The Supreme Court on 2 March, has reiterated that an accused or co-accused does not have any right to be heard, before any direction for further investigation is made by the court, under Section 173(8) of the Code of Criminal Procedure.
The bench comprising of Justices Ashok Bhushan and MR Shah was hearing an appeal which was sought by an appellant to join as a respondent in a Special Criminal Application seeking further investigation against other persons, which was earlier dismissed by the High Court of Gujarat.
The issue before the apex court in the above appeal was “whether the appellant, a co-accused in the case against whom the charge-sheet has been filed and the trial is already in progress, should be allowed to be heard in the proceedings under Section 173(8) the Code of Criminal Procedure.
Subsequently, the honorable apex court while referring to the previous decisions on the same subject matter in Sri Bhagwan Samardha v. State of A.P. (1999), has upheld the High Court’s order and stated that “In such a situation the power of the court to direct the police to conduct a further investigation cannot have any inhibition. There is nothing in Section 173(8) to suggest that the court is obliged to hear the accused before any such direction is made. As the law does not require it, we would not burden the Magistrate with such an obligation.”
“When the proposed accused against whom the further investigation is sought, namely, Shri Bhaumik is not required to be heard at this stage, there is no question of hearing the appellant-one of the co-accused against whom the charge sheet is already filed and the trial is in progress. Therefore, the High Court is absolutely justified in rejecting the application submitted by the appellant to implead him as a party respondent in the Special Criminal Application,” added the bench while dismissing the appeal.