Police Saluting Court

Judicial Magistrate First Class, Gurugram: In a matter pertaining to allegations of bribe by misusing post and office involving a Police Constable and a private person, Vikrant, JMIC Gurugram caught ACP Naveen Sharma saluting the Chair in an improper manner, by just raising his arm and touching two fingers on forehead. Thus, the Court directed Commissioner of Police, Gurugram to take necessary action against him.

In the instant matter, among the two accused, one was a private person while the other was a constable with Haryana Police booked for offences under Sections 406, 420, 506 and 120-B of Penal Code, 1860 (‘IPC’) and Sections 7, 8 and 13-B of Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 (‘PC Act’). The Court informed that 5-day police custody was required for further investigation and discovery of role of others involved.

The Court commented that “the gravity of allegation is more severe and serious against him, yet the investigating agency acted at snail pace for the best reasons known to it.” The Court raised questions that if there was no need for arresting the said constable who was left after joining the investigation, what recovery could be made from a private person to whom the money was not given by the complainant. The Court viewed that no justified reason was made out to allow 5-day police custody of the private person, however, allowed one day custody to facilitate custodial interrogation. Teh Court further directed that “investigation shall be made in a manner that it appears to have been done without any bias and in all fairness irrespective of the fact that main accused was serving as Constable in Haryana Police.”

The Court highlighted another aspect that “As soon as the order was passed, the investigating officer ACP Naveen Sharma saluted the Chair in improper manner by just raising his arm and touching two fingers on forehead. On being asked as to where from he has learned this kind of saluting, he tried to explain that he has learnt three kind of salutes, i.e., just raising the elbow, touching the forehead and then the proper salute. He, however, then immediately realized that the Court is not a place to crack jokes and then made an excuse that he was wearing a tight shirt, and he was not comfortable in saluting the Chair.” The Court raised concern over the conduct of the said ACP for being against the protocol and rules.

The Court hinted towards Rule 14.2.(b) of Chapter XIV in Vol. II of Punjab Police Rules, 1934 applicable to Haryana State, which states that “every police officer entering a court of law in uniform, while such court is in session, shall salute the court, irrespective of the rank or status of the judicial officer presiding in such court for the time being.” The Court rebuked the ACP’s ignorance of the rules governing his service and was of the view that he needed to be trained properly by making him aware of the rules and protocols.

The Court also directed a copy of this order to be sent to the Police Commissioner, Gurugram, required to take necessary action under Punjab Police Rules against the erring official and submit a report accordingly.

[State v. Anil Sharma, 2024 SCC OnLine Dis Crt (Haryana) 1, Order dated 8-02-2024]

Advocates who appeared in this case :

Additional Public Prosecutor Himanshu Yadav, Advocate Jitender Yadav

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