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Intercepted audios and messages cannot be considered evidence: Delhi High Court

The issue whether intercepted audios and messages can be considered as admissible evidence before the court was dealt by a bench of Delhi High Court consisting of Justice Chandra Dhari Singh in the matters between Jatinder Pal Singh v CBI CRL. MC. 3118/2012 decided on 17.1.2022.

The facts of the case are Singh being intermediary to Ketan Desai, then chairman of the Medical Council of India (MCI),paying a bribe of Rs. 2 crores and it was alleged that there were deficiencies in the 4th Batch admission process of MBBS at a medical school in Patiala.They seek that the court set aside the 10-year-old order of a special CBI Judge of special court framing charges against Singh, under the Prevention of Corruption Act as well as section 120B of IPC which is punishment for criminal conspiracy. Petitioners appealed to the Delhi High Court.

The petitioners argued that the phone calls on which CBI’s case was based were illegally intercepted and recorded and were never sent for forensic analysis. The petition said the CBI was based on assumptions and assumptions in the talks. It was said that the MCI Rules were not violated and the alleged ₹2 crore bribe was money from the sale of a property. Statement of expense filed by CBI in breach because he had never obtained permission from the Director of the CBI necessary to prosecute a government official.

The respondents argued that the arguments advanced by the petitioners are not appropriate at this stage where charges were faramed only based upon probability of commission of offence, these should be brought up at the stage of final argument.Evidence of the approver has been taken only after following procedure under the code and he has inculpated himself in regard to his confessions so, approver has definitely incriminated himself.The circumstances and evidences recovered during investigation indicate guilt of petitioners and no gross illegality in trial court’s order warranting intervention of this court under revisional jurisdiction.

The Delhi High Court held that allowing illegally tapped messages and voice calls as evidence would be arbitrary and encourage violations of citizens’ fundamental rights. According to Section 5(2) of the Telegraph Act, a cease and desist order may only be issued in the event of an emergency or in the interest of public safety, according to the law established by the Supreme Court at PUCL. The chief defendant in the case, Ketan Desai, had already been released, and as no public official was involved in the alleged conspiracy, prosecution under the PC Act is null and void. The Court’s order to authorize the Minister of the Interior to wiretap phone calls, framed under the Telegraph Act pursuant to section 419A of the Rules, shall be forwarded to the examining committee within seven days of the order’s passing. However, in this case, no record was found to prove that any investigation was carried out on the order of the Minister of the Interior. The court ruled that the statement was not valid. moreover, it is not possible for the public official accused of taking bribes to be released, and for the public official accused of taking bribes to be prosecuted.Hence, the petition was allowed and the special court’s order was set aside.

Judgement reviewed by Bhaswati Goldar

Jatinder_Pal_Singh_v_CBI

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