SC rejects plea of Zee editors

SC rejects plea of Zee editors

SC rejects plea of Zee editors

Having given consent for voice samples during an investigation, the accused cannot demand that there should be no inculpatory words from the disputed text, the Supreme Court has held.

The court, however, said such a voice sample would not contain the full sentence from the disputed text. “A commonality of words is necessary to facilitate a spectrographic examination,” a three-judge bench presided over by Chief Justice T S Thakur said, adding that it would address the legitimate concern of the investigators for making a fair comparison.

“It is not open to the accused to dictate the course of investigation,” the court said and rejected a plea by Zee News editor Sudhir Chaudhary and his then colleague Samir Ahluwalia saying that they should not be made to read the text that contained inculpatory words. They claimed such a course would violate their right to fair trial.

Chaudhary and Ahluwalia had approached the Supreme Court after the Delhi High Court rejected their contention that the direction to furnish voice sample was in violation of their fundamental right under Article 20(3) (no person accused of an offence shall be compelled to be witness against himself) of the Constitution.

The petitioners were arrested on November 27, 2012 upon registration of an FIR saying that they were involved in a sting operation demanding money from the Jindal Steel Company Pvt Ltd for not telecasting a news item relating to coal block allocation scam.

After noting that the petitioners had already given their consent for voice samples, the bench directed to furnish a transcript of the disputed text in a sealed envelope.

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