Kerala High Court permits accused to meet their lawyer on alternate days for 15 minutes in the presence of investigating officer

Kerala High Court

   

Kerala High Court: While dismissing the criminal revision petition challenging the order passed by Lower Court, Kauser Edappagath, J. held that even though the presence of an advocate during interrogation in police custody is not allowed, the accused are permitted to meet their advocates every alternate day for fifteen minutes in the presence of the investigating officer from the day of the order.

The revision petitioners were accused of offences under Sections 120(b), 364, 302, 201 read with 34 of Penal Code, 1860 (‘IPC’).

In the present case, the accused persons murdered and mutilated two women as a part of ritualistic sacrifice aimed at gaining financial prosperity and thus committed the offences and were then arrested and remanded to judicial custody. Further, the investigating officer filed for police custody for 12 days which was granted after hearing both the sides in the impugned order.

The Court viewed that the gruesome murder of two women allegedly as a part of a ritualistic sacrifice for financial gain has shocked the conscience of the people. Relying on Arnesh Kumar v. State of Bihar, (2014) 8 SCC 273, the Court observed that since police detention affects individuals’ liberty and freedom, the 22 specific points raised by the investigating officer seeking police custody must be thoroughly investigated, considering the peculiar nature of the case. Further, the Court observed that the Lower Court took great care and caution in authorizing detention of the accused in the impugned judgment and dismissed the revision petition.

The Court was of the view that the person arrested has a right to meet an advocate of their choice while being interrogated, though not throughout interrogation. Therefore, the Court held that even though the presence of an advocate during interrogation in police custody is not allowed, the accused are permitted to meet their advocates every alternate day for fifteen minutes in the presence of the investigating officer from the day of the order.

[Muhammed Shafi v. State of Kerala, Criminal Revision Petition No. 725 of 2022 decided on 21-10-2022]


Advocates who appeared in this case :

For Petitioner: Advocate Biju Antony Aloor;

Advocate K.P. Prasanth;

Advocate T.S. Krishnendu;

Advocate Archana Suresh;

Advocate Jinson Jacob;

Advocate Mohamed Ameer M.;

For Respondent: Director General of Prosecution T.A. Shaji.

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