The Delhi High Court observed that it is not mandatory for the Criminal Court to issue notice to the victim or complainant at pre-trial stage.

The Court observed thus in a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by a practicing Advocate seeking directions to all the District Courts and Police Stations to supply a copy of the chargesheet, police report, or final report to the complainant or victim at free of cost and directions to all the District Courts to issue notice to victims at the time of taking cognizance in pre-trial criminal proceedings.

A Division Bench comprising Acting Chief Justice Manmohan and Justice Manmeet P.S. Arora held, “There is no mandate in the statute obliging the Criminal Court to issue notice to the complainant/victim at pre-trial stage. We are unable to accept the suggestion of the Petitioner that it should be made mandatory for the Criminal Court to issue a notice to the complainant/victim at every stage of the pre-trial and trial in criminal proceedings. In the opinion of this Court, such a direction is likely to result in avoidable and undesirable delays in trials and is likely to work against the objective of expeditious trials. The suggestion of the Petitioner if accepted would act as ‘a treatment worse than the disease’.”

Advocate Rohit Shukla appeared on behalf of the petitioner while CGSC Anuraj Ahluwalia appeared on behalf of the respondent.

Background -

The petitioner Advocate, who appeared in person submitted that proviso to Section 372 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (CrPC) specifically, provides that the victim has the right to participate in the criminal proceedings that are initiated upon his/her complaint, however, there is no such provision for a direction to supply chargesheet to the victim. He stated that the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 (SC/ST Act) categorically provides that the copy of the chargesheet is to be provided to the victim, free of cost, however, there is no such similar provision in CrPC.

He further submitted that such a distinction of existence of provisions in a special Act, which mandates the supply of chargesheet to the victim, free of cost and absence of such a similar provision in CrPC is violative of Article 14 of the Constitution. He also stated that the judgment passed by the Supreme Court in Jagjeet Singh v. Ashish Mishra (2002) 9 SCC 321, recognizes that the victim has a right to be heard and participate in criminal proceedings and that during the proceedings initiated under CrPC, the complainant is not informed about the date or time, when the charge-sheet has been filed.

The High Court in the above context said, “It has come to the attention of this Court that Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India (Women Safety Division) has already issued direction to all states and UTs vide its office order dated 09th October, 2020 F. No. 15011/190/2020-SC/ST-W for implementation of ‘Standard Operating Procedure (‘SOP’) for Investigation and Prosecution of Rape against Women’ prepared by Bureau of Police Research and Development (‘BPR&D’). The said SOP pertains to sexual offences against women and children.”

The Court noted that there is an adequate statutory mechanism in existence for a victim or complainant to obtain copies/certified copies and no further direction as sought is merited. It observed that in the aforesaid judgment of Jagjeet Singh, the Supreme Court held that wherever the victim comes forward to participate in the criminal proceedings, he/she will be accorded an opportunity of a fair and effective hearing.

“… if a victim approaches the Criminal Court for hearing during cognizance and pre-trial, the said Court is bound to hear the victim in view of the aforesaid judgment of the Supreme Court of India. However, the said judgment itself records that the said opportunity of hearing is to be granted to the victims who come forward to participate in the criminal proceeding”, it added.

The Court concluded that, there are sufficient rights given to the victim/complainant to effectively participate in pre-trial and trial proceedings if he/she so elects.

Accordingly, the High Court disposed of the writ petition.

Cause Title- Vivek Kumar Gaurav v. Union of India (Neutral Citation: 2024:DHC:895-DB)


Petitioner: Advocates Abhay Solanki, Muhammed Shawez, and Kamil Khan.

Respondent: GP Shivam Sachdeva

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