The Gujarat High Court granted in part Former IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt's request for the production of certain documents, including a summary report related to the trial in a 1996 case under the Narcotics Drugs Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985.
The prosecution cannot withhold documents that were not part of the charge sheet but were seized by the investigating agency during the investigation of the offence simply because the documents sought to be summoned are not part of the charge sheet, according to Justice Ilesh J. Vora.
Bhatt had petitioned the Special Court for the production of the following documents:
1) Investigation papers of "A" Summary report, Exh:18–279, as well as case diary pages 1–42, case diary pages 1–29, and 16 documents attached to the case diary;
2) C.R. Nos. 51/1996 and 54/1996, registered at Agthala Police Station, are copies of the FIR.
3)Mr. Dhagal came for investigation at Palanpur Police Station and carried out investigation with respect to the application made under the provisions of Human Rights, as a result, all relevant documents pertaining to said inquiry conducted by Mr. Dhagal were produced.
The Trial Court dismissed the applications, noting that he had not established that the documents sought were "necessary and desirable" for the just resolution of the case and that they were filed with the intent of delaying the trial proceedings.
A Summary report, one of the claimed documents, was not included in the charge sheet, but after the investigation was completed, the IO forwarded it to the Special Court in a sealed cover. In opposition to Sanjiv Bhatt's plea before the High Court, the prosecution argued that because those papers were not part of the charge sheet, they did not have to be provided to the accused. In this regard, the court made the following observations:
"What is significant is that if, in a given situation, the accused comes to the court contending that some papers forwarded to the Court by the Investigating Agency have not been exhibited by the prosecution as the same favours the accused, the court must concede a right to the accused to have an assess to the said documents....The "A" Summary report can be termed to be a part of the charge sheet, because investigating whereas, some of the documents, whether it favours the accused,
In partlt granting Sanjiv Bhatt's applications, the court stated:
"In light of the foregoing, this Court believes that the investigating agency, as a part of the State, is legally required to be fair, just, and reasonable. It is undeniably true that, since his arrest in the alleged crime, the applicant has filed numerous applications before this or the trial Court under various provisions of the Code, and as a result, the trial could not begin. However, as a guardian of fundamental rights enshrined in the Indian Constitution, the Court should have decided the issue in accordance with the larger interest and rights of the accused's fair trial and defence."
The court also ordered the Special Judge of the NDPS Court to expedite the trial proceedings and complete them successfully within nine months.