Trial court can summon additional accused if police shield culprits: HC

Says extraordinary power vested under Section 319 of the CrPC

Trial court can summon additional accused if police shield culprits: HC

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 3

The Punjab and Haryana High Court has ruled that the trial court was “always justified” in summoning a person as an additional accused in case the police made an attempt to shield him by declaring him innocent.

“Once the investigation is not carried out in a proper manner and an attempt is made by the police official(s) concerned to shield the accused by declaring him innocent, the trial court is always justified in exercising the power under Section 319 of the CrPC if the evidence on record suggests his involvement in the alleged occurrence and commission of crime,” Justice Manoj Bajaj ruled.

The Bench was hearing a petition for quashing an FIR registered on March 5, 2017, for attempt to murder and other offences under Sections 307, 326, 324, 323, 148 and 149 of the IPC at Kahnuwan police station in Gurdaspur. Directions were also sought for quashing order dated January 30, 2019, whereby the trial court summoned the petitioner as an additional accused by exercising power under Section 319 of the CrPC.

The ruling came after Justice Bajaj asserted it was evident that the investigation with regard to the petitioner and others was not conducted in accordance with law, “much less by the investigating officer, who simply proceeded to follow the directions issued by his superior officers”.

Referring to the facts of the case in hand, Justice Bajaj asserted the entire case of the petitioner-accused was based on an inquiry report by Gurdaspur Superintendent of Police. He concluded that the petitioner and some others were not found present at the place of occurrence.

Justice Bajaj added the report’s perusal revealed that the conclusion was based upon discreet and open investigation allegedly conducted by the inquiry officer, who proceeded to accept the defence of the accused before issuing directions to the SHO to declare them innocent.

The direction was followed by the SHO, while filing the final probe report, wherein it was specifically mentioned that the Superintendent of Police found the accused innocent and the conclusion was approved by the Senior Superintendent of Police. “Thus, it is evident that the investigation qua the petitioner and others was not conducted in accordance with law much less by the investigating officer, who simply proceeded to follow the directions issued by his superiors,” Justice Bajaj added, while dismissing the plea.

Tribune Shorts


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