The Jharkhand High Court has severely criticised the investigating officers for defiance of judicial orders.
A Single-Judge Bench of Justice Ananda Sen on Friday passed this order, while hearing a bail application in a case concerning the sexual assault of a 13-year-old minor girl.
The minor was sexually assaulted and the petitioner is the accused. The victim had neither been made a charge sheet witness, nor produced before the Court, despite several judicial orders.
The Counsel appearing for the petitioner submitted that the victim has not been examined in the case, nor the victim is a charge sheet witness.
He submitted that in spite of several letters written to the Superintendent of Police, Sahebganj and the DIG, Dumka, the victim has not been produced and the petitioner is languishing in custody for more than three years.
This is an application, wherein the petitioner has renewed his prayer for bail, which was earlier rejected by the Court on merits. The case is under relevant Sections of the Indian Penal Code and the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act.
The victim girl is minor aged about 13 years. Statement of the victim girl was recorded under Section 164 Cr.P.C., which is apparent from the earlier rejection order dated August 08, 2018.
Counsel for the Petitioner submitted that all the charge sheet witnesses have been examined in this case. “From the charge sheet I find that the Investigating Officer has not made the victim a charge sheet witnesses,” he added.
The Court said this is really surprising that in a case, which has been registered under POCSO Act and the victim is minor aged about 13 years, why the Investigating Officer has not made the victim as a charge sheet witness. Even the supervising authority has overlooked this fact.
“The Court fails to understand as to why in an important case, the victim has not been made a charge sheet witness. Further, from the order sheet of the Court below I find that since November, 2019, the Trial Court is writing letters to the Superintendent of Police, Sahebganj, DIG, Dumka and also to the Director General of Police, Jharkhand to produce the victim as court witness, but those letters/directions have yielded no response. The Superintendent of Police, Sahebganj DIG, Dumka and DGP, Jharkhand did not take any action to produce the victim.
These facts create doubt in the mind of the Court. Is the police authority taking side of the accused persons by not bringing the victim in the witness box, prima-facie the Court feels so.
Prima-facie the act of the Investigating Officer, Supervising Officer, Superintendent of Police, Sahebganj and the DIG, Dumka cannot be said to be bonafide. The questions are bound to arise if this type of investigation is made, leaving out the main person as witness in the charge sheet.
Further, when the Court directed to produce the victim, these officers shut their ears and did not even respond to the directions of the Court. The letter of a court is not merely a letter. It is a direction upon the authority to do what has been mentioned in the said letter. The letter is preceeded by a judicial order. By not doing so and by not responding to those directions, prima-facie, the Court feels that the officers have committed contempt of Court.
It is high time that this type of attitude should be taken note of and should be rectified. The rectification should come either internally or by external sources by punishing these officers after initiating a proceeding for contempt.
The Court directed that, the Director General of Police, Jharkhand to look into the case and inform the Court by filing a personal affidavit :‐
- As to why the victim was not made a charge sheet witness.
- Who is responsible for not making the victim as charge sheet witness.
- If the DGP finds that till date no responsibility has been fixed, the DGP will fix the responsibility and will furnish information to this Court and he shall also inform the Court as to what steps have been taken against those persons because of whose laches the victim has not been shown as charge sheet witness.
- Why the Superintendent of Police, Sahebganj and DIG, Dumka have not responded to the directions/letters of the Court which directs the officers to produce the victim as a court witness.
- What steps the DGP himself has taken to ensure the production of the victim before the Court below pursuant to the order dated January 16, 2020 and letter dated January 27, 2020, which the Court below has addressed to him for production of the victim.
- What steps DGP intends to take against the erring officials who have not produced the victim before the court so that her evidence could be recorded.
- Why not a contempt proceeding be initiated against the Investigating Officer, Officer-in-charge Mirzachouki P.S., Sahibganj, the Superintendent of Police, Sahebganj and DIG, Dumka for willfully and deliberately violating the orders of the court wherein the trial court had directed them to produce the victim as a witness.
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“The affidavit should be filed by the Director General of Police, Jharkhand personally within three weeks after making proper inquiry and verification.
“Let a copy of this order be also handed over to Rajeev Sinha, Assistant Solicitor General of India for onward communication to the Secretary”, the Court ordered.