PANCHANAN MONDAL Vs. THE STATE
HIGH COURT OF CALCUTTA
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TALUKDAR, J. -
(1.) THIS Rule is at the instance of the accused petitioner against an order dated the 21st April 1969, passed by Sri A. K. Roy. Sub.Divisional Magistrate, Tamluk in C. R. Case No. 728 of 1968 rejecting the prayer of the accused -petitioner to grant a certified copy of the first information report in the case to him.
(2.) A point of law of some importance arises in the Rule and the background of facts leading on to the same may be put in a short compass. The accused Panchanan Mondal was arrested in connection' with Panskura P. S. Case No'28 of 396m under Sa 302/201, Penal Code and produced before the learned Sub -Divisional Magistrate, Tamluk on 22.10 -1968. The forwarding report by the police stated that the accused was suspected in the P. I R. by the complainant and his complicity transpired during the investigation He was directed to be in jail custody till the 6th November, 1968. On a prayer for bail made on his behalf on 6 11 -1968, the C. 8 I. opposed the same and the prayer was rejected at that stage Tagid was issued for the report from the I. O and the memo of evidence was called for. On 20 11.1968, the memo of evidence, which was not submitted was again called for and the application for bail was rejected. The next date fixed was on 4 12 1968, when again the prayer for bail was rejected by the learned Magistrate on going through the memo of evidence. On the 18th December 1968, again the prayer for bail was refused on the ground that the allegations were serious and there was a chance of abacondence. A tagid was issued for the report by the I. O. fixing 2 1.1969 as the next date. The prayers for bail made on behalf of the accused were thereafter rejected on 2.1.1969, U.I. 1969, 8.3 -1969, 15.3.1969 and 31.3 -1969. A tagid was also issued for the report from the I. O. on the last date, On 21 -4 -1969 a prayer was made on behalf of the defence for granting a oopy of the first information report and the same was opposed by the C. S. I. The learned Sub Divisional Magistrate ultimately rejected the said prayer on the ground that the charge sheet was not yet submitted and that the right to obtain a copy of the P. I. R. before the charge sheet is filed, has been taken away by implications under the provisions of Section 173 (4), Criminal P.C. The said order has been impugned and the present Rule was issued.
Mr. Ajit Kumar Dutt, Advocate (with Mr. Chittaranjan Das, Advocate) appearing in support of the Rule -made a four.fold submission. Mr. Dutt contended in the first place that the F. I. R. is not the result of an investigation consisting of materials collected during the same and as such it is not barred Under Section 162 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. The second contention of Mr Dutt is that the accused is entitled to have copies of any document sent to the Court as part of the record and the F. I, R. being one such document, the accused is entitled to a copy thereof on payment of the legal fees, under the provisions of 8. 157 (1) of the Criminal P.C. The third contention of Mr, Dutt in one of law and is that the P. I. R, is a public document, entitling the party concerned to have a certified copy thereof Under Sections 74(1)(iii) and 76 of the Indian Evidence Act read with Rule 308 of the Criminal Rules and Orders of the High Court, Calcutta on payment of the legal fees therefore Mr. Dutt referred to several cases in support of his contention and the flame would be considered in the proper context. The fourth and last submission of Mr. Dutt is the ground of prejudice, based on the principles of natural justice. He contended that if a copy of the first information report be denied to the accused at the earliest stage and is made to wait till he is entitled to receive a free copy of the same Under Section 173(4) of the Criminal P.C. at a later stage, he will be seriously handicapped in his defence particularly with regard to his prayers for bail. Mr. Praaun Chandra Ghosh, Advocate, appearing on behalf of the State fairly submitted that the point raised by Mr. Dutt is one of first impression there being no reported decision on the same after the amendment. He made, however, a broad submission that the Rule has become infructuous as the charge -sheet, has since been submitted in this case entitling the accused to receive a free copy of the P. I. R, along with other documents or relevant extracts thereof on which the prosecution proposed to rely. In reply to specific contention raised by Mr. Dutt based on 8. 157 (1), Criminal P.C., Mr. Ghosh submitted that the copies of all documents sent to the Court, thereby forming part of the record, cannot be as such delivered to the accused irrespective of the stage reached, in the ease and that the delivery of such copies will depend on the stage as enjoined in the statute. So far as the F. I. R. is concerned Mr. Ghosh contended that in view of the provisions of 8. 173 (4) of the Criminal P.C., a certified copy thereof should not be given to the accused at this stage. Mr. Ghosh next oon -tended that in view of the provisions of Section 164 of the Criminal P.C. the first information report is not a public document and in this connection he referred to the language of the provisions contained in 8. 74 (1) (iii) of the Indian Evidence Act. In any event, according to Mr. Ghosh, the accused is not entitled to a certified copy of the F, I. R. at this stage in view of the provisions of Section 173 (4) of the Criminal P.C. Some cases were also referred to by him and the same would be considered in the proper context. Mr. Ghosh finally submitted that there is no question of prejudice as the accused will duly receive a free copy of the F. I. R. at the proper stage Under Section 173 (4) of the Criminal P.C.
(3.) THE first contention of Mr. Dutt has got much force behind it. The F. I. R. is not barred Under Section 162 of the Criminal P, C. as it is not the result of any investigation and does not consist of materials collected during the same, To be preoise, the F. I. R. is indeed the starting point of an investigation and not the result thereof and bo is not barred Under Section 162 of the Criminal P.C.;
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