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Statement under Section 164 CrPC of a Rape victim must not be disclosed till Charge-sheet Is filed: Supreme Court

Statement under Section 164 CrPC of a Rape victim must not be disclosed till Charge-sheet Is filed: Supreme Court

The Supreme Court reaffirmed on Monday that a rape victim's statement taken under Section 164 CrPC should not be revealed to anyone, including the accused until the charge sheet or final report is filed.

The bench comprising of CJI UU Lalit and Justice Bela M. Trivedi, stated, "The documents now placed on record indicate that the accused did apply for such copy and was furnished the copy under stamp issued by the Copying Department, though the response filed by the concerned Court in answer to the queries raised by this Court, states that no such copy was given by the Court to anyone. In theory, what is projected in the contempt petition is quite correct that is to say despite authoritative pronouncements and directions issued by this Court the copy was applied for and furnished to the accused. Further, the copy of the statement under section 164 of Cr.PC was extensively referred to in the proceedings before the Court. It is quite unfortunate that the concerned Court also did not notice the violation of the directions issued by this Court."

While referring to the directions given in the cases State of Karnataka by Nonavinakere Police vs. Shivanna alias Tarkari Shivanna and A vs. State of Uttar Pradesh, the bench also suggested that the High Courts make appropriate modifications or amendments to the Criminal Practice and Trial Rules, incorporating provisions consistent with the directions in these decisions.

The petitioner's counsel pointed out that there are no provisions in the Rules of Criminal Practice and Criminal Trial framed by the High Courts across the country that are in tandem with the directions in the preceding decisions. As a result, the Court agreed with the counsel's suggestion that the practise rules framed by various high courts include and incorporate provisions consistent with the law declared in the preceding decisions.

However, the court stated that it would not exercise its contempt jurisdiction in this case. The petitioner's attorney emphasised that there are no provisions in the Rules of Criminal Practice and Criminal Trial created by the nation's High Courts that correspond to the directives in the aforementioned decisions. "Be that as it may, we are not quite convinced that any action in our contempt jurisdiction is required to be initiated in the present facts and circumstances of the case. Though we do not approve of the practice we refrain from exercising our jurisdiction in contempt."

The directions given in the State of Karnataka by Nonavinakere Police highlighted in the order is:-

10.1. Upon receipt of information relating to the commission of offence of rape, the investigating officer shall make immediate steps to take the victim to any Metropolitan/preferably Judicial Magistrate for the purpose of recording her statement under Section 164 CrPC. A copy of the statement under Section 164 CrPC should be handed over to the investigating officer immediately with a specific direction that the contents of such statement under Section 164 CrPC should not be disclosed to any person till charge-sheet/report under Section 173 CrPC is filed.

10.2. The investigating officer shall as far as possible take the victim to the nearest Lady Metropolitan/preferably Lady Judicial Magistrate.

10.3. The investigating officer shall record specifically the date and the time at which he learnt about the commission of the offence of rape and the date and time at which he took the victim to the Metropolitan/preferably Lady Judicial Magistrate as aforesaid.

10.4. If there is any delay exceeding 24 hours in taking the victim to the Magistrate, the investigating officer should record the reasons for the same in the case diary and hand over a copy of the same to the Magistrate.

10.5. Medical examination of the victim: Section 164-A CrPC inserted by Act 25 of 2005 in CrPC imposes an obligation on the part of investigating officer to get the victim of the rape immediately medically examined. A copy of the report of such medical examination should be immediately handed over to the Magistrate who records the statement of the victim under Section 164 CrPC.”

Case details

CONTEMPT PETITION (C) NO.555 OF 2022
IN
SPECIAL LEAVE PETITION (CRL.) NO.5073 OF 2011
X                ...PETITIONER(S)
 VERSUS
M. MAHENDER REDDY & ORS. ALLEGED CONTEMNORS   ...RESPONDENT(S)

Read the Complete judgment on the following link:-

https://main.sci.gov.in/supremecourt/2022/2376/2376_2022_1_15_39459_Order_01-Nov-2022.pdf

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