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Delhi Police chief told by HC to submit SOP followed in road accident cases

Observing that it was an “unfortunate case”, a single judge bench of Justice Prathiba Singh also asked the State of Delhi-respondent 1 or Delhi Police to place on record any scheme or policy on compensation as sought in the plea.

After hearing the parties, the HC directed, "Before proceeding further, this court directs the commissioner of police to place on record any standard operating procedure (SOP) that the police follow in respect of any accident case. The said SOP will be placed on record within six weeks.” (File)

The Delhi High Court Friday directed the Delhi Police Commissioner to place on record the standard operating procedure followed in road accident cases in a plea moved by the mother of a 26-year-old man who died in an accident in 2017.

Observing that it was an “unfortunate case”, a single judge bench of Justice Prathiba Singh also asked the State of Delhi-respondent 1 or Delhi Police to place on record any scheme or policy on compensation as sought in the plea.

The plea states that the deceased met with an accident when his car was hit by another. The plea alleges that the driver of the offending vehicle was driving in an inebriated state at high speed.

The counsel appearing for the parents, Swaty Singh Mallik, alleged that the blood sample of the driver was not submitted in time for analysis and was delayed by over three months. “This has deprived the parents of a fair trial,” she argued. It was also submitted before the HC that the CCTV footage was also not taken by the investigating officer (IO).

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After hearing the parties, the HC directed, “Before proceeding further, this court directs the commissioner of police to place on record any standard operating procedure (SOP) that the police follow in respect of any accident case. The said SOP will be placed on record within six weeks.” The matter is next listed on April 19, 2023.

The plea claims that the IO botched up the investigation as the driver’s blood samples were not forwarded by him to the forensic science laboratory (FSL). The plea states that the IO “knowing that the driver was drunk kept the samples with him for four months” until February 2018. The plea states that the driver was booked under IPC sections 279 (Rash driving or riding on a public way) and 304A (causing death by negligence) and since the offences were bailable, he was released on bail.

The plea alleges that whenever the mother requested the IO to take the CCTV footage of the accident to shed light on the nature of the accident, he would tell her that she should stay away from the investigation. The plea claims that not only was the investigation botched up by the IO but the manner in which the lapse occurred clearly points to the fact that IO acted in clear contravention to his public duties giving a wrongful benefit to the driver, thus infringing the mother’s fundamental right to a free and fair trial.

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The plea alleges that there was a departmental enquiry in October 2018 against the IO wherein it was held that he kept the samples without any justified reasons, and action would be taken against him as deemed appropriate. However, “no appropriate action was taken against the respondent IO by the Commissioner of Police”. The plea alleged that the IO is also “liable to be prosecuted for interference in the administration of justice and for damaging the evidence”.

The plea prays for the order directing the “State of the NCT of Delhi and Commissioner of Police, Delhi, to carry out a fresh departmental enquiry” against the IO, setting aside the decision delivered in the departmental enquiry concluded in October 2018. It seeks a direction to award “exemplary punitive damages of Rs 50,00,000 in favour of the mother and against the IO” for violating her fundamental rights.

First published on: 09-12-2022 at 18:43 IST
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