The order was given by a bench of Chief Justice Indira Banerjee and Justice P N Prakash, specially formed to deal with various issues, including recording test identification parades, confession/witness statement and dying declaration under CrPC section 164.
Laying down the guidelines for protecting witnesses of identification parades, the bench ordered the government to build exclusive rooms for the purpose with one-side view glass partition, separating those lined up for the parade, the witness and the magistrate.
The witnesses and the magistrate should not be visible to those lined up. But, the suspect and the dummies should be clearly visible to the witnesses and the magistrate. There should be proper illumination, the court directed.
The bench also ordered that the magistrates attending the parade, recording witnesses and confession statements and dying declarations, should on completion of the process, immediately provide a certified copy of their report to the investigation officer (IO).
There shall be a specific direction to the IO to use the report only for the purpose of investigation, and not to make its contents public until the probe was completed and final report filed in the court, the bench said.
The court also said it was not necessary for the IO to approach the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate or Chief Judicial Magistrate concerned with an application for nominating a magistrate to record the statement of a witness/victim under Section 164 CrPC.
It said any magistrate, whether he has got the jurisdiction or not to inquire into or try the case, can record the statement on the request of the IO.
The presiding officer of a special court empowered to take cognisance of an offence, without there being a need for committal, may also record the statement.
The special bench was formed after Justice Prakash was informed by the IO during the hearing of a bail application of an accused in a sexual abuse case that statements of four victims recorded by a magistrate were yet to be given to the police.
The judge had sought the case diary for perusing the 164 CrPC statements of the victims.
Though the statements were recorded by the magistrate on June 29 and 30 last, the police had not been furnished with copies of the same. Police would have to make an application for getting the same from the jurisdictional magistrate and only thereafter, the same would be furnished to them, the IO had submitted.
The additional public prosecutor had submitted that this practice was being adopted even for recording confession statements of the accused and the conduct of test identification parades.
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