SC sets aside Allahabad HC order that permitted Former Union Minister Chinmayanand to access Victim’s Statement under Section 164 CrPC

The Supreme Court set aside the Allahabad High Court order that allowed former Union Minister and BJP leader Chinmayanand to seek a certified copy of the statement of the victim recovered under Section 164 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. The BJP leader Chinmayand was accused of rape of a 23-year-old Law student.

Brief Facts

  • The Supreme Court had earlier directed the government of UP to set up an SIT headed by an IG-rank officer to investigate the charges levelled by the woman (a 23-year-old Law student), who had gone missing after accusing Chinmayanand of harassment.
  • On September 21, 2019, Chinmayanand was arrested by the SIT and was sent to jail. The 23-year-old Law student was as well booked on charges of extortion.
  • As per the petition, the student had made an in depth complaint to the SIT in September. But, FIR was not registered on her complaint, compelling her to approach the High Court’s Monitoring Bench in this regard.
  • On February 20, 2020, the Supreme Court agreed to list immediately a plea challenging the Allahabad HC’s order granting bail to the accused.
  • The Allahabad High Court granted bail to Chinmayanand, observing that it is unclear as to who has used whom between the former BJP MP and the LLM student who has alleged the sexual assault.
  • The Petitioner had argued that the Allahabad HC’s direction, granting a copy of the victim’s statement before the filing of the charge sheet was contrary to law and may have far-reaching effects.
  • The Petitioner further argued that the High Court’s reliance on the judgment delivered in Raju v. State of U.P. & Ors., 2012 Law Suit (All) 723, was faulty inasmuch as the same was a reference to an approach that was adopted prior to the amendment of CrPC in 1973 and that the criminal jurisprudence had seen an overhaul since then.
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Also Read: Bombay HC grants bail to Rhea Chakraborty in NDPS Case

SC’s Observation
The Court reaffirmed the guidelines laid down in the case of State of Karnataka v. Shivanna in which it had been observed that “Upon receipt of information relating to the commission of offence of rape, the investigating officer shall take 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”.

The Court held that the view taken by the High Court would be having a far-reaching effect not only in the Petitioner’s case but in all cases of sexual offences against the women, where the direction for supply of a copy of statement of victim u/s 164 CrPC even during the investigation would unreasonably put the accused to an advantageous position to and would cause irreversible damage to the investigation and case of the prosecutrix. It is, therefore, very necessary for this Hon’ble Court to interfere and add a caveat in the High Court’s order that the statement of the victim recorded u/s Section 164 CrPC cannot be given to the accused till charge-sheet is filed and cognizance has been taken by the court concerned.

Also Read: “Accused Was a Juvenile at the Time of Occurrence”: SC

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