Can A Convict Access Case Diary Under RTI, Telangana High Court ?

Can A Convict Access Case Diary Under RTI, Telangana High Court ?

Can A Convict Access Case Diary Under RTI, Telangana High Court ?

The Telangana High Court has reserved its judgement to answer the question of whether a convicted person can seek a copy of Case Diary Part-I under the Right to Information Act, 2005.

Justice B. Vijaysen Reddy added that the exception provisions were ambiguous as to whether a convict is entitled to access the Case Diary under the Act, the details therein being information about their own case.“The exception provisions under section 8 of the RTI Act are very vague.

The contention of the petitioner is that first I was accused; now I am convict, and I am entitled to get information about my own case.”In 2011, based on a complaint FIR was registered against him, an investigation was conducted, and a charge sheet was filed charging him for the offences punishable under sections 376, 354, 506 & 201 IPC.

A trial was conducted and he was convicted and penalised with a prison sentence of 10 years. An appeal is filed against the conviction and the same is still pending. In 2014, the petitioner filed an RTI under section 6 of the RTI Act for release of information of case diary-I, for the crime he was convicted for. The PIO/DCP, Detective Department rejected the same stating that due to the confidential nature of the case diary, it cannot be provided as per section 172(3) of the CrPC.

The order of the PIO was appealed before the AP Information Commission, which too was dismissed. Aggrieved, the petitioner has approached the court by way of the present writ. Counsel on behalf of petitioner Advocate R. Sameer Ahmed argued that the rejection of the application did not contain detailed reasons for rejection as mandated under the Act. “The rejection was very vague. It just stated that the document was confidential.

There need to be detailed reasons in writing. A police officer is a public authority, investigation is a public investigation. If the police feel that disclosure of such dairy will endanger the life of few persons then as per section 10 of RTI they can very well conceal the objectionable information and disclose the remaining.” stated Advocate Ahmed.He further stated that Section 8(1)(b) of the RTI Act permits withholding information that has been ‘expressly forbidden by a court of law’. He further stated that Section 8 stipulated that a “court of law or tribunal” could bar information from being released. However, he stated that an investigation is not a ‘Court of law’.

It was also submitted that the investigation was complete, the charge sheet had been filed and the accused was convicted. The petitioner was no longer an ‘accused’ and section 173(2) could not be invoked. “Recording and maintenance of Case Dairy Part-1 is part and parcel of investigation and it is a public activity. I have no problem if access to such information is denied to the accused or his agents during the time of investigation and trial. But once trial has concluded, no prejudice will be caused to the police unless if they want to conceal their activities.”Justice Reddy interjected and noted “Appeal is the continuation of the main case. So it is as good as you are being prosecuted today.

This is the fundamental principle of law.”The petitioner's counsel then relied on Deputy Commissioner of Police vs. D.K Sharma wherein the Delhi High Court has held, that once the trial is complete and the accused is convicted, no prejudice will be caused if he has access to the Case Diary. However, the counsel also reluctantly conceded that the judgement would not act as a binding precedent. Government Pleader Ram Prasad Teegala appraised the Court that the Case Dairy contains two parts, Part I and Part II. He stated that while part two is part of the public domain, Part I is more detailed, extensive and contains various details that are mostly not in the Public Domain. Public Prosecutor Pratap Reddy also pleaded his case before the Bench. The prosecution referred to clause 476(2) of the Telangana Police Manual and stated that the clause mandated the physical safety of the case diary and its contents. He argued that the clause stipulates that only the Investigating Officer, Superior officers and in charge officer are allowed to access the case diary. Furthermore, he contended that the clause also stipulates that the officers who have access to the case diary shall not disclose the contents to anybody, specifically the accused. He further stated that as per section 173(2) of CrPC, the accused has only limited access to the Case Dairy and that is only during cross-examination. In addition to that, the PP stated that the right to cross-examine via case diary is very limited and that even that would arise only when: the court uses it for contradiction, or the police uses it to refresh the memory of the accused. He averred that if the accused does not refer to the case diary during cross-examination, he loses the right to use the entries.

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