New Delhi: The memory card in the actress assault case is 'material evidence' whereas the visuals are documents, the Kerala government told the Supreme Court bench on Tuesday.
The SC bench led by Justice A M Khanwilkar was considering Malayalam actor Dileep's petition against an earlier High Court ruling on a crucial evidence in the case.
The government also argued that the evidence should not be handed over to the accused and that the trial court should decide on the matter.
The South Indian actress who was assaulted a couple of years ago in a moving vehicle on a Kerala road had also moved the SC, pleading not to hand over the visuals of the attack to actor Dileep who is the eighth accused in the case.
'It will have serious consequences,' her lawyer said in court. The visuals will be circulated. It will set a wrong precedent to POCSO cases, he added.
The victim in her petition to the apex court had said that handing over of the memory card that contains the visuals to Dileep would be a violation of her privacy and fundamental rights. Counsel K Rajeev filed the petition on behalf of the victim, who sought permission to implead in the case which is a sensational one.
The Supreme Court had stayed the proceedings of the trial court on May 3. The court had asked the government whether the memory card was treated as a piece of evidence or a document relevant to the case. However, the government in its reply said that a detailed hearing was needed over this.
The Supreme Court subsequently ordered a stay on the trail court proceedings and postponed the case for detailed hearing.
The popular Malayalam actress was abducted and assaulted in a moving car near Kochi on February 17, 2017. First accused Sunil Kumar alias Pulsar Suni, a history-sheeter, was arrested soon after the incident. Actor Dileep was arrested by the police on July 10, 2017, for plotting the attack and was named as the eighth accused. But he was let out on bail on October 3, 2017.
Dileep had denied any role in the attack and moved the court seeking all documents relevant to the case, including the assault visuals. After the courts in Kerala rejected Dileep’s plea for a copy of the visuals, he moved the Supreme Court. The HC had rejected his plea citing that the memory card was a ‘material object’ and not a document under Section 207 of Indian Penal Code.
The Kerala government had accepted his plea to freeze the framing of charges against him in the case till the SC verdict.
The attack on the young actress and the subsequent arrest of Dileep, a popular actor, had rattled the Malayalam film industry. The developments in the case and the trial proceedings are keenly followed by public and the media.