Case BriefsHigh Courts

Gauhati High Court: S. Hukato Swu, J. rejected the petition of the petitioner and refused him bail.

The factual background of the case indicates that the petitioner was arrested in July 2020  based on a complaint lodged by the father of the victims who had alleged that the accused sexually assaulted two minor children aged 13 and 15, on several occasions. The petitioner moved this bail application on technical grounds submitting that the I.O. of the case had prayed for extension of judicial remand for 15 days and accordingly the learned CJM granted the prayer, by which the petitioner/accused was remanded to judicial custody. However, after this, there was no further prayer for extension of judicial remand. Therefore, the petitioner argued that the right of the petitioner accrued under Section 167 of the CrPC and he had the right to be enlarged on bail.

Contentions of the Public Prosecutor:

Public Prosecutor, V. Suokhrie submitted that while the case records were transmitted to this Court for considering of the bail petition, the chargesheet was already submitted before the Special Judge (POCSO) and the right of the accused no longer subsisted. She also submitted that the petitioner/accused was a very influential person, no less than a Director of a Department and could have a lot of influence on the progress of the case if he was enlarged on bail. The offence, as such, was also heinous in nature and there was a provision which requires that matters pertaining to POCSO Act to be disposed of within a period of one year. Under such circumstances, granting bail to the petitioner/accused would not be in the interest of the prosecution and hence, she vehemently objected to the consideration of the bail.

Further submission of the prosecution was that the accused and the victim lived in the same vicinity and if the accused was to be released on bail it would jeopardize the mental health of the victims because of the proximity.

The Court viewed this case very seriously and gave more weightage to the submission of the public prosecutor and agreed that offences under the POCSO Act are viewed seriously by the Supreme Court and also the society as a whole due to its frequency. Nevertheless, several steps have and should be taken to see that the menace should be curbed.

The Court while rejecting the bail application of the petitioner opined that the instant case was one where the offence alleged was very unpleasant and needed to be tackled with due consideration to ensure the society doesn’t lose faith in the administration of justice. [Lanu Akum v. State of Nagaland, 2020 SCC OnLine Gau 3982, decided on 23-09-2020]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Uttaranchal High Court: Manoj K. Tiwari, J. dismissed a petition thwarting the request for quashing the FIR where it prima facie disclosed the commission of offence.

In the present matter, the petitioner sought for quashing the FIR registered under Sections 420 and 120-B of the Penal Code, 1860. Ramji Srivastava, Advocate for the petitioner had submitted that he was falsely implicated in the crime as there is no evidence to support the alleged incident. Whereas Pratiroop Pande, AGA submitted that the petitioner had a long criminal history.

High Court relied on the Supreme Court case, State of W.B v. Swapan Kumar, 1982 (1) SCC 561  and was of the opinion that “if the FIR, prima facie, discloses the commission of an offence, the Court does not normally stop the investigation, for, to do so would be to trench upon the lawful power of the police to investigate into cognizable offences”.[Amit Agarwal v. State of Uttarakhand, 2019 SCC OnLine Utt 537, decided on 24-06-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Delhi High Court: A Division Bench of Manmohan and Sangita Dhingra Sehgal, JJ. appreciated the Delhi Police for the alacrity with which it reacted to the suggestions made by the High Court regarding online registrations of FIRs.

On 23-04-2019, a letter was received by the Court wherein the author of the letter stated that her daughter, who had been working as a maid, had gone missing. The letter was marked to the Delhi Police. Despite that, the FIR was registered only on 18-05-2019. Due to delay in lodging the FIR, the “golden hour” of the investigation was lost and in all probabilities, the important leads had dried up.

On 13-05-2019, while considering another petition, the Court had directed the Delhi Police to consider allowing online registration of FIRs by way of SMS, emails and WhatsApp. The suggestion was made as it was observed in a number of writ petitions filed by the family members of missing persons that either the FIRs had not been registered or had been registered belatedly. With online registration of FIRs, the human interface — which normally causes a delay in registration of FIR — would be obviated. On the present hearing, the Deputy Commissioner of police (Legal Cell) submitted a “Proposed Road Map for online reporting on Missing Persons through Delhi Police Web Portal and Mobile Application.” The Court appreciated the alacrity with which the Delhi Police has reacted to the suggestions made by it. It hoped that the time-frame mentioned in the road map shall be duly complied with.

This Court was of the view that at the police station level as well as at the district level, the investigation procedure followed by AHTU/Crime Branch should be replicated. For this purpose, not only the latest technology and training but also the general guidelines in the form of Standard Operating Procedure should be issued and followed at the ground level. The intent behind directing issuance of SOP/guidelines is not to control the discretion of the investigating officer, but to ensure that certain essential steps like flashing of message on wireless and placing the information of the missing person on the ZIPNET are taken in a time bound manner.

Directions were given to file fresh status report in regard to aforesaid developments within eight weeks. Further, a status report with regard to facts of the present petition was directed to be filed within 4 weeks. [Court on its own motion v. State, 2019 SCC OnLine Del 8807, decided on 30-05-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Kerala High Court: A Bench comprising of K. Abraham Mathew, J. allowed further investigation to the petitioner as the prior investigation was not sufficient.

The accused was charged for offences under Sections 406 and 420 IPC. It was stated that he was entrusted with the responsibility for the manufacture of ornaments for which gold was given to him which allegedly was misappropriated by him. The petitioner through his counsels N.M. Madhu, P.P. Harris and C.S. Rajani claimed that he was not satisfied with the investigation and wanted a further investigation into the matter. He has also brought to the Court’s notice that as per the statements of the witnesses on record, the accused sold them gold ornaments for which even attempts were not made by the investigating officer as to their recovery.

The Court agreed with the petitioner, allowed the writ petition and granted further investigation in the case. [Biju v. State of Kerala, 2018 SCC OnLine Ker 7430, decided on 05-07-2018]