The Supreme Court has agreed to examine the contempt petition filed against Telangana Police for allowing access to crucial statements recorded under Section 164 CrPC to the rape accused despite the charge sheet not being filed in the matter.
A bench of Chief Justice of India UU Lalit and S Ravindra Bhat on August 29 issued notice to Telangana state and listed the matter for September 26.
Advocates Tanya Agarwal, arguing counsel for the Petitioner and Shashank Singh has submitted that the law laid down by the top Court was not followed in the present matter and the statement of the victim recorded by the concerned Magistrate under Section 164 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) was extensively relied upon by the accused in various proceedings.
Advocate Tanya Agarwal has said that Investigating Agency allowed access to the such statement recorded under Section 164 of the Code, showing complete defiance in following the law laid down by this Court.
This contempt petition has been filed on behalf of the mother of two young children who have been victims of sexual abuse by their own father and his friends. The plea has been filed by Tanya Agarwal and Shashank Singh through an advocate on record Anil Kumar, who sought to initiate contempt proceedings against Telangana Police and the accused persons.
As per the petitioner, the top court had issued guidelines related to the crucial 164 CrPC statement wherein it was directed that the contents of a such statement under Section 164 CrPC should not be disclosed to any person till the charge sheet/report under Section 173 CrPC is filed.
“The investigation in all the above FIRs is pending and the charge sheet has not been filed yet and hence, there arises no occasion or opportunity for the Respondent No. 4 and 5 (accused persons) to get the copy of 164 CrPC statement and/or to know the contents of 164 CrPC statement and yet respondent no. 4 and respondent no. 5 on multiple occasions not only referred to but also annexed the copy of the 164 CrPC statements during the course of proceedings before the trial court,” the petitioner said.
Raising serious questions and doubts as to how the accused persons got the copy of the 164 CrPC statement and/or the contents thereof during the pendency of the investigation, the petitioner said that this issue needs to be looked into, inquired about, and investigated and the suspects be prosecuted and punished in accordance with the law.
Tanya Agarwal, arguing counsel for the Petitioner said that the 164 CrPC statement is the most crucial piece of evidence given by the victim in sexual crimes and has evidentiary value and the fact that the accused persons got access to it while the investigation is still pending is a matter of serious concern. and creates doubt in the investigation as well.
The petitioner advocate has cited the directions passed by the Supreme Court in the “State of Karnataka V Shivanna matter where the court has held that 164 CrPC statement of the victim is supreme and cannot be compromised in any manner.
Besides it, the petitioner’s lawyer also referred to the top court order whereby the top court has set aside an order from Allahabad High Court which granted permission to the accused to get access to 164 CrPC statement.
The top court had ruled at that time that Allahabad High Court completely erred in appreciating the directions issued by this Court, especially in a matter where the offences alleged against the accused are of sexual exploitation.