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[Bail Applications] Accused is entitled to copies of report of Jail Superintendent & IO, Delhi HC

The Delhi HC on June 29, 2020 {CHIRAG MADAN vs UNION OF INDIA & ORS.} held that whenever the Court is relying upon a report of the Jail Superintendent, which is normally called by the order of the Court for a specific purpose on case to case basis, the copy of the same should be given to the accused, save and except in exceptional cases.

The Division Bench of Delhi High Court, comprising of Chief Justice D.N. Patel & Justice Prateek Jalan, held that 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 APP, copy thereof should be given to the applicant of the bail application. It was held that whenever such copy is not supplied to the applicant of the application under Code of Criminal Procedure, especially under Sections 437, 438 and 439 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, then reasons will be recorded by the Court in the order. 

The PIL was filed in HC with a seminal issue, that in several cases, reports are being called from Jail Superintendents in bail matters. Though the same are being relied upon by the Courts, but the copies thereof are not being supplied to the accused. It was submitted by the petitioner that orders have been passed, dismissing the bail application preferred by the accused by relying upon the report given by Jail Superintendent.

The Delhi HC held, however, as a general rule, a copy of the report given by the Jail Superintendent as well as the report given by the Investigating Officer should be supplied to the applicant so that accused can properly understand the reasons given therein and defend their case in the Court of law. It was held that this is a basic need for access to justice and for rendering justice to the public at large. 

It was held that it further appears from the facts of the case that as far as possible, the report of the Investigating Officer as well as of the Jail Superintendent should be given to the Court in advance. Similarly, it was held that copies of these reports should also be given to the accused/applicant in advance so that they can also defend their case effectively and efficiently in the Court of law. 

With these observations, the writ petition was allowed and disposed of by the HC.

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