Criminal Trident Pack: IPC, CrPC and IEA by Sr. Adv. G.S Shukla and Adv. Raghav Arora
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  • In Manoj vs State of Madhya Pradesh the Hon’ble Apex Court has observed that the prosecution in all criminal cases, shall furnish the list of statements, documents and exhibits which are not relied upon by the Investigating Officer (IO). 
  • The Court went on to observe that the role of the public prosecutor is intrinsically dedicated to ensuring the occurrence of a fair trial and not for a thirst to reach the case in conviction. 
  • The instant appeal had been filed by persons convicted under section 302 IPC. They were awarded capital punishment by the trial Court, which was later affirmed by the HC. Aggrieved, the present appeal was filed.
  • While pursuing the evidence on record, the Apex Court observed that the testimony of one police officer did not support the prosecution’s version of events and she had contradicted herself in her chief and cross examinations. 
  • The Court thus observed that the Public Prosecutors appointed under section 24 of CrPC are an independent  statutory authority who serve as officers of the Court. Their role is dedicated to conducting a fair trial and not for a thirst to reach a case for conviction. 
  • The Court referred to the decision in Siddharth Vashisht vs State of NCT Delhi (2010) SCC wherein it was observed that a Public Prosecutor has a wider set of duties than to mainly ensure that the accused is punished, the duties of ensuring a fair play in the proceedings, all relevant factors are brought before the Court in order for the determination of the truth and justice for all the parties including the victims. 
  • It was in this case that the Court went on to elaborate on the due process protection afforded to the accused and its effect on the responsibility of fair disclosure of the Public Prosecutor. It was observed that the constitutional mandate and the statutory rights given to the accused place an implied obligation upon the prosecution to make a fair disclosure. The concept of fair disclosure would take in its ambit furnishing of a document which the prosecution relied upon, whether filed in Court or not. 
  • In view of the same, the Court held that the prosecution, in interest of fairness, must as a rule, in all criminal trials, comply with the same and furnish the list of statements, documents, material objects and exhibits which are not relied upon by the Investigating Officer. 
     
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