Whether at the stage of framing of charge, the accused could seek production of documents to prove his innocence.

Answering the question in the negative Supreme Court held:

The law is that at the time of framing charge or taking cognizance the accused has no right to produce any material. No provision in the Code of Criminal procedure, 1973 (for short the ‘Code’) grants to the accused any right to file any material or document at the stage of framing of charge. That right is granted only at the stage of the trial. Satish Mehra case,, (1996) 9 SCC 766 holding that the trial court has powers to consider even materials which the accused may produce at the stage of Section 227 of the Code has not been correctly decided. It is well settled that at the stage of framing of charge the defence of the accused cannot be put forth. The acceptance of the contention of the accused would mean permitting the accused to adduce his defence at the stage of framing of charge and for examination thereof at that stage which is against the criminal jurisprudence.

Minakshi Bala v. Sudhir Kumar and Ors., (1994) 4 SCC 142 where one of the questions that fell for consideration was whether in a revision petition challenging an order framing charges against the accused, the latter could rely upon documents other than those referred to in Sections 239 and 240 of the Code of Criminal procedure. and whether the High Court would be justified in quashing the charges under Section 482 of the Code of Criminal procedure. on the basis of such documents. Answering the question in the negative this Court held that while an order framing charges could be challenged in revision by the accused persons before the High Court or the Sessions Judge, the revisional Court could in any such case only examine the correctness of the order framing charges by reference to the documents referred to in Sections 239 and 240 of the Code of Criminal procedure and that the Court could not quash the charges on the basis of documents which the accused may produce except in exceptional cases where the documents are of unimpeachable character and can be legally translated into evidence. The following passage is, in this regard, apposite:

7. If charges are framed in accordance with Section 240 Code of Criminal procedure on a finding that a prima facie case has been made out – as has been done in the instant case – the person arraigned may, if he feels aggrieved, invoke the revisional jurisdiction of the High Court or the Sessions Judge to contend that the charge-sheet submitted under Section 173 Code of Criminal procedure and documents sent with it did not disclose any ground to presume that he had committed any offence for which he is charged and the revisional court if so satisfied can quash the charges framed against him. To put it differently, once charges are framed under Section 240 Code of Criminal procedure the High Court in its revisional jurisdiction would not be justified in relying upon documents other than those referred to in Sections 239 and 240 Code of Criminal procedure; nor would it be justified in invoking its inherent jurisdiction under Section 482 Code of Criminal procedure to quash the same except in those rare cases where forensic exigencies and formidable compulsions justify such a course. We hasten to add even in such exceptional cases the High Court can look into only those documents which are unimpeachable and can be legally translated into relevant evidence.