Monday, Dec 16, 2019 | Last Update : 11:09 AM IST

Sealed cover practice is against fair trial, says Supreme Court

THE ASIAN AGE. | PRAMOD KUMAR
Published : Dec 5, 2019, 1:21 am IST
Updated : Dec 5, 2019, 7:14 am IST

The court said this while granting bail to former finance minister P.Chidambaram in INX Media money laundering case.

Supreme Court of India (Photo: PTI)
 Supreme Court of India (Photo: PTI)

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday said though it was open to the court to peruse material relating to a case that has surfaced in the course of investigation and handed over to it in a sealed cover but doing so in every case would be against the concept of fair trial. “…though it is held that it would be open for the court to peruse the documents, it would be against the concept of fair trial if in every case the prosecution presents documents in sealed cover and the findings on the same are recorded as if the offence is committed and the same is treated as having a bearing for denial or grant of bail,” said a bench of Justice R. Banumathi, Justice A.S. Bopanna and Justice Hrishikesh Roy.

The court said this while granting bail to former finance minister P.Chidambaram in INX Media money laundering case. Mr Chidambaram was ordered to be released after 106 days of incarceration. He was taken into custody on August 21, 2019.

The court held that it would be contrary to the concept of fair trial if in every criminal case prosecution hands over to the court material in sealed cover that has emerged during the course of investigation.

This assumes significance as the top court by its September 5, 2019, judgment had said it was open for the court to receive the materials that has emerged during investigation and peruse the same to satisfy its conscience while deciding plea for the grant of bail/anticipatory bail.

The court had said that it could peruse the material to satisfy its conscience whether investigation was moving in right direction.

The top court had said this on September 5, 2019, while addressing the question whether the court could look into the documents, handed over to it in a sealed cover
by the prosecution, while considering an application for bail or pre-arrest bail.

The top court had justified perusing the material handed over to it in a sealed cover while rejecting Mr Chidambaram’s plea for anticipatory bail in the INX Media on September 5, 2019. Mr Chidambaram had moved the top court challenging the rejection of his pre-arrest bail in INX Media case by Delhi high court on August 20, 2019.

Tags: supreme court