Delhi Court dismisses Mehmood Pracha challenge to order refusing forthwith supply of raid video footage

Last month, the Duty Metropolitan Magistrate at Patiala House Court had held that the issue of supply of video footage would be decided by the relevant court at an appropriate stage.
Delhi Court dismisses Mehmood Pracha challenge to order refusing forthwith supply of raid video footage
Mehmood Pracha

A Delhi Court has dismissed a petition filed by Advocate Mehmood Pracha challenging an order refusing the immediate supply of the video footage of the police raid recently conducted at his house and office (Mehmood Pracha vs State).

The order was passed by Additional Sessions Judge at the Patiala House Court Dharmender Rana, in a revision petition filed by Pracha.

Mehmood Pracha
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Last month, the Duty Metropolitan Magistrate at Patiala House Court had directed the preservation of the entire video footage of the police raid at Pracha's premises.

The Metropolitan Magistrate had, however, said that the question regarding supply of video footage to Pracha would be decided by the relevant court at an appropriate stage.

Assailing this order, Pracha argued that the video footage of the search should be supplied to him as he apprehended that the police would make "every attempt to manipulate and tamper" the footage in order to conceal their illegal and criminal acts from being exposed.

It was also submitted that although the Metropolitan Magistrate ordered that the video footage be kept under the seal of the court, it was not checked whether the same was done.

In response, Delhi Police contended that the revision petition was not maintainable as the order under challenge was purely interlocutory in nature. It was also stated that the grounds argued in the revision petition were frivolous.

The Court observed that by virtue of Section 165(5) of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), the Investigating Officer was required to send the video footage forthwith to the nearest magistrate, and on an application, the party concerned was also entitled to a copy of the same.

"However the word “forthwith' classifies only the record sent to the magistrate and it is not the requirement of law that the record is also required to be 'forthwith' furnished to the applicant", the Court said.

It further noted that a perusal of the impugned order showed that the prayer for supply of video footage had neither been denied nor had been conclusively determined.

In view of the Metropolitan Magistrate's order that supply of the video footage would be decided at an appropriate stage, the Court concluded,

"Evidently, the prayer regarding the supply of video footage has not been disposed off by the Ld. Trial Court and the impugned order is purely an interlocutory in nature. I concur with the Ld. Addl. PP that the instant revision petition is legally not maintainable."

The revision petition was accordingly dismissed.

Read the order:

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Mehmood Pracha vs State - Revision order.pdf
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