The Hon’ble High Court of Bombay vide its order dated 10.04.2023 in the matter of Kamlesh Kumar Mishra S/O Brijabhooshan Mishra Vs. The State of Maharashtra, Assistant Commissioner of State Tax in Criminal Writ Petition No. 1313 of 2023, allowed the presence of Advocate at the visible but not audible distance during interrogation, and recording of voluntary statements under Section 70 of MGST Act, 2017.
The Petitioner filed the Writ Petition before the Hon’ble High Court seeking directions to the respondents their subordinates, servants and agents to forthwith permit recording of voluntary statements of the Petitioner under Section 70 of the MGST Act, 2017 under the presence of Advocate at the visible but not audible distance during interrogation at reasonable working hours, which may be video-graphed at the cost of petitioner. Though, other prayers made in the petition were not pressed and argued.
It was submitted on the behalf of the petitioner that this Court and the Apex Court, has time and again permitted the presence of an Advocate at a visible, but not at an audible distance and has also permitted the petitioner therein to videograph the recording of his statement. Reliance placed on the orders annexed to the petition which are at ‘Exhibit-E’ to ‘Exhibit-L
On the other hand, it was submitted on the behalf of the Respondents that the respondents have no objection for the presence of the Advocate at a visible distance, but not at an audible distance at the time of recording of the petitioner’s statement. However, the videography would be done at the cost of the petitioner.
- The Hon’ble High Court, with the consent of the parties, took up the matter for final disposal.
- The Hon’ble Court considering the submissions made, facts of the case and perusal of the orders at ‘Exhibit – E’ to ‘Exhibit – L’, allowed the Petition and similarly the presence of the Advocate at the time of recording of the petitioner’s statement at a visible but not an audible distance, was allowed.
- The Hon’ble Court also allowed the videography of the petitioner’s statement, at the cost of the petitioner. Though, a copy of the said videography shall be handed over to the petitioner after show cause notice is issued to the petitioner.
The Hon’ble High Court with the above findings, allowed the writ petition. Further, the rule was made absolute in the aforesaid terms.