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Mere filing of Charge-sheet doesn’t grant an accuse to copy of statement recorded u/s 164 CrPC: Supreme Court

In the case of MISS ‘A’ Versus State of Uttar Pradesh & Anr. [Cr. Appeal No.- 659/2020], the Supreme Court accorded that filing of charge-sheet by itself, does not permit an accuse to copies of any of the relevant documents including statement under section 164 of the CrPC. The honorable court tendered its observation while striking down the order given by the Allahabad High Court which qualified the plea of former Union Minister and BJP leader Sri Chinmayanand to assay a certain copy of the statement of the rape victim.

The incredible acumen was sufficed by the Honorable Justice U. U Lalit who headed the three judgment bench. Preliminarily an application was filed by the respondent seeking certified copies of the statement of the appellant u/s 164 of CrPC which was rejected by the Additional District and Session Judge, Shahjahanpur. The court relied on the decision passed in the case of State of Karnataka by Nonavinakere Police vs. Shivanna alias Tarkari Shivanna   stating that:

“If the copy of statement under section 164 is provided at this preliminary stage of investigation then besides spilling all the beans of investigation before the concerned person(s) who shall also come to know names of all the key witness(es) involved in this case, the health and safety of the victim(s) but also that of all the key witnesses will be in peril.”

Later a criminal miscellaneous application was filed by the respondent in the high court to get the certified copies of the statement. The court after relying on the orders passed in the case of Shivanna stated that:

 “I agree with the said argument and I am of the opinion that correct law has been laid down by the Division Bench of this Court in the case of Raju (supra), in view of that it was bounden duty of the trial court to provide a certified copy of the statement of the victim recorded under Section 164 CrPC. to the applicant subject to payment of usual charges.”

An appeal was made to this Court, where it was observed that:

“there is a pressing need to introduce drastic amendments into CrPC, when we look at the nature of Fast Track Courts, trial for charges of “Rape” by directing that all the witnesses who are examined in relation to the offence and incident of rape cases should be straightaway produced preferably before the Lady Judicial Magistrate for recording their statement to be kept in sealed cover and thereafter the same be treated as evidence at the stage of trial by producing the same in record in accordance with law which may be put to test by subjecting it to cross-examination. We were and are further of the view that the statement of victim should as far as possible be recorded preferably before the Lady Judicial Magistrate under Section 164 CrPC skipping over the recording of statement by the police under Section 161 CrPC to be kept in sealed cover and thereafter the same be treated as evidence at the stage of trial which may be put to test by subjecting it to cross-examination.”

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