Judges/Special Judges may not summon the Magistrates in a routine manner to prove the contents of such statement.
Sikkim High Court