Kohima, 22 May (MTNews): The Kohima Bench of Gauhati High Court on 18 May 2023 has set aside the charges framed against an accused by two lower courts in Mokokchung District. According to the division bench, the accused was not accorded the fair opportunity to defend himself in a case of alleged sexual violation and threatening the victim with exposing her nude photographs on social media.


The Sessions Judge of Mokokchung had earlier charged the accused under Section 354/376/506 of Indian Penal Code to be read with Section 66 of Information Technology Act, 2000.


However, Justice Mridul Kumar Kalita directed the Sessions Judge Mokokchung to ensure that the copies of documents referred to in Section 207 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, including the copies of the printout of screenshots of Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp chats between the prosecutrix and the accused/petitioner be furnished to the present accused/petitioner.


However, the court made it clear that since the copies of documents forwarded along with the charge-sheet include nude photographs of the prosecutrix, it was not needed to furnish the same to the accused/petitioner; however, he may be allowed to inspect the same either personally or through pleader in the Court. Thereafter, the division bench said that the Sessions Judge, Mokokchung may proceed with consideration of charges against the present accused/petitioner afresh.


The Division Bench viewed that the accused person was prejudiced by the two lower courts’ respective failures to furnish to him copies of said documents.


“This Court is of considered opinion that the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Mokokchung, was duty bound to furnish the copies of documents referred to in Section 207 Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 before committing the said case to the Court of Sessions. Learned Judge was also under obligation to ensure that the accused/petitioner was furnished with the copies of documents referred to in Section 207 Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 before framing against him,” the order stated.


“Moreover, application dated November 2, 2022, filed by the present accused/petitioner before learned Sessions Judge, Mokokchung, praying for furnishing copies of said Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp chats to the accused/petitioner, however should not have been declined without citing any reasons. This Court is of the considered opinion that to afford fair opportunity to the accused/petitioner of defending himself against the allegations leveled against him in the Police report, both the Courts i.e. the Court of learned Chief Judicial Magistrate, Mokokchung, as well as Court of learned Sessions Judge, Mokokchung, were under obligation to ensure that the couples of documents referred to in Section 207 Code of Criminal Procedure 1973 were furnished to the present accused/petitioner before considering the question of framing charges against him,” the order added.


According to Court records, the Criminal Revision Petition was filed by 36-year-old Temjensuba Longkumer challenging an order passed by the Sessions Judge of Mokokchung on September 30, 2022.

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