Courts ought to give reports filed by jail or police in bail matters to accused: HC

New Delhi, Jun 30 (PTI) The Delhi High Court has made it clear that whenever courts call for any report from jail authorities or the police in a bail application, its copy should be given to the accused for properly understanding the reasons given in it as “this is a basic need for access to justice and for rendering justice to the public at large”.

In case the status report's copy is not supplied to the applicant accused, the reasons have to be recorded by the court in the order, it said.

A bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice Prateek Jalan said as far as possible, the report of the Investigating Officer (IO) of a case as well as of the Jail Superintendent should be given to the court in advance.

Similarly, copies of these reports should also be given to the accused in advance so that they can also defend their case effectively and efficiently in the court of law, the bench said.

“This is a basic need for access to justice and for rendering justice to the public at large,” it said.

“Ordinarily, as a general rule, it ought to be kept in mind by the courts that whenever any report is called for from the Jail Superintendent and is given to the court either directly or through prosecutor, copy thereof should be given to the applicant of the bail application.

“Whenever such copy is not supplied to the applicant of the application under Code of Criminal Procedure, especially under sections 437, 438 and 439 (bail) of the Code of Criminal Procedure, then reasons will be recorded by the court in the order,” the bench said.

The high court passed the order while allowing a petition filed by Chirag Madan seeking directions for supply of status reports by the Jail Superintendent or reply filed on behalf of the prosecution at the time hearing bail applications before the metropolitan magistrates and sessions judges to the accused or his or her counsel.

The high 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.

It said a copy of this order be sent to the Chief Secretary of Delhi Government, Director General (Prisons), District and Sessions Judge of all the district courts, Member Secretary of Delhi State Legal Services Authority (DSLSA) and all the jail authorities for its compliance “forthwith” .

During the hearing, senior advocate Siddharth Luthra, appearing for Madan, submitted that in several cases, reports are being called from Jail Superintendents in bail matters and though the reports are being relied upon by the courts, the copies are not being supplied to the accused.

Delhi government standing counsel (criminal) Rahul Mehra and advocate Chaitanya Gosain, appearing for the state, submitted that there is no specific statement, looking to the orders which are annexed with this petition, to the effect that in spite of demand, the accused has not been supplied a copy of the report of the Jail Superintendent.

They 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 IO, except in exceptional cases where reasons are recorded in writing in the order. PTI SKV HMP SA