Dismissing former Kolkata police commissioner Rajeev Kumar’s petition seeking protection from arrest, Justice Madhumati Mitra had on Friday observed that “no one is above the law”, and rights and liberties of a citizen guaranteed by the Constitution do not mean the person can keep away from interrogation.
Following the observation of Justice Mitra of the Calcutta High Court, the CBI sent notice to Kumar for interrogation.
“Petitioner apprehends that his personal liberty, right to reputation, etc. may be denied by the Investigating Agencies. It is well settled that right to fair trial and fair investigation cannot be so amplified as to permit accused to choose manner of investigation. None is above the law and the petitioner cannot seek special treatment,” stated the court order, a copy of which is with The Sunday Express.
“It is true that Court has duty to protect and promote citizens’ right and liberty guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution of India. This does not mean that right is allowed to be used by a person to enjoy special treatment to keep him away from interrogation by the Investigating Agency under Section 160 of the Code of Criminal Procedure,” it further read.
Justice Mitra also observed that the petitioner had failed to substantiate that the CBI issued summons to tarnish his reputation.
“In the case at hand, the petitioner has failed to substantiate the allegation that he is being called by the C.B.I. for interrogation to harass him, and to injure his reputation,’ the observation read.
It was also observed that Kumar “took various pleas to avoid interrogation” by CBI and that it is the duty of every responsible officer to assist investigation.
“From the replies given by the petitioner in response to the notices issued under Section 160 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, it appears that, the petitioner took various pleas to avoid interrogation by the C.B.I. The investigating agency is required to find out larger conspiracy. Without cooperation and assistance from all corners, it would be difficult for the investigating agency to find out the truth. It should be the duty of every responsible Officer to assist the investigation,” the observation read.
“It is true that the right to life and personal liberty protected by Article 21 is not an absolute right but a qualified right. The right as contained in Article 21 does not confer any fundamental right to a person to refuse or not to be interrogated by the Investigating Officer, when he is served notice under Section 160 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. Section 157(1) of the Code of Criminal Procedure provides that a Police Officer shall investigate a case relating to a cognizable offence and if necessary, take necessary measures for the arrest of the offender,” observation read.
The court also observed that the nature of relief that is “blanket protection for not arresting the petitioner” is not available under the law and cannot be entertained.
“Moreover, the nature of the relief sought for, is blanket protection of not arresting the petitioner in connection with the impugned criminal proceedings except after making an application before this Court by the C.B.I. and disclosing the materials against him. This type of protection as prayed for by the petitioner is not available under the law and cannot be entertained. If the relief as prayed for is granted, then it would cause unnecessary interference with the investigation,” the court order said.