Accused can be furnished with questions that may be asked for examination under S. 313 CrPC before filing written statement

High Court of Manipur: The petition before the High Court challenged the order of a Special Court Judge who did not allow the prayer of the petitioner for supplying questions prepared by the Court for submission of written statement under Section 313 CrPC. Before the trial court, the accused (petitioner) charged for the offences under POCSO Act, had prayed for supplying questions to be put to the accused before examining him under Section 313 CrPC. Rejecting his plea, the Special Judge proceeded to examine him under the provision.

Counsel for the petitioner argued before the Court that recent amendment in 2009 to S. 313 by adding sub-section 5 to the provision permits the accused to submit written statement to the Court after the questions are asked from him (supposedly, based on the questions asked by the Court) while the same was denied by the trial court. On the other hand, counsel for the respondent contended that the provision mentioned by the petitioner on the plain reading of the section is indicative of the fact that it is not mandatory and since the accused petitioner had been examined by the court where he was given proper opportunity to explain the incriminating evidences against him, no prejudice can be said to have caused to him.

The Court on hearing both the parties examined S. 313 CrPC in detail and held that an accused undoubtedly has a right to file written statement at the time of examination under S. 313 CrPC and he would have the right to be furnished with the questions in advance so that he can submit his written statement. Acting Chief Justice N Kotiswar Singh further held that furnishing of questions prepared by court to the accused to enable him to file his written statement should normally be allowed by the trial court unless it feels that the request might prove detrimental to the progress of the trial for the reason that the accused has to be afforded the full opportunity to explain the inculpatory evidences emerging against him after the prosecution has led the evidence.

The Court went on to explain that there is nothing under S. 313(5) of the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 to prevent the accused to submit to file written statement even after being examined orally by the court. [Langpoklakpam Kiranjit Singh v. The State of Manipur,  2017 SCC OnLine Mani 118, decided on 07.11.2017]

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