[NDPS Act] Directions for procuring call records of raiding officers infringes their safety, privacy: Delhi High Court

Read Time: 05 minutes


Court noted that the orders passed by the Additional Sessions Judge, Delhi Court, were unreasoned and opened up the possibility of risking confidential information

The Delhi High Court recently reiterated that procuring call detail records of police officials, including their tower-wise location, prejudice their safety and privacy. The court was hearing a batch of pleas against order of ASJ, Karkardooma Court, Delhi, wherein directions were issued to the investigating officer (IO) for procuring call records and location via mobile tower of all members of the raiding party, secret informer, IO himself and the accused, apprehended with offences under the NDPS Act, 1985.

While setting aside the impugned orders dated 04.12.2017, 06.04.2018 and 31.03.2018, Justice Swarana Kanta Sharma, observed, “The concerned police officers may be involved in dealing with cases of different nature, including sensitive or heinous cases or cases of national security, and orders, such as those impugned before this Court, can directly encroach upon the privacy of the police officials. Further, the impugned orders also have the capacity to put at risk and expose the identities of the ‘secret informers’ and risk their safety and security. Thus, the learned ASJ has not passed reasoned orders, and the same opens up windows for possibility of risking confidential information which may be brought on record through call detail records of the investigating officers and other police officials.”

Reliance was placed on Krishan Pawdia v. NCT of Delhi, 2022 SCC OnLine Del 1758 and Attar Singh v. NCT of Delhi, 2016 SCC OnLine Del 3907

Additional Public Prosecutor appearing for the State/petitioner contended that the ASJ Court committed an error in passing the impugned orders, especially when no application was moved by accused persons for the preservation of call detail records. It was further argued that the Trial Court failed to recognize that providing such details of investigating officers, witnesses and secret informers would violate their privacy.

 “IO is directed to procure the call detail records and location via mobile tower of all the members of raiding team and also the secret informer and himself and also that of accused. The service provider concerned is also directed to preserve the call detail record, for the date of alleged offence i.e., 04.10.2017”, the impugned order in the main petition, that is, Crl. MC 1239 of 2018 read.

The short issue before the court was whether the orders passed by the ASJ Court suffered from any infirmity.

Case Title: State v. Haripal | Crl. M.C. 1239 of 2018