The Karkardooma Court in Delhi through Additional Sessions Judge Amitabh Rawat has directed the Delhi Police to provide hard copies of the chargesheet to all accused in the Delhi Riots in the matter State of NCT of Delhi vs Tahir Hussain and Ors heard on October 21, 2020. Special Public Prosecutor Amit Prasad represented the State whereas various lawyers appeared for all applicants through the WebEx application.
The order said, “The court directs that the Investigating Agency shall provide the physical copy of chargesheet and accompanying documents to every accused person by next date, without fail.” The ASG while rejecting the State’s submission that its provision of the chargesheet’s soft copy on a pen drive to the accused was sufficient compliance of Section 207 of the CrPC added that, “Even though, it may be desirable to have soft copies of the chargesheet the law still mandates that a hard copy has to be made available to the accused. The provisions of the IT Act cannot be made applicable or overwrite provisions of Section 207, CrPC as it stands today.”
Section 207 of the Code of Criminal Procedure makes the supply to the accused the copy of police report and other documents compulsory.
The Judge explained further that, “The Investigating Agency is duty bound to supply hard copy of the chargesheet with accompanying documents to the accused. The soft copy is a copy made available for the benefit of the accused/counsel. Accordingly, the court also cannot ask for supply of soft copies in the particular manner which is more comfortable of handy to him.”
The ASG elaborated on the provision and said that, “There is a proviso (in the CrPC) that if any document is voluminous, then instead of furnishing a copy thereof, the court can direct that he be allowed to inspect it either personally or through pleader in court. This proviso indicates that hard copy has to be supplied as this proviso would not apply to soft copy. Moreover, not every accused would be comfortable with a soft copy and the purpose of supply of copy is to provide the accused with necessary material set against him.”
The court sternly responded to the State submission that they would require 15 days’ time to obtain sanction for funds from the Delhi Government to provide hard copies of the charge sheet for all the accused. It said, “The Court is not impressed by the submissions made by the Investigating Officers. Once the charge-sheet has been filed by the Investigating Agency, voluminous as it is, then with some alacrity, a copy of it has to be provided in hard copy to every accused which is also the direction of the court. They may require sanction of funds for the said purpose; however, they were supposed to act promptly.”
The single bench was hearing applications filed by Khalid Saifi, Ishrat Jahan @ Pinky, Meeran Haider, Tahir Hussain, Shadab Ahmad, Natasha Narwal, Asif Iqbal Tanha for a hard copy of the chargesheet. Narwal had also sought an OCR searchable digital copy of the chargesheet.
The matter is expected to be taken up today, when the DCP, Special Cell has also been ordered to be present.
The order may be read here: