Supreme Court Upholds Right to Fair Trial: Accused Entitled to All Documents, Including Electronic Records, U/S 207 of CrPC

Landmark Judgment Law Insider (1)

Published on: May 24, 2024 08:17 IST

Court: Supreme Court of India

Case: Naresh Kumar Yadav v. Ravindra Kumar 2008

Honourable Supreme Court of India has held that furnishing of documents to the accused under Section 207 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 is a facet of right of the accused to a fair trial enshrined in Article 21 of the Constitution of India.

It is held that all documents including “Electronic Record” produced for the inspection of the court along with the police report and which prosecution proposes to use against the accused must be furnished to the accused as per the mandate of Section 207 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973.

The concomitant is that the contents of the memory card/pen-drive must be furnished to the accused, which can be done in the form of cloned copy of the memory card/pen-drive.

13. The documents in terms of Sections 207 and 208 are supplied to make the accused aware of the materials which are sought to be utilised against him. The object is to enable the accused to defend himself properly. The idea behind the supply of copies is to put him on notice of what he has to meet at the trial. The effect of non-supply of copies has been considered by this Court in Noor Khan v. State of Rajasthan and Shakila Abdul Gafar Khan v.Vasant Raghunath Dhoble.

It was held that non-supply is not necessarily prejudicial to the accused. The court has to give a definite finding about the prejudice or otherwise. Even the supervision notes cannot be utilised by the prosecution as a piece of material or evidence against the accused.

If any reference is made before any court to the supervision notes, as has been noted above they are not to be taken note of by the court concerned. As many instances have come to light when the parties, as in the present case, make reference to the supervision notes, the inevitable conclusion is that they have unauthorised access to the official records.

Drafted By Abhijit Mishra

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