A Delhi court came down heavily on Delhi Police while framing charges against two men accused of being members of a mob that attacked the 65th Battalion of the Sashastra Seema Bal during the Northeast Delhi riots, observing that “in a large number of cases of riots, the standard of investigation is very poor”.
Additional Sessions Judge Vinod Yadav in his order passed Saturday said that “after filing the half-baked chargesheets in court, police hardly bother about taking the investigation to a logical end”.
“The accused persons, who have been roped in multiple cases, continue to languish in jails as a consequence thereof. It is high time that the DCP of Northeast District and other higher officers concerned take notice of the aforesaid observations and take immediate remedial action required in the matters,” the court said.
The present case was registered on the complaint of a constable from the 65th Battalion, which came under attack by a mob near Shiv Vihar on February 25 last year.
The court framed charges against two men, Ashraf Ali and Parvez, under sections of rioting, voluntarily causing grievous hurt by use of acid, voluntarily causing hurt to deter public servant from his duty among other sections of the IPC.
The judge said that it was “really painful to note” that a large number of cases of riots have been pending consideration on charge and in majority of cases the “IOs have not been appearing in court, either physically or through video-conferencing, at the time of consideration on charge”.
ASJ Yadav said investigating officers have not been briefing the Special Public Prosecutors for arguments on charge. “On the morning of the date of hearing on charge, they simply e-mail PDF of the chargesheet to the learned Special PP and leave it upon him to argue the matter on charge as it is, without giving him an opportunity to go deep into the facts and the investigation conducted in the matter.
“It is further painful to note that in a large number of cases of riots, the standard of investigation is very poor. After filing of chargesheet in the court, neither the IO nor SHO nor the supervising officers bother to see as to what other material is required to be collected from the appropriate authority… and what steps are required to be taken to take the investigation to a logical end,” the court said.
The court said this case was a glaring example where the injured persons are police officers “yet the IO did not bother to collect the sample of acid/corrosive substance and to have its chemical analysis, particularly when Section 326-A (voluntarily causing grievous hurt by use of acid, etc) IPC has been invoked in the matter”.
It further noted that the IO has “not bothered to collect the opinion about the nature of injuries upon the victims, particularly when the provision of IPC Section 332 (voluntarily causing hurt to deter public servant from his duty) has been invoked”.
The supervising officers have miserably failed to supervise the investigation under the Delhi High Court Rules, the court said: “They don’t even bother to care for the queries of learned Special PPs, regarding the chargesheet and the further investigation which is supposed to have been conducted in the matters. This case is a glaring example, wherein injured persons/victims are police personnel itself.”
The lawyer for the accused had told the court that their clients were falsely implicated in the case by the police. It was argued that the accused persons were not named by the complainant, and they are the only ones chargesheeted in a case involving a mob of 100-150 persons.
Special Public Prosecutor RCS Bhadoria argued that the 65th Battalion was “deployed at a very short notice and as such, it is very difficult for the complainant and his colleagues to get acquainted with the area/locality and as such, they could not specifically name/identify the accused persons in the matter”. He further submitted that accused persons have been categorically named/identified by independent witness.
The court said the statement of this independent witness “cannot be brushed aside/discarded merely because there has been some delay in recording thereof or the complainant has not specifically named them”.
The court, however, agreed with the argument of the defence lawyers that the “absence of report regarding the nature of injuries upon the MLCs of victim constable(s) Srinavasa Rao, Mukesh Singh, Manikandan and G Nalloperum is fatal to the case of prosecution”.
It also found substance in the argument that for “want of chemical analyst’s report regarding the substance to be acid or something else, again a jolt is caused to the case of police”.
“The case of the police cannot be thrown to dustbin on account of defective investigation by the IO as well as due to lack of supervision of investigation by supervisory officers like ACP of the sub-division and DCP of the district,” the court said.