Case Title: Ashwini Kumar Sharma Mansotra vs State Of Maharashtra And Anr
Case No: WP ST. NO. 134 OF 2024
Decided on: 08.01.2024
CORAM: Hon’ble Ms. Justice Karnik
Facts of the Case
The present Writ Petition is filed being aggrieved by an order dated 30/10/2023, passed by the Special Court for CBI.
Accused in a CBI case pending since 2013, the petitioner, due to a recent accident, is bedridden and suffers memory issues related to his brain injury. As his health impedes travel, he opposes the court’s directive to visit AIMS Hospital in Delhi for a medical assessment. Instead, he proposes recording his evidence remotely through video conferencing available at the Mumbai court. Recognizing jurisdictional limitations, the High Court urges the Panipat Principal District Judge to consider allowing video conferencing for the petitioner’s evidence recording in Mumbai. The Mumbai court will inform Panipat of the scheduled date. The AIMS Hospital visit is deemed unnecessary and the order is quashed. The petitioner’s lawyer can be present during the remote evidence recording. With these conditions, the petition is granted. Section 313 statement has been recorded through video conferencing and now the case is posted for judgment.
Section 353 of CrPC –
This section details the pronouncement of judgments in criminal trials. It states that judgments must be announced in open court by the presiding officer, either through full reading, reading only the operative part and explaining the rest in understandable language, or delivering the entire judgment.
This section emphasizes transparency and accessibility of judgments for all parties involved.
Whether a judgment can be pronounced remotely through video conferencing, even though Section 353 of the CrPC mandates the accused’s physical presence?
Court Decision and analysis
Chapter XXVII of the CrPC, covering judgments, in response to the petitioner’s absence, the trial court issued a non-bailable warrant.
While the accused is normally expected to be present in court for judgment, considering the petitioner’s unique circumstances, the court allowed him to attend through video conferencing.
Reasons for this exception:
- The petitioner has an 83% physical disability and has consistently attended previous hearings remotely since 2010.
- Medical evidence supports his limited mobility.
- He promises to abide by any judgment and offers no risk of absconding.
Conditions for remote attendance:
- The petitioner’s son will arrange his video conference presence at the Panipat District Court.
- CBI officers escorting him will ensure no tampering.
- The petitioner accepts any potential consequences of the judgment.
This decision prioritized justice over technical requirements, recognizing the individual’s situation while upholding legal procedures.
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Written by- Bhawana Bahety