Madras High Court: In a criminal original Petition under Section 482 of Criminal Procedure Code (‘CrPC’) seeking directions to Police not to harass the petitioner except due process of law, Sathi Kumar Sukumara Kurup, J. issued guidelines to be followed by police during investigation for refraining them from harassing persons.
The petitioner alleged that she was harassed by Police under the guise of enquiry/investigation, while the respondent Police pointed towards pendency of an enquiry in a complaint against the petitioner and issuance of Notice underSection 41-A of CrPC.
The Court pointed towards the unfettered powers of the Investigating Officer regarding enquiry in cognizable/non-cognizable offence as long as such powers are legitimately exercised in accordance with Chapter 12 of CrPC. It further observed thatthe magistrate normally acts as a guardian when it comes to police investigation and lacks power to interfere with the process of investigation as per CrPC.
The Court, however, pointed at several complaints of harassment being reported in recent times, seeking directions from the Court to refrain police officials from harassing people named in a criminal complaint.
The Court made it clear that it would not usually interfere with police investigation under Section 482 of CrPC, but it would not turn a blind eye to instances of harassment by the police under the guise of investigation.
The Court also noted that the term ‘harassment’ is very wide and may carry different meanings for the petitioner and the police officers respectively. While pressing on need for appearance before the police officer regarding notice under Section 41-A of CrPC being a law-abiding citizen of the Country, the Court issued guidelines for similar circumstances:
Police officer to serve written summon to a person named in a complaint under Section 160 CrPC, and a witness to incident complained of under Section 41-A CrPC, specifying a particular date and time for appearing before him for such an enquiry/investigation.
The minutes of the enquiry to be recorded by the police officer in the Station Diary/Daily Diary/General Diary of the Police Station.
The police to abstain from harassing the persons called for enquiry/investigation.The police not to summon the petitioner for investigation at odd hours.
The petitioner to cooperate with the police investigation.
Guidelines for preliminary enquiry or registration of FIR stipulated in Lalita Kumari v. Govt. of U.P., (2014) 2 SCC 1 to be followed strictly.
The court disposed of the Criminal Original Petition.
[Rajini v. Superintendent of Police, 2023 SCC OnLine Mad 3476, Order dated 25-05-2023]
Advocates who appeared in this case :
For Petitioner: Advocate. M. Subash;
For Respondent: Government Advocate V.J. Priyadarsana.