Kochi: Legal expert Adv Muhammad Shah, in a panel discussion aired on Manorama News, said that the police have no right to summon Kavya Madhavan as a witness, for questioning.
The legal angle
Sections 160 and 160 (1) of Cr.PC enables a police official to investigate a crime by summoning persons who have some kind of knowledge about the crime. If called, everyone is supposed to reach the place where the police have chosen to give the statement. However, if the witness is a child who is less than 15 years, senior citizens of over 60 years, persons who suffer from physical and mental difficulties and women of all ages, then the police have to reach their residence to record their statements. The police cannot call them to a station to record their statement as a significant witness. This is a privilege enjoyed by all the women in the country. However, it is not clear whether the police allow this privilege to women in all the cases. Lots of women have suffered difficulties just because they have been included in the witness list. In such cases, these women can actually take the legal recourse for violating their rights. When actress Kavya Madhavan was given the notice, her legal team pointed this out. The Crime Branch now has to reach her residence to record the statements.
The police have to seek sufficient legal advice before proceeding in a sensational case like this. Cases like these would strengthen the common man’s belief in the investigation and prosecution. In Kavya’s case, it appears that the police have asked the actress to appear at the police club, without seeking legal advice.
No media prosecution
The audio clips that are significant in the case shouldn’t be published through media. These are important evidences that could be used during the interrogations. It would be ideal if the witnesses do not have any idea about the kinds of questions that they might face during the interrogation. It would help them to prepare well and face the questions with pre-planned answers. The investigators should show more responsibility, especially in the final stages of the investigation. People are interested in this case as celebrities too are involved. All these factors could prove to be disadvantageous for the case if the team isn’t responsible.
Witness in public discussions
When it was asked at a channel discussion whether the evidence is leaked by the accused or the witnesses, then they confirmed that the investigation agency has done that. If it is true, then it would set a bad precedent. The court too has pointed this out at many instances. No matter who the accused is, the investigation should be done fairly and the accused should be given appropriate punishment. In such situations, the prosecution has to confirm that they haven’t leaked the evidence. They should find out how the evidence has been leaked.
Here, the person who leaked the evidence is taking part in channel discussions. He is a witness too. He will have to give his statement to the police in the coming days. He will be attending the court hearing too. That person has come for a TV channel interview, revealing everything in public. This is a serious case that warrants a serious approach and investigation. This would make the common people confident in our legal systems. The court is looking for a free and fair trial. However, in such instances, even the questions posed by the court might be falsely interpreted.
Will Dileep’s bail be cancelled?
If the prosecution thinks that there would be a fair trial only if Dileep’s bail is cancelled, they have to successfully convince the court. The bail will be cancelled if sufficient evidence is provided; or else it would be rejected. The prosecution should try hard to ensure a good trial using the available evidence.
There are two approaches in case they are looking to cancel the bail. One is to approach the Supreme Court saying that the bail order issued by the High Court had been wrong. They could appeal to the apex court arguing that the evidence and the information that were considered to allow the bail were insufficient. The problem could be the sources that could have led to the bail.
The second instance is when the bail conditions are violated. Interfering the investigation, destroying the evidence and trying to influence the witness are some of the reasons for bail cancellation. If there are sufficient reasons, then an application to cancel the bail should be submitted. In this case, the application has already been submitted. However, if there isn’t any valid reason to cancel the bail, then the application would be rejected.
The prosecution is in the final stages. The judgement was supposed to happen in February. However, it was decided that the judgement shouldn’t come in February. The court and the prosecution might have felt that the final report submitted by the current investigation team wasn’t strong enough to indict the accused. So, it could be assumed that the prosecution has not been so confident about the evidence that have been submitted until now.
Usually, the prosecution would make the trial swifter if they are confident about winning. Here, they aren’t sure whether that would happen. That is why they are looking for more evidence. Meanwhile, some witnesses have changed their earlier statements. But, just because they have changed their statements in the court, it cannot be said that they have been comprised. There should be strong evidence to prove that the witnesses have been influenced.
In an audio clip, someone says that they have watched the visuals of the crime and had discussed it. The discussions that ensued were focussed on how they could access the visuals. But, there is a problem with this argument. These people were shown the visuals when the case was at the Supreme Court. If they claim that they had watched the visuals only then and had discussed it after that, everything would go haywire. They can surely discuss the visuals that they had ‘seen’ in the court. If the accused and his counsel had discussed the details of the visuals, it wouldn’t mean that they have conspired to tamper with the evidence. There should be valid evidence to prove that the evidence has been tampered.