Relying on earlier decision here, single judge bench of Madras High Court held as follows:
From Para 12,
12. Mr. V. Karthik has also brought to the notice of the Court the following decisions in Jagatbhai Punjabhai Palkhiwala and others v. Vikrambhai Punjabhai Palkhiwala and others, AIR 1985 Gujarat 112; K. Nagarajan v. K.S Ramasamy, 2003 (3) M.L.J 211; and K.R. Sengottuvelu v. Karuppa Naicker, 2005 (5) CTC 91. The above decisions are relating to Civil cases, wherein it has been held that since the documents are in the custody of the Court, the parties cannot take xerox copies of the same without the permission of the Court, but that does not mean that the Court can refuse such permission only on the ground that they have not become part of the record of the Suit.
From Para 16,
16. The main objection raised by the learned counsel for the respondent is that since the documents filed along with the Complaint have not been marked, the accused, at this stage, are not entitled to get certified copies of the same. In support of the said contention, the learned counsel relied upon the decision of the Apex Court reported in AIR 1970 SC 962, cited supra. It has to be pointed out that in the said decision, the Hon’ble Apex Court has held that the High Court was not justified, in indirectly applying to cases instituted on Private Complaints the requirements of Section 173(4), Cr.P.C In the said decision what the Hon’ble Court has held is that it was impermissible for the High Court to read into Section 94, Cr.P.C, the requirements of Section 173(4), Cr.P.C on the ground that Section 173(4), Cr.P.C is not applicable to Private Complaints. On the said reasoning, the direction issued by the High Court directing the prosecution to furnish copies of the documents to the accused was set aside. But it has to be pointed out that in that decision, the question as to whether the accused is entitled to get certified copies of the documents filed along with the Private Complaint did not come up for consideration and hence, the said decision is not of any help to the respondent.
From Para 18,
18. In this context, it is pertinent to point out that the learned counsel for the respondent has not referred to any provision in the Criminal Procedure Code containing any prohibition to furnish certified copies of the documents filed along with the Private Complaint. The prohibition like the one contained under Section 173(4), Cr.P.C is not there as far as the documents filed along with the Private Complaint are concerned. Therefore, unless there is a statutory prohibition, it cannot be said that the accused is not entitled to get certified copies of the documents filed along with the Private Complaint.
From Para 20,
20. Similarly, in a Criminal case taken cognizance on the basis of the Private Complaint also if the allegations contained in the Complaint and the documents accompanied with the Complaint do not prima facie reveal the commission of any offence and the ingredients of the offence are not made out, it is always open to the accused to approach the High Court under Section 482, Cr.P.C seeking for quashing of the proceedings. For taking recourse under Section 482, Cr.P.C, it is necessary for the accused to produce before the Court a copy of the Complaint as well as the documents filed along with the Complaint. Since before taking cognizance, the learned Judicial Magistrate is bound to apply his judicial mind not only to the allegations contained in the Complaint but also to the documents accompanying the same and an order taking cognizance is a judicial order and as such the accused is entitled to challenge the cognizance taken in the case. As per Section 363(5), Cr.P.C, Save as otherwise provided in subsection (2), any person affected by an order passed by the Court on an Application made in this behalf and on payment of the prescribed charges be given a copy of such order or of any deposition or other part of the record. If the question is considered in the light of Section 363(5), Cr.P.C, it could be held that since, as pointed out above, an order taking cognizance is a judicial order, Section 363(5) is attracted and on that ground also the accused is entitled to get a copy of the part of the record of a Criminal case to enable him to seek appropriate remedy before the higher forum. In my considered view, Rule 339 of the Criminal Rules of Practice is in consonance with the provisions contained in Section 363(5), Cr.P.C It is also to be pointed out that by furnishing of certified copies of the documents filed along with the Private Complaint, no prejudice whatsoever is going to be caused to the complainant, whereas, if the request of the accused is rejected, it will definitely prejudice the right of the accused in seeking appropriate legal remedy before the higher Courts.
From Para 22,
22. A reading of the aforesaid provision shows that in a case instituted otherwise than on a police report, if it appears to the Magistrate issuing process under Section 204, Cr.P.C, that the offence is triable exclusively by the Court of Session, he shall furnish to the accused a copy of each of the documents filed along with the Complaint. That Sections casts duty on the Court to furnish the said documents free of cost. But similar duty is not cast on the Magistrate to furnish copies of the documents free of cost if the case is not triable exclusively by the Court of Session. It would mean that it is not incumbent on the part of the learned Judicial Magistrate to furnish copies of the documents free of cost either at the time of sending the process or on the appearance of the accused. There is no other provision which prohibits the accused from applying for certified copies of those documents filed along with the Complaint. As pointed out above, in the absence of any specific prohibition in the Cr.P.C either expressly or impliedly, in the considered view of this Court, the accused cannot be deprived of his right to get certified copies of the documents filed along with the Complaint so as to defend himself in the case as long as such furnishing of certified copies would not prejudice the case of the respondent.
Rev. Samuel D. Stephens and Ors Vs Pastor A. Samuel Ramasamy on 27 Feb 2009 (CM Ver)
Court Kutchehry Version:
Rev. Samuel D. Stephens and Ors Vs Pastor A. Samuel Ramasamy on 27 Feb 2009 (CK Ver)
Citations : [2009 LW CRL 1 386], [2009 SCC ONLINE MAD 576], [2009 MWN CRI 1 298], [2009 MLJ CRL 2 436]
Other Sources :
The Index is here.