Won’t turn a blind eye to harassment by police in the name of inquiry: HC
Madurai: Observing that the court would not turn a blind eye to harassment by police in the name of inquiry, the Madras high court has issued certain guidelines to the police officials to follow while summoning people for inquiry.
Two petitioners Elango and Rajalakshmi moved the high court Madurai bench seeking a direction to the Madurai commissioner of police, assistant commissioner of police (law and order), Anna Nagar, and inspector of police Anna Nagar police station not to harass them and not to interfere in a family and civil dispute based on a false complaint given by a woman.
On perusal of the submissions, justice A D Jagadish Chandira observed that an inquiry into a non-cognizable or a cognizable offence is the unfettered powers of the investigation officer so long as the power of inquiry into these offences are legitimately exercised within the framework of Chapter XII of CrPC. The judge observed that though CrPC empowers the magistrate to be a guardian in all the stages of police investigation, there is no power for the magistrate to interfere with the actual investigation or the mode of investigation.
The judge cited that it is in this background numerous petitions complaining of harassment are being reported and filed before the court seeking for directions to refrain the police officials from harassing the persons named in a complaint.
“This court, exercising its power under Section 482 of CrPC (inherent powers of high court) would not interfere with the investigation conducted by a police official. Nevertheless, it would also not turn a blind eye to instances of harassment by the police under the guise of investigation is brought to its notice,” observed the judge.
The judge observed that the term ‘harassment’ by itself has a very wide meaning and hence what could be harassment to the petitioner may not be the same to the police officer.
The judge issued certain guidelines in order to circumvent such situations: While summoning any person named in the complaint or any witness to the incident, the police officer shall summon such person through a written notice under Section 160 of CrPC by specifying a particular date and time for appearing for inquiry or investigation. Police are directed to serve summons mentioning the community service register number, date of complaint and name of complaint.
The judge stated that the minutes of the inquiry shall be recorded in the general diary or station diary of the police station and the police officer shall refrain from harassing the people called upon for inquiry.
The judge further directed the police to follow the guidelines stipulated for preliminary inquiry or registration of FIR by the Supreme Court in ‘Lalita Kumari vs Government of Uttar Pradesh’ case and disposed of the petition filed by the petitioners.