MP HC | Order by Trial Court violative of principles of natural justice; IO to be given opportunity to be heard

Madhya Pradesh High Court: Atul Sreedharan, J. allowed a petition which was filed aggrieved by the order where after deciding a criminal case, the Additional Sessions Judge passed an order asking the Superintendent of Police to take action against the petitioner, who was the Investigating Officer of the case.

The petitioner is a police officer and was part of an investigation for offences punishable under Sections 25 and 27 Arms Act along with Sections 399 and 402 IPC. After completion of investigation, the charge sheet was filed against the accused and the charges were framed. Pursuant to the trial, the accused persons were acquitted. Counsel for the petitioner submitted that the petitioner has discharged his responsibilities with utmost honesty and sincerity in the capacity of the Investigating Officer. He had further stated that merely because the case had ended in an acquittal, it cannot be a ground for initiating action against the Investigating Officer. Counsel further stated that even otherwise, where the court feels that certain strictures must be passed against an Investigating Officer or action taken against him, it was essential in the interest of complying with the provisions of natural justice that he be given an opportunity and be heard with regard to those lapses.

The Court noted that the trial court has not put any questions to the witness or even suggested to the witness that it has deliberately botched up the investigation in order to protect the accused persons. The Court further reiterated the view of the Supreme Court in State of W.B. v. Babu Chakraborthy, (2004) 12 SCC 201 where it was held that the officers who were discharging their statutory duties cannot be blamed and that the action taken by the State Government and the officials concerned was for implementing the objects behind the act.

The Court was of the view that the present impugned order reflects that no opportunity of hearing was ever given to the petitioner herein to state his position with regard to the investigation. The petition succeeded and the impugned order was quashed finding it to be violative of principles of natural justice.[Himanshudhar Dwivedi v. State of Madhya Pradesh, Misc. Criminal Case No. 4531 of 2014, decided on 12-05-2022]


Advocates before the Court:

For petitioner: Mr Bhupendra Shukla

For respondent: Mr C.M. Tiwari


Suchita Shukla, Editorial Assistant has reported this brief.

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