Monday, 22 June 2020

Karnataka HC: Court can frame charge and record statement U/S 164 of CRPC through video conferencing in Covid19

The Video Conferencing Rules (in short ‘Video
Conferencing Rules’), framed by this Court, a copy of which is
annexed to the petition, lay down the procedure for recording of
evidence by Video Conferencing. Rule 8 contemplates the
examination of persons including the witnesses through Video
Conferencing. Rule 11 indicates that in certain circumstances,
even for remand, an accused can be produced before the
learned Magistrate through Video Conferencing. Rule 11.2
specifically permits recording of statement under Section 164 of
Cr.P.C read with Rule 5 of Chapter 5 of Karnataka Criminal
Rules of Practice 1968 (in short ‘the Rules of Practice’) by Video
Conferencing. Rule 11.2 specifically permits recording of a
statement of the accused under Section 313 through Video
Conferencing. Thus, at the time of framing of charge and at the
time of recording of plea, the presence of the accused before
the Court can be procured through Video Conferencing. By
procuring the presence of the accused through Video
Conferencing in case of Sessions triable cases and in case of
warrant triable cases, the charge can be read over and
explained to the accused and his plea can be recorded. Rule 5
of the Video Conferencing Rules will apply for recording of the
evidence by Video Conferencing. If the accused is in Judicial
Custody, Video Conferencing facility can be provided at the
prison and in such case, the remote point coordinator within the

meaning of Rule 5.3 will be the Jail Superintendent or the officer
in-charge of the prison. In case the accused is on bail, any fit or
proper person will have to be appointed as the coordinator to
ensure that proceedings are conducted in a fair, impartial and
independent manner.
8. Though there is no specific provision in Cr.P.C to that
effect, there is a practice followed by various Courts of taking
the signature of the accused on the plea. If by way of abundant
precaution, the learned Judges desire that the signature of the
accused is necessary on the plea, in case of accused in judicial
custody, a copy of the charge framed and plea recorded
thereon can be send by e-mail to the coordinator who will be an
officer of the concerned prison. He can be directed to down
load the same, take print and obtain the signature of the
accused in his presence and send it to the Court. In case of an
accused on bail, the coordinator can be directed to follow the
same procedure. While recording the plea, the Judicial Officer
will be well advised to record a statement of the accused that
the Judge was clearly audible and visible to him while the
charge was read over and explained to him and while his plea
was recorded.

W.P. No. 7338/2020

Decided On: 19.06.2020

 High Court of Karnataka  Vs.  The State of Karnataka

Hon'ble Judges/Coram:

Abhay Shreeniwas Oka, C.J. and S. Vishwajith Shetty, 
Read full judgment here: Click here
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