Parties Can Any Time Apply to the Trial Court for Production of Documents: SC


In a recent but very important judgment, the Supreme Court has analyzed and delated upon the scope and extent of sections 265 (c) and 94 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1998, and has held that these two sections, which give the parties to the case a right to apply to the court to issue directions for production of documents, are distinct from each other, and both of these work independently. One section is not dependent on another, nor one section controls the scope and extent of another.

Briefly stating the facts, the accused applied to the trial court to direct respondent to produce certain documents necessary for the decision of the case. The application was dismissed and the dismissal order was challenged in criminal revision before the High Court. The High Court allowed not only the revision but also the application. The respondent approached the Supreme court and asked for reversing the judgment of the HC.

In this background, the Supreme Court has had in depth view of sections 94 and 265-C of the Cr.PC. The Court, in short, has held that section 94 is available for both of the parties, but the applicant has to furnish reasons as to why the production of those documents is necessary. Application under the said section can be moved any time and by any of the parties to the case.

In case of application under section 265c, there is no such requirement to give reasons but it shall not be frivolous to delay the case. This section is available to the accused party alone, not the prosecution. Another point the Court highlighted and settled in the case in hand, is that such application for direction of producing the relevant documents can be filed at any stage, even before entering on defense.

The Court at the end partly maintained and partly set aside the judgment of the High Court: the part where the application was allowed was set aside and the part where the trial court’s order was rejected was maintained.

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