New Delhi: The Delhi High Court Thursday allowed the plea of a Dec 16, 2012 gang-rape accused to use as evidence a CD of the TV interview of the victim's friend, the sole witness to the ghastly incident.
Justice G.P. Mittal, setting aside the order of a fast track court, directed the trial court to permit accused driver Ram Singh, 33, to use the CD of the interview of the witness as evidence.
"In my view, the learned ASJ (additional sessions judge) acted illegally in shutting the petitioner's right to put the TV interview CD to the (victim's friend) for the purpose of contradicting him with his previous statement or to test his veracity or to impeach his credibility," Justice Mittal said.
In a set back to police, the order said: "The impugned order, therefore, cannot be sustained. The same is accordingly set aside with the direction to the trial Court to permit the use of video CD ... It goes without saying that the petitioner shall be bound to prove authenticity of the video CD if the same is disputed by the witness."
Advocate V.K. Anand, appearing for Ram Singh, had moved the high court after the fast track trial court in Saked dismissed his plea seeking the use of the CD as evidence.
"The trial judge passed the impugned order and did not allow the applicant (Ram Singh) to exhibit, place on record and to play the CD of the impugned interview on the ground of illegal evidence," Anand said.
Anand said that in the trial court counsel of the accused could not cross-examine the witness because they wanted the CD of the interview to be put on record.
Prosecutor Dayan Krishnan, appearing for Delhi Police, objected to the use of the CD carrying the interview as evidence. He told the court that the "interview is illegal" as the court had banned such media coverage.
"The CD cannot be used as an evidence on the ground that it had been prepared in violation of a criminal procedure code provision that restrains media coverage of the trial and inquiry proceedings related to a rape case," Krishnan added.
He added that the trial court had ordered in-camera trial of the case and in that case media interview of any nature was completely barred. "There could not be any publication about the case without the court's permission," he said.
He said that during the trial of the case, the media interview amounted to "interference in the administration of justice".
The youth whose interview is the bone of contention is a software engineer, who was travelling with the 23-year-old victim on the night of Dec 16, 2012. The couple had seen a movie together before boarding the private bus in which the gang-rape took place.