A city court pulled up the Delhi Police, asking how they can be believed every time they claim non-availability of public witnesses during apprehension of a suspect or arrest of an accused in any crime. Stating that “casual claims” have become a “routine” part of the functioning of police, Metropolitan Magistrate Rakesh Kumar Singh acquitted an accused in an Arms Act case — which only had police personnel as witnesses.
On January 21, 2011, police had arrested the accused from east Delhi based on inputs from a “secret informer”. They also seized a “desi katta” containing one cartridge. The chargesheet was filed in January 2012 and the accused was charged under Section 25 of the Arms Act.
During trial, the prosecution examined eight witnesses — all police personnel.
In his order on May 25, Metropolitan Magistrate Singh said it appears that no public witness was called by the police team during apprehension and even after the arrest — despite the accused being nabbed from a public place in the afternoon. “Therefore, there cannot be any question of non-availability of persons for joining… proceedings. A mere casual claim of police that no one joined proceedings cannot be accepted. This type of casual claim has become a routine part of the functioning of Delhi Police. It is one thing to say that police cannot be doubted as witness, but it is an entirely a different thing to say that despite availability of public persons, police did not join them for any proceedings, and that they should always be believed,” said the court.
It added that there were various inconsistencies in the statements of police personnel regarding the time, clothing worn by different police officers, “writing work” done by the IO of the case among others. The court said this does not “inspire” confidence in the testimonies of different police personnel.
The court also noted that the sanction of arrest was granted by an additional Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP), but he never appeared during recording of evidence in court. “Even the case property was not brought to the DCP office… In such circumstances, the sanction is completely not reliable. Therefore, the prosecution cannot claim to have established the case,” it said.