New Delhi: The Supreme Court today observed that only cases and appeals (not investigation) can be transferred by invoking powers under Section 406 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973.
A single judge bench of Justice Hrishikesh Roy made the observation while directing the CBI to investigate into the death of actor Sushant Singh Rajput. Rajput, who resided within the Bandra Police Station jurisdiction, was reported as an unnatural death under section 174 of CrPC.
Rhea Chakraborty, Rajput’s girlfriend, filed a plea before the apex court under section 406 of the Code of Criminal Procedure seeking transfer of FIR registered under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 at the Rajeev Nagar Police Station, Patna and all consequential proceedings, from the jurisdiction of the Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate III, Patna Sadar, to the Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate, Bandra Mumbai. According to the petitioner, the Mumbai Police is competent to undertake the investigation, even for the FIR lodged at Patna.
However, the Bihar government contended against the petitioner’s submissions and challenged validity of the transfer petition, stating that section 406 of Cr.PC couldn’t be enforced to transfer investigations.
The court cited the case of Ram Chander Singh Sagar vs State of Tamil Nadu, where it was observed that the Code of Criminal Procedure clothes this Court with power under Section 406 to transfer a case or appeal from one high court or a court subordinate to one high court to another high court or to a court subordinate thereto. But, it does not clothe this court with the power to transfer investigations from one police station to another in the country simply because the first information or a remand report is forwarded to a court.
The court noted that scope of exercise of this power of transfer under Section 406 of Cr.PC is for securing the ends of justice and precedents suggest that transfer plea under Section 406 CrPC were granted in cases where the court believed that the trial may be prejudiced and fair and impartial proceedings cannot be carried on, if the trial continues.
Justice Roy also noted that the contrary references cited by the petitioner where transfer of investigation was allowed, do not in any manner, refer to a determination on the question of competence to transfer investigation under Section 406. In the cited cases, relief was granted without any discussion of the law, ignoring the long standing ratio laid down in Ram Chander Singh Sagar. If the contour of the power under section 406 CrPC is considered, it must be concluded that only cases and appeals (not investigation) can be transferred.
Read the judgment here;15928-2020-36-1501-23473-Judgement-19-Aug-2020
– India Legal Bureau