Turning down the plea of an accused charged with murder that he should be given copies of the charge sheet in Tamil, the Madras High Court has said that the Criminal Procedure Code does not say the accused is entitled to get copies of the records translated in Tamil.
Placing reliance on earlier decisions, Justice T. Mathivanan said it had been observed that a combined reading of Section 207 of Cr.P.C. with the provisos to it would go to show that the court's duty was to furnish copies of the documents in whatever language they were found.
If they were voluminous, the accused would be allowed to peruse the documents.
Anbu alias Sivalingam, charged with murder, is facing trial before the Additional District and Sessions Judge (Fast Track Court), Vellore. His counsel submitted that his client was not able to understand the charges as the documents were in English.
The prosecution submitted that the accused had received clean copies of the charge sheet on October 20 last year. He had also made an endorsement on the records of the case bundles.
After hearing both sides, the trial court had framed charges against the petitioner under the IPC and the Explosive Substances Act after explaining the ingredients of the charges to him.
Since the petitioner himself had received the clean copies and charges had been framed against him, his request for the translated version of the documents at this stage could not be considered.
The petitioner was trying to protract the proceedings.
Mr. Justice Mathivanan said the matrix of the proviso to Section 207 was that the magistrate should, without any delay, furnish to the accused a copy of the documents, free of cost. Instead of furnishing copies of voluminous documents, he may allow the accused to inspect such documents either personally or through his counsel.
The provision did not require courts to translate any document into Tamil or in any other language and furnish the translated documents to the accused.
He said the petitioner's counsel was well versed in English. Counsel would also explain the ingredients of the charges to the petitioner in Tamil.
Therefore, the petitioner need not have any apprehension.
It was apparent that the present petition was filed in English and not Tamil, the court said, and dismissed the petition as not maintainable.