Sec.91 of CrPC can be invoked for production of documents by way of issuance of summons at any stage of investigation, inquiry, trial or other proceedings: Delhi High Court
Justice Swarana Kanta Sharma [05-02-2024]
Read Order: SHRI B. SAMBI REDDY v. CBI [DEL HC- CRL M.C.101/2020]
New Delhi, February 12, 2024: The Delhi High Court has upheld the Trial Court’s order rejecting the petitioner’s application u/s 91 of CrPC to summon relevant documents as he failed to establish the necessity of presenting such documents to facilitate the further adjudication of the case.
The facts of the case suggested that in the year 2015, CBI had registered a case under Section 7 of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988, (PC Act), against the petitioner on the basis of a complaint made by one Sh. K.V. Singh i.e., the complainant. It had been alleged that a case was under investigation against the complainant with CBI and for showing favour to the complainant in the ongoing investigation, the petitioner had demanded an amount of Rs 25 lakhs as bribe from him, which had been later reduced to 10 lakhs by the petitioner. As per the demand the bribe amount of Rs. 10 lakhs had to be given to him in two instalments of Rs 5 lakhs each. Since the complainant was not willing to give the bribe, he had lodged a written complaint against the petitioner for taking necessary legal action against him.
Though, Rs. 5 lakh had been demanded in first instalment, the complainant was only able to arrange Rs. 1 lakh. After that, on the receipt of aforementioned complaint CBI constituted, a Trap team including two independent witnesses and the accused was caught red-handed while demanding and accepting bribe amount of Rs. 1 lakh at Mayur Vihar, Delhi on 04.01.2015.
During interrogation, the petitioner had disclosed that he had demanded bribe on behalf of one Investigating Officer The investigation further disclosed that there was ample reliable evidence in the form of incriminating telephonic conversations between the present petitioner and the complainant, wherein it was established that the petitioner had demanded bribe from the complainant for showing him favour in the case investigated by CBI against him. CBI had filed a chargesheet against the petitioner and Sanjay Kumar Jha for offences punishable under Sections 120-B of IPC read with Section 7, 8 and 13(2), 13 (1)(d) of the PC Act, before the Trial Court. Thereafter, the Trial Court had framed charges against the petitioner. The petitioner approached the Delhi High Court after his application under Section 91 of Cr.P.C. to summon relevant documents was dismissed.
At the outset, the Single Judge Bench of Justice Swarana Kanta Sharma referred to V.L.S. Finance Ltd. v. S.P. Gupta [LQ/SC/2016/206] in order to discuss the scope of section 91 of CrPC. The Bench further elucidated the following fundamental ingredients:
- Section 91 can be invoked for production of documents or other things by way of issuance of summons.
- Section 91 can be invoked at any stage of investigation, inquiry, trial, or other proceedings under the Cr.P.C.
- This invocation can take place when the Court or the Police deems the production of documents necessary or desirable for the purpose of investigation, inquiry, trial, or other proceedings under Cr.P.C.
- The satisfaction regarding the necessity or desirability of the Court or the Police is essential for invoking this provision.
- The production of documents or other items is to be carried out before the Court if directed by the Court, or before the officer if directed by a Police Officer.
The Bench was of the opinion that the documents requested by the petitioner did not pertain to the case file or documents pertaining to the case registered against him, rather are a part of another case alleged to have been registered on the complaint of the co-accused against the complainant in the present case. It was the case of the CBI that said documents which had already been supplied to the petitioner were in no manner related to the case of the prosecution nor had been relied upon by the prosecution to prove its case beyond reasonable doubt. Even then by the orders of the Trial Court, the documents had been provided to the petitioner earlier. This only implied that the petitioner was trying to delay the Trial.
The Bench further noticed that in the instant case, the petitioner did not contend that specific documents, crucial for the prosecution’s assertion of its case beyond reasonable doubt, had not been disclosed. Instead, the petitioner sough reference to another case purportedly filed against the complainant.
“In the court's assessment, at this juncture when the Trial is at the stage of prosecution evidence, the petitioner has not successfully demonstrated to the satisfaction of this court why these documents are pertinent for examination at this stage. In case he needs them, he can file appropriate application before the concerned Court to be provided with certified copies of those documents as they pertain to another State and move appropriate Court of law there in case he fails to get the same”, the Bench said.
Referring to the judgment in Manoj v. State of M.P., [LQ/SC/2022/710], the Bench held, “…this Court is of the opinion that right of the petitioner to move an appropriate application before the competent court to summon documents be reserved and the documents which the petitioner wishes to rely upon can be summoned at the stage of defence evidence in accordance with law. At this stage, this Court finds no ground to interfere with the impugned order dated 16.11.2019 passed by learned Special Judge, Rouse Avenue Court, New Delhi.”
Thus, dismissing the petition, the Bench clarified that the petitioner would be at liberty to avail appropriate remedies at relevant stage of the trial in accordance with law before the competent court of law.
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