The Delhi High Court has refused to mandate trial courts in the national capital to issue notice to complainants or victims in criminal cases at the pre-trial stage.
The division bench of Acting Chief Justice Manmohan and Justice Manmeet Pritam Singh Arora stated that such a directive could lead to unnecessary delays in trials and undermine the objective of expeditious justice delivery.
The bench said that there is no statutory mandate requiring criminal courts to notify complainants or victims at the pre-trial stage.
Rejecting the plea presented by lawyer Vivek Kumar Gaurav, seeking mandatory notice to complainants at pre-trial and trial stages, the court deemed such a proposition as potentially detrimental to the efficiency of criminal proceedings.
Addressing the PIL, which also sought free copies of charge sheets for complainants, the bench noted that the Delhi High Court Rules already provide avenues for obtaining case records, including free copies under specific circumstances.
It noted that the Union government has directed states and union territories to implement Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), ensuring victims of sexual offences receive charge sheets free of cost.
In disposing of the plea, the court noted the recognition of the complainant's right to be heard in pre-trial proceedings, citing the Supreme Court's verdict in Jagjeet Singh vs. Ashish Mishra.
The top court had affirmed the right of victims to participate effectively in criminal proceedings, ensuring fair and equitable treatment.
Consequently, this court found existing statutory mechanisms and judicial precedents sufficient to safeguard the rights of victims and complainants in criminal cases.
It deemed further directives unnecessary, as adequate provisions already exist within the legal framework.