Provide Punjab govt sacrilege case closure report: Court

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Mohali, Oct 5 (IANS) A Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court, here on Saturday, upheld Punjab’s right to access the Bargari sacrilege cases closure report and asked that a certified copy of the report, along with attached documents, be given to the state.

CBI Special Judge Nirbhow Singh allowed the revision petition filed by the state government against the July 23 order passed by a Special Judicial Magistrate, who had dismissed state’s application for supply of closure report.

The judge asked the Special Magistrate to provide the documents to the state, according to Advocate General Atul Nanda. The Advocate General had set up a team of two special public prosecutors, Rajesh Salwan and Sanjeev Batra, (both district attorneys) to argue the revision petition in the court.

Along with the special public prosecutors, Assiatant Inspector General (Crime) Sarabjeet Singh was also present on behalf of the state.

Accepting the state’s contention that it was entitled to copies of the closure report and attached documents, the said as per the relevant sections of the Punjab Civil and Criminal Courts Preparation and Supply of Copies of Record Rules, 1965, “the party to a criminal case is entitled to copy of challan and similarly even a stranger to a criminal case is entitled for the same in case sufficient reason is shown to the satisfaction of the court.”

Allowing the revision petition, the court observed as per Rule 4(4) copies required for official purpose by public officers of the central government or any state government shall be supplied free of cost, if the application for the supply of copy is endorsed by the head of the department.

“It’s not the case of CBI that the closure report or documents attached thereto are confidential or classified documents and neither any application was filed before the trial court under Section 173(6) Cr.PC for not giving any part of documents to the complainant or the accused of the case being against the public interest,” the judge noted.

“As per Rule 3(2), even a stranger is entitled for copy of the challan in case sufficient reason is shown to the satisfaction of the court. The word ‘stranger’ is not defined in the rules and the dictionary meaning of a word ‘stranger’ is a person whom one doesn’t know or with whom one is not familiar. In view of the facts stated above the status of state of Punjab in any case is better than that of a stranger,” the judge ruled.

The prosecution’s stand was the three FIRs in the sacrilege cases were initially registered by the Punjab Police, but the investigation was later handed over by the state to the CBI, which re-registered the cases.

The prosecution also submitted only the investigation was transferred and the CBI had been informing the stage of investigation to the state from time to time.

Further, the prosecution argued later on, a resolution was passed by the Assembly vide which the investigation was taken back from the CBI and accordingly, on September 6, 2018, a notification was issued by the state, withdrawing the consent to the CBI to investigate the case.

–IANS

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