Pulling up Delhi’s executive magistrates for their insincerity while conducting inquests of suspicious deaths, a sessions court last week asked the Delhi government to duly sensitise the officers and issue directions for proper conduct of inquest proceedings.
“..in cases of unnatural deaths of young girls within seven years of marriage very rarely do these magistrates/officers conducting the inquest visit the spot of incident, make inquiry or inspect the scene of crime and usually end the said proceedings after recording the statements of the parents… The only proceedings which these executive magistrates/SDMs conduct is recording the statements of the parents of the deceased and that too most of the time by calling them to their office or the police station,” Additional Sessions Judge Kamini Lau had observed while pulling up an executive magistrate for failing to conduct “an in-depth inquiry” into the death of an 18-year-old woman who was allegedly beaten to death by her husband. The death occurred within six months of their marriage.
The woman died in 2010 and police produced her husband and parents-in-law as the accused in the murder trial. Judge Lau acquitted the parents but convicted her husband.
While issuing the verdict, the judge observed that it was owing to the irregularities in the inquest by the executive magistrate and poor investigation by police that the parents-in-law had been impleaded in the case.
The judge observed that the magistrate had not visited the crime scene while carrying out the inquest.
“When asked in the court why he did not visit the scene of crime, he replied that it was not his job but the job of police….under no circumstances can the executive magistrate justify his inaction in this regard by saying that it was the job of police. If the executive magistrate says so then either he is not aware of the legal provisions in this regard or this is only a pretext/ploy to escape the liability for his inaction. Having noticed these irregularities/illegalities in a number of cases being dealt with by me, I am now compelled to bring this fact on record so that it is brought to the notice of the competent authority for necessary action,” Judge Lau observed while directing a copy of the order to Principal Secretary (Home) of the Delhi government for appropriate directions.
The court also pulled up an assistant sub-inspector for not visiting the site after the PCR call about the death was made.
The judge directed a copy of the judgment to the Commissioner of Police and Deputy Commissioner of Police (Northwest) for “necessary action as per law under intimation to court”.
The judge also underlined the importance of “zero tolerance” and “deterrent punishment” in such cases while sentencing the man to life imprisonment and a fine of Rs 15,000.