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The accused is not legally entitled to cross examine the scientific expert who made report on record: High Court of Jharkhand

An order cannot be quashed on grounds that the scientific expert who drafted a report on record was not called to court and cross-examined by the petitioner. This was held in the judgement passed by a single member bench of the High Court of Jharkhand consisting of Justice Sanjay Kumar Dwivedi in the case of Sujit Dey v The State of Jharkhand [Cr. M.P. No. 506 of 2021] pronounced on 10th August 2021.

The petitioner, Sujit Kumar Dey who was working as a Halka Karamchari in the Revenue Office at Shitalpur filed this criminal miscellaneous petition before the High Court of Jharkhand to quash the order passed by the District Judge II-cum-Special Judge Dhanbad on 8th February 2021 in the case of Special Case No. 15 of 2012 on the grounds that the court allowed the petition under Section 293 of the Cr.P.C and exhibited the report given by the forensic science laboratory in Ranchi without giving an opportunity to cross examine the expert who made the report. As per the prosecution case, the complainant- Sanjay Kumar Singh had visited the circle office for paying some dues on his land, where the petitioner demanded for Rs. 15,000 from the complainant to get the work finished. As a result of this, the First Information report was filed against the petitioner.

The petitioner’s counsel submitted that the charge-sheet was submitted on 8th September 2012 without the report of chemical examination and that the prosecution filed the petition on 20th March 2020 under Section 293 of the Cr.P.C to mark exhibit of chemical examination without giving the petitioner an opportunity of defence. The case of Keshav Dutt v State of Haryana [9 SCC 286 of 2010] was cited by the petitioner’s counsel, where it was held that when the trial court relied on the report of a handwriting expert, the expert should have been summoned and the accused should have been given an opportunity to cross-examine him. This submission was countered by Mr Suraj Verma who was appearing for the state by citing the case of Rajesh Kumar & another v State Government of NCT of Delhi [4 SCC 493 of 2008] where the Supreme Court of India observed that “It is not obligatory that an expert who furnishes his opinion on the scientific issue of the chemical examination of substance, should be of necessity made to depose in proceedings before the court”.

Justice Sanjay Kumar Dwivedi stated that “In the case in hand, there is no question of handwriting expert. The report of Forensic Science Laboratory, Jharkhand, Ranchi, which was already on record, was only required to be considered. Thus, the judgment relied by Mr. Chakraverty, learned counsel for the petitioner is not helping the petitioner”. It was concluded that “The report of the Forensic Science Laboratory, Jharkhand, Ranchi are admissible in terms of Section 293 of the Cr.P.C. There is no illegality in the impugned order dated 08.02.2021 passed by learned District Judge-II-cumSpecial Judge, (A.C.B.), Dhanbad in Special Case No.15 of 2012, arising out of Vigilance P.S. Case No.15 of 2012”. Accordingly the criminal miscellaneous petition was dismissed.

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