New Delhi, Dec 14: Should the National Investigating Agency provide information or evidence collected by it to persons accused in a case of terrorism? This is an interesting point of law that will be taken up by the Supreme Court as the NIA has decided to get this point of law clarified.
The decision to move the Supreme Court comes in the wake of the Karnataka High Court ordering the NIA to furnish evidence collected under the Official Secrets Act to 11 persons accused in a plot which involved the killing of prominent persons in Karnataka apart from carrying out a series of attacks.
The NIA had told the Karnataka High Court that it had collected information about the plot and also the places that these persons wanted to attack. However, the accused persons had approached the court seeking out this information, but the NIA had denied them the same.
It was the contention of the NIA that only one person Sadiq Mohammad had been booked under the Official Secrets Act as he was accused of espionage. The NIA further, contended that the information could only be shared with Sadiq and not the rest of the accused as there is a danger of the same being leaked.
Clarity on law required:
The Karnataka High Court had directed the NIA to share the evidence and the information with all the 11 accused in the case. The High Court had relied on Section 207 of the Code of Criminal Procedure while issuing the order.
Under Section 207 statements and evidence can be provided to the accused persons so that it could help in preparing their defence.
An officer with the NIA told OneIndia that there is a clarity required on this aspect. Under Section 207, it also states if the documents are large in number then the Magistrate can pass an order allowing the accused to inspect the documents in the court.
Taking the documents to the jail where the accused are lodged is a dangerous precedent. Moreover in this case, there are sensitive documents relating to nuclear installations and the danger of the same being leaked is there and hence needs to be protected.
The NIA states that it has no problem in the accused persons inspecting the documents in the court, but to furnish such papers and evidence which includes the mirror image of hard disks, laptops and pen drives to the accused persons in jail is not safe.
Since it involves a point of law and the interpretation of Section 207 of the CrPC is necessary, it would require the intervention of the Supreme Court of India. The NIA has intimated the Ministry of Home Affairs about the same and is awaiting sanction to move the Supreme Court.