Section 207 of Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (Cr.P.C.) – Explained!

The Bombay High Court in Harminder Singh Viroli v. State of Maharashtra, held that no copy of the order of sanction to prosecute is required to be supplied to the accused since the sanction order is not a document mentioned in clauses (1) to (v) of Section 207 (1).

Non-furnishing of documents or statements etc. to the accused person as required by this section, it undoubtedly a serious irregularity but this in itself will not vitiate the trial. But if such omission has resulted into prejudice to the accused in his defence, it will be a sufficient ground to set aside his conviction and a fair retrial after furnishing to the accused copies of all the relevant documents must be ordered.

In U.G.A. Vagha Fatal (Harijan) v. State of Gujarat, the accused had sought copy of video tape given to Court as Muddamal. The prosecution had not placed reliance on the content of video tape (i.e. document) therefore no prejudice was likely to be caused to the accused. Accused prayed for copy of the video tape for defending him.

The Court rejected his prayer. The High Court held that order rejecting the supply of copy of video tape to the accused was not erroneous because the prosecution had not placed any reliance on the contents thereof.

The Supreme Court in Sheikh Maheboob v. State of Maharashtra held that where report about the incident (murder) was made by the complainant to police and there was non-production of the said document (i.e. report) without an explanation despite application for its production made by the accused, it could be said that the prosecution had suppressed the document.

In Kadiravan v. State statement was recorded by Magistrate for second time from the accused during course of extension of his remand. As it did not fall in the category of confession of accused under Section 164, Cr. P.C. hence the necessity to furnish copy of said statement or copy of police report did not arise specially when the document was not going to be relied upon by prosecuting agency.

The Aurangabad Bench of the Bombay High Court held in Angadh Rohidas Kadam v. State of Maharashtra that provisions of Section 207 should not be construed narrowly. The Court observed that statement of witnesses could not be withheld from accused only because it was not filed in Court along with charge sheet.

The prosecution chose not to file statement of witnesses with charge sheet because testimony was conducive to prosecution. But the Court held that in order to ensure fair trial it is incumbent upon the prosecution to supply all the statement, recorded by it even if it does not intend to examine the witnesses at trial.

The provisions of Section 207 should not be construed narrowly. Request for statement of witnesses by the accused may be refused by prosecution only on grounds of vexation, delay or defeating ends of justice. In absence of these, accused was entitled to production of statements.