Access to Information Endanger Informants Safety

Access to Information Endanger Informants Safety
Access to Information Endanger Informants Safety

The Punjab and Haryana High Court (HC) dismissed a plea presented by Kalyani Singh, the primary accused in the Sukhmanpreet Singh murder case, requesting case diaries or the police filed kept by the Chandigarh Police during the initial investigation.

Facts of the Case:

Singh is the daughter of retired High Court Judge Justice Sabina and Sidhu was the grandson of the late Justice S S Sighu, who is a former judge of the Punjab and Haryana High Court (HC).

It stated that unlimited access to such data could endanger the informants’ security and discourage cooperation with law enforcement agencies. Singh is accused of killing Sippu Sindhu, a corporate lawyer and national shooter, whose bullet-riddled body was discovered in Chandigarh Park on 20th September 2015.

Singh had gone to the HC to overturn the contested judgement, which was issued on 6th April 2024, by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) special judge in Chandigarh. The order denied her request for crucial case resources and materials.

Facts Represented by The Public Prosecutor:

In the meantime, Special Public Prosecutor for the CBI, Ravi Kamal Gupta, contended earlier in the HC hearing that Singh had already received all the materials “relied upon” by the prosecution.

In addition to a list of “unreliable documents” and all the documents that had been given to the deceased’s family. Gupta further added that neither the untraced report that the CBI filed nor the list of papers and articles that it relied upon in the chargesheet included the materials that Singh was seeking.

Judge’s Observations in the Court

In a detailed order posted on the court website on Tuesday, the bench of Justice Manjari Nehru Kaul stated that it is necessary to emphasize that the request for an unrestricted right to view case diary entries based solely on an unfolded fear that the mother or family of the dead has been granted such access by the court.

On the other hand, police in untenable and violate established legal precedents. Given such a wife, access would jeopardise the public interest, particularly in cases when the case diary contains sensitive information such as the identification details of the informants.

Sections of the Cr. P.C. Involved

The restriction described in Sub Section (3) of Section 172 of the Criminal Procedure Code (Cr. P.C.) is necessary to preserve the integrity of the legal systems and protect the public interest. According to Justice Kaul, who made this assertion after hearing the case facts.

It is well-established law that, certain documents are essential and have the potential to affect an accused person’s case, even when it was not cited by the prosecution.

The accused person’s case where the accused person may still have resources under Section 91 Cr. P.C. at the proper trial stage, which it goes without saying, must be determined by a court by law.

According to sources, Singh was taken into custody by the CBI on 15th June 2022, following multiple rounds of questioning. In September 2022, the HC granted her bail after the CBI Chandigarh court rejected her bail request.

The Chandigarh Police initially investigated the Sippy Sidhu murder case after receiving a complaint against unidentified individuals under Section 302 (murder) and the Arms Act at the Sector 26 police station in Chandigarh. In April of 2016, the case was sent to the CBI.

Judge Kaul noted that the above-mentioned petition is currently “untenable” given the statutory disentitlement outlined in Section 172(3) of the CrPC.





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