`Kazmi has a right to get copies of remand papers`

Journalist Syed Mohammed Ahmad Kazmi was arrested for alleged role in the bomb attack on Israeli diplomat`s car in Delhi.

New Delhi: A Delhi court on Friday said it was the fundamental right of journalist Syed Mohammed Ahmad Kazmi, arrested for alleged role in the bomb attack on Israeli diplomat`s car, to be supplied with the copies of the remand papers which are not secret documents.

Additional Sessions Judge S S Rathi allowed Kazmi`s plea saying there is "no legal prohibition on supply of documents to the accused in judicial custody subject to the safeguards provided by the relevant statutes."

Terming as "illegal" and "fractious", the ASJ set aside the part of the May 1 order of the magisterial court where it was held that Kazmi cannot be supplied the copies of the remand papers at this stage and that the same may be supplied after the filing of the charge sheet.

The ASJ said it is his (Kazmi`s) fundamental right to be informed about the grounds and documents based on which his detention is being extended from time to time.

"Delhi High Court rules and orders clearly empower the accused to seek certified copies of any record at any stage," the judge said.

The ASJ said even constitutionally, by combined virtue of Article 14 (equality before law), 19 (Protection of certain rights regarding freedom of speech etc), 21(right to life) and 22 (protection against arrest and detention), an accused held in custody by the state does have a right to be treated and dealt with by the state in a transparent manner.

Kazmi had moved the court of ASJ seeking copies of the remand papers on basis of which his judicial custody was being extended since March 24.

The ASJ noted that the six remand papers sought by Kazmi did not contain the name and addresses of any witness and other information mentioned in them had already been published in several national dailies.

The ASJ also observed that neither the state nor the court of CMM on its own motion ever ordered for holding any proceedings in the case in camera.

The ASJ also rejected the objection of the investigating agency that Kazmi himself is a press reporter and the media was taking keen interest to cover every aspect of the case and if the remand papers are supplied to him, they would become public.