Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: The 3-judge bench of UU Lalit, Vineet Saran and S. Ravindra Bhat, JJ has held that no person is entitled to a copy of statement recorded under Section 164 of the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 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 of the Code and not before.”


BACKGROUND OF THE CASE


The Court was hearing the case where

  • the father of the Appellant lodged a Complaint that he had seen a video of the Appellant on her Facebook account alleging that Swami Chinmayanand and some others had sexually exploited the Appellant and many other girls; that the Appellant was not contactable; that he was apprehending danger to the Appellant; and that prompt action be taken in the matter.
  • The said Facebook video having gone viral, letters were written to the Supreme Court by some advocates whereafter Suo Motu Writ Petition was registered. On 30.08.2019 it was reported that the Appellant was found in District Dausa of State of Rajasthan whereafter the Supreme Court recorded the statement of the Appellant that she did not intend to go back to Uttar Pradesh but would meet her parents in Delhi. Certain directions were therefore passed.
  • In its Order dated 02.09.2019, this Court directed the Chief Secretary, State of Uttar Pradesh, to constitute a Special Team to enquire into the grievances expressed by Miss “A” and insofar as the apprehension expressed by the parents of Miss “A”. It also directed the Chief Secretary, State of Uttar Pradesh, to direct the Superintendent of Police of the concerned district, namely, Shahjahanpur, to afford protection to the parents and family members of the girl on assessing the threat perception.
  • On 20.09.2019, Swamy Chinmayanand was arrested and his application for bail was rejected by the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Shahjahanpur on 23.09.2019.
  • In November 2019, the High Court directed that trial court to provide a certified copy of the statement of victim recorded under Section 164 Cr.P.C. to the applicant subject to payment of usual charges.
  • Before the Appellant could challenge the decision of the High Court, by filing the instant Special Leave Petition on 13.11.2019, a copy of her statement recorded under Section 164 of the Code was made over to the accused.

WHAT THE COURT SAID


The Supreme Court noticed that the High Court completely erred in appreciating the directions issued by this Court, especially in a matter where the offences alleged against accused are of sexual exploitation.

“In such matters utmost confidentiality is required to be maintained. In our view, the High Court completely failed in that behalf.”

Explaining the Scheme of the relevant provisions of CrPC, the Court said that after the conclusion of the investigation, an appropriate report under Section 173 of the Code is to be filed by the police giving information as required by Section 173.

In terms of Section 190 of the Code, the concerned Magistrate may take cognizance of any offence inter alia upon a police report. At the stage of exercise of power under Section 190 of the Code, the Magistrate may deem fit that the matter requires further investigation on certain aspects/issues and may pass appropriate direction. It is only after taking of the cognizance and issuance of process that the accused is entitled, in terms of Sections 207 and 208 of the Code, to copies of the documents referred to in said provisions.

The filing of the charge-sheet by itself, does not entitle an accused to copies of any of the relevant documents including statement under Section 164 of the Code, unless the stages indicated above are undertaken. Thus, merely because the charge-sheet was filed by the time the High Court had passed the order in the present matter, did not entitle the accused to a copy of the statement under Section 164 of the Code.

Though, a copy of the statement recorded under Section 164 of the Code was made over to the accused, the Court set aside the order passed by the High Court and held that

“… under no circumstances copies of statements recorded under Section 164 of the Code can be furnished till appropriate orders are passed by the Court after taking cognizance in the matter.”

[Miss ‘A’ v. State of Uttar Pradesh,  2020 SCC OnLine SC 817, decided on 08.10.2020]

Hot Off The PressNews

Supreme Court: The bench of Ashok Bhushan and Naveen Sinha, JJ has dismissed a petition filed against the Allahabad High Court order granting bail to former BJP MP Swami Chinmayanand in a case pertaining to the alleged rape of a law student in Shahjahanpur, Uttar Pradesh.

The bench also issued a notice to Chinmayanand on another plea seeking transfer of the trial in the rape case against him from Uttar Pradesh to Delhi. It, however, refused to stay the trial of the case. The Bench, while refusing to interfere with the Allahabad High Court order, said the High Court had imposed sufficient conditions to ensure that the accused would not tamper with evidence or threaten witnesses.

Senior advocate Colin Gonsalves, appearing for the victim, claimed that secret videos of the law student (/topic/law-student) bathing were filmed, which were used by Chinmayanand to threaten her and to rape her. He told the court that the High Court, while granting bail, had noted that there was an apprehension of tampering with evidence and threatening but Chinmayanand was still granted bail.

The court, however, said that the apprehensions are taken note of by the High Court which is why certain conditions were imposed, else it would have been an unconditional bail.

“We understand your anxiety but the High Court is monitoring the investigation pursuant to the Supreme Court’s orders. Protection is provided in a substantial manner. Everything has been considered and a charge sheet is filed. When charges have to be framed, the law will take its course,”

In February, Allahabad High Court had transferred from Shahjahanpur to Lucknow the trial in the sexual abuse case against Chinmyanand. The Allahabad High Court had on February 3 granted bail to Chinmayanand, a former Union minister of state, in the alleged rape case filed by a woman who studied law in a college run by Chinmayanand in UP’s Shahjahanpur.

In December 2019, the 23-year-old law student, who has accused Chinmayanand of rape, was released from a district jail in connection with an extortion case after she was granted bail by Allahabad High Court.

The woman was arrested on September 25 in connection with an extortion case filed on the basis of Chinmayanand’s complaint alleging that she, along with three of her friends, had demanded Rs 5 crore from him. Chinmayanand had alleged that they threatened to make public some purported videos of him getting a massage from the law student. On the other hand, the woman had alleged that she was repeatedly raped and blackmailed by Chinmayanand for over a year.

(Source: ANI)

Hot Off The PressNews

As reported by ANI,

Chinmayanand who is an Ex-BJP Minister was accused of raping a law student has been granted bail.

The woman who has been said to be raped by the minister was arrested in connection with an extortion case filed on the basis of Chinmayanand’s complaint, wherein he stated that the woman along with few other friends of hers had demanded Rs 5 crore from him while threatening him with the release of some inappropriate videos.

Victim had alleged that she was repeatedly raped and blackmailed by Chinmayanand for over a year.


[Source: ANI]

Hot Off The PressNews

Supreme Court: When the UP law student who went missing was brought before the bench of R Banumathi and AS Bopanna, JJ after being found in Rajasthan, she told the Court that she wants to stay in Delhi and not return to her home. She was brought to the court after two judges said they wanted to speak to her. A BJP leader and former Union Minister, Chinmayanand, had been accused by the young woman’s parents of kidnapping her.

Justices R Banumathi and AS Bopanna spoke with the woman in closed court before continuing the hearing. Later, the judges announced that the woman was to be kept wherever she felt safe and comfortable. The Delhi Police has been asked to bring her parents to the capital. The Court said,

“She left her place with college friends for her protection. She doesn’t want to go back to UP till she meets her parents. She stated that she will decide her future course of plan after meeting them,”

Earlier, asking the UP government to give the information “within five minutes”, the Supreme Court had said,

“Find out her exact location now. How much time will she take to be present in court.”

Replying to the Court, the state government said the “exact location” of the woman was near Fatehpur Sikri and it would take her two and a half hours to reach Delhi.

The Supreme Court decided on Thursday to take up the case on its own after a group of lawyers raised concerns that it could turn into the another “Unnao” – the case involving Kuldeep Singh Sengar, an MLA expelled only recently from the BJP amid outrage, he is accused of raping a minor girl from his village in 2017 and then trying to murder her in a car crash. Fearing for the woman’s safety, the lawyer said,

“Only the police are making the statement but she has not been seen on TV,”

Chinmayananda’s lawyer called the allegations against him a “conspiracy”.

The woman, a law student, went missing on Saturday after posting a video on Facebook alleging that a “big leader of the Sant Samaj” had “destroyed the lives of many other girls and also has threatened to kill me”. She requested Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and Prime Minister Narendra Modi to help her. Based on her video, which went viral, her father blamed Chinmayanand, a former union minister who heads the management of the college where the woman studies.

The police filed the family’s case only on Tuesday, three days after she went missing, and charged Chinmayanand with kidnapping and criminal intimidation.

(Source: NDTV)