Accused entitled for reports from jail superintendent in bail matters: HC

Last Updated 17 August 2021, 07:06 IST

In a significant judgment, the Delhi High Court has held that whenever a report is called upon from jail superintendent by a court to decide upon a bail plea, its copy must be provided to the accused in advance to allow them to defend their case effectively and efficiently.

"This is a basic need for access to justice and for rendering justice to the public at large," a bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice Prateek Jalan said.

The court allowed a writ petition filed by Chirag Madan in its judgement on Monday (June 29) and solved a long pending problem for the accused in seeking bail.

Senior advocate Siddharth Luthra, appearing for the petitioner, submitted that in several cases, reports are being called from Jail Superintendents in bail matters. Though the same are being relied upon by the courts in deciding upon applications filed under Section 437, 438 and 439 of the Criminal Procedure Code, its copies are not being supplied to the accused.

Delhi government's counsel Rahul Mehra said normally, there is no reason for not supplying the copy of the report given by the Jail Superintendent or even the report of the Investigating Officer, save in exceptional cases where reasons are to be recorded. Such a report may be related to the medical condition and conduct of the accused.

The court said, "Every rule has its own exceptions and, depending upon the facts and circumstances of the case, there may be some cases where the report cannot be so supplied."

"However, as a general rule, a copy of the report given by the Jail Superintendent as well as the report given by the Investigating Officer should be supplied to the applicant so that accused can properly understand the reasons given therein and defend their case in the Court of law," it added.

(Published 30 June 2020, 11:24 IST)

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