CHENNAI: Reversing the orders of the XIV Metropolitan Magistrate in Allikulam, the Madras High Court has ruled that Ramkumar, the suspect in the techie S Swathi murder case, can be photographed or videographed or measurements taken only inside the Central Prison in Puzhal where he is lodged now.
The Magistrate in his order on July 28 had directed the prison authorities to produce Ramkumar at the place near Nungambakkam railway station where a CCTV camera was fixed to take a photograph and videograph.
Setting aside the magistrate’s previous directives, Justice PN Prakash of the Madras High Court said, “In the considered opinion of this court, it is not necessary to take Ramkumar anywhere near the place of occurrence for making him re-enact the crime.”
The Identification of Prisoners Act was passed in 1920 when photography was the only technology available.
Today technology has improved by leaps and bounds and it would be an anachronism to hold that photography would not include videography, the judge said.
The taking of a videograph per se would not make the suspect criminally liable, the judge said and directed the Superintendent of Prisons, Central Prison-II, Puzhal to provide necessary facilities to the investigating officer (IO) to take videograph, photograph and other measurements of the suspect Ramkumar for the file in Nungambakkam police station with the help of technical officers in the police photo section, not below the rank of sub-inspector.
After taking measurements, photographs, videograph of Ramkumar, the IO should produce the materials before the Allikulam Magistrate for sending those to forensic experts for their opinion and report, the High Court judge added.