Rajasthan High Court: In a case wherein, an order dated 13-06-2023, whereby the investigation was transferred to the Crime Branch was challenged, Birendra Kumar, J., opined that no reason was assigned in the impugned order, except the direction of the Director General of Police (‘DGP’) to transfer the investigation. The Court opined that the right to fair investigation and fair trial was a fundamental right of the victim as well and quashed the impugned order dated 13-06-2023. Further, the Court directed that the investigation of the six registered FIRs to be handed over to Additional DCP (West), Jaipur under the supervision of Commissioner of Police, Jaipur.
In an instant case, the petitioner was an informant in the six registered FIRs and the case was investigated by the respective police stations. The petitioner alleged that the then Additional Director General of Police (‘ADGP’) of Anti-Terrorist Squad (‘ATS’) and Special Operations Group (‘SOG’) was biased in favour of the accused and hence, he handed over the investigation of some of the FIRs to SOG and some others to ATS.
Under the influence of ADGP, the SOG and ATS submitted the negative report in all the FIRs. The petitioner made representations to different authorities including the Home Minister, Government of Rajasthan and superior police officers for necessary direction for further investigation of the case.
Accordingly, under the order of the then Director General of Police (‘DGP’) the investigation was transferred to the Additional District Controller of Police (West), Jaipur.
Meanwhile, the then ADGP of SOG and ATS assumed the office of DGP, Rajasthan. Thereafter, by the order dated 02-12-2022, the ADGP called the entire records of the FIRs and stayed the arrest of the accused persons of the case.
Thus, the petitioner filed the petition before the court and since the lawyers, were on the strike, this Court vide order dated 02-03-2023 disposed of the writ petition with direction to the petitioner to approach the Magistrate concerned for redressal of his grievance for fair investigation of the case. Thereafter, the petitioner filed an application making details of the averments and claimed that since the writ petition was disposed of without hearing the petitioner, it required reconsideration. The present Court on 12-05-2023, quashed the order dated 02-12-2022 on the ground that the order was the blanket order without any reason.
Thereafter by order dated 13-06-2023, under instructions of the DGP, the investigation was transferred to the Crime Branch. Thus, the petitioner submitted that the present DGP was biased in favour of the accused persons of this case, hence he had transferred the investigation for the fourth time.
Analysis, Law, and Decision
The Court opined that evidently, no reason was assigned in the order dated 13-06-2023, except the direction of the DGP to transfer the investigation. The glaring thing was that the first progress report of the investigation was called for within seven years. Moreover, the administrative instruction had not been followed, as the transfer of investigation for more than three times was not permissible. The Court opined that the right to fair investigation and fair trial was a fundamental right of the victim as well.
Accordingly, the Court quashed the impugned order dated 13-06-2023 and directed that the investigation of the six registered FIRs to be handed over to Additional DCP (West), Jaipur under the supervision of Commissioner of Police, Jaipur. The Court further stated that the investigating officer was expected to conclude the investigation within two months and thereafter submit a report to the present Court.
The matter would be next listed on 12-12-2023.
[Tikam Khandelwal v. State of Rajasthan, 2023 SCC OnLine Raj 2705, Order dated 05-10-2023]
Advocates who appeared in this case :
For the Petitioner: V.R. Bajwa, Senior Advocate with Mahi Yadav and Amar Singh, Advocates;
For the Respondent: Babulal Nasuna, Public Prosecutor