The Supreme Court while dealing with a matter relating to the murder of the brother of former Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy held that the High Court cannot direct that the investigation of a person who has been interrogated as a suspect in the conspiracy should be in the printed or written form.

The Court has extended the investigation by the CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation) till June 30, 2023.

The two-Judge Bench comprising CJI D.Y. Chandrachud and Justice P.S. Narasimha observed, “There is absolutely no warrant for the High Court to direct that the investigation of a person who has been interrogated as a suspect in the conspiracy should be in the printed or written form. Similarly, it is wholly inappropriate for the High Court to observe that the questionnaire may also be handed over to the respondent. Such orders of the High Court are liable to gravely prejudice the course of investigation. Particularly at this stage when the CBI is to fully investigate the crime and the role of several accused who do not form a part of the charge sheet as submitted, we are of the view that the directions issued by the High Court were unwarranted.”

Senior Advocate Sidharth Luthra appeared for the appellant while Senior Advocates Mukul Rohatgi and Ranjit Kumar, and Solicitor General Tushar Mehta appeared for the respondents.

Brief Facts -

An appeal was preferred by the daughter of the deceased against the order passed by the Telangana High Court with regard to the anticipatory bail to the respondent under Section 438 of the Cr. PC. The deceased was found to have been murdered at his house in Andhra Pradesh at night in the year 2019.

The appellant instituted a petition before the High Court seeking a transfer of investigation to the CBI which was allowed and thereafter, the appellant and her mother moved to the Apex Court seeking a transfer of trial to the CBI Special Court in Hyderabad/Delhi which was also allowed. In the meantime, the respondent filed a plea before the High Court whereby it directed that the respondent shall the office of CBI and that the questions and answers shall be in the printed or written form along with a questionnaire being handed over.

The Supreme Court in view of the above facts noted, “… the issue which arises for consideration is as to whether the High Court was justified in (i) granting an ad interim stay of arrest; and (ii) directing that the examination before the CBI in the course of the investigation shall be “in printed/written form” during the course of which a questionnaire may also be handed over to the first respondent.”

The Court said that the High Court has misapplied itself and passed an extraordinary order in terms of the directions which have been issued and that an order of this nature would stultify the investigation.

“Since the application for anticipatory bail before the High Court is pending consideration, we clarify that the observations in this order shall not come in the way of the High Court evaluating the application. … we are of the considered view that the time for the completion of investigation by the CBI should be extended and we accordingly extend it until 30 June 2023”, asserted the Court.

Accordingly, the Court allowed the appeal and set aside the order of the High Court.

Cause Title- Suneetha Narreddy v. Y.S. Avinash Reddy & Anr.

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