KERALA

Marad panel told not to disclose intelligence reports

KOCHI, MARCH 17. A Division Bench of the Kerala High Court today directed the commission inquiring into the communal violence in Marad in Kozhikode not to disclose the contents of the intelligence reports submitted before the commission either to the parties or to any counsel.

The Bench comprising the Acting Chief Justice, Cyriac Joseph, and Justice K. Padmanabhan Nair, while disposing of an appeal and petitions filed by the Director General of Police and Intelligence Bureau respectively, set aside a single judge's verdict allowing the commission to disclose the contents to all the parties appearing before the commission.

The court also directed the DGP and the IB to produce before the commission the reports or such portion of the report collected or received by them regarding the communal tension that prevailed in Marad during the period from December 2001 to May 2003 in a sealed cover. The court also made it clear that the DGP and the IB could raise any claim of privilege by filing an affidavit. If they claimed any privilege, that question should be decided first by the commission and then proceed with the inquiry in accordance with the law. The court also ordered that the commission could include the Intelligence Bureau as necessary party to the inquiry and serve the IB questionnaire on specific information. The IB should furnish the required information.

The court also expunged the observation of the single judge that the commission could consider relinquishing its assignment if the Government did not provide it the required intelligence reports.

The court observed that the commission was not concerned with the source of information or correctness of the information. In the instant case, summons was issued for production of documents alone. So, the question of adducing oral evidence or cross-examination of any witness did not arise at all. The only question to be considered by the commission was whether there was any report regarding the involvement of external or internal organisation and whether the State had taken action at the proper time.

DNA test

Justice K. Hema held that there was no need for cross-examining the scientists at the DNA Finger Printing and Diagnostic Centre, Hyderabad, in cases relating to payment of maintenance filed by the mother.

The Judge made the ruling while disposing of a petition field by Geetha of Ottappalam challenging the Pattambi Judicial First Class Magistrate's order accepting the plea of her former husband to cross-examine the DNA expert. The court also directed the Union Government to consider incorporating the DNA Finger Printing Test report in the Criminal Procedure Code so that the plea for cross-examining the scientists could be avoided.

New Acting CJ

Justice K. S. Radhakrishan will take over charge as Acting Chief Justice tomorrow. He succeeds Justice Cyriac Joseph who has been appointed as Chief Justice of the Uttaranchal High Court.

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