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Direct Investigating Officers To Complete Probe In Rape Cases Within 2 Months As Per S. 173 CrPC: Allahabad High Court Directs UP Govt To Issue Circular

LIVELAW NEWS NETWORK
17 Sep 2021 2:10 PM GMT
Direct Investigating Officers To Complete Probe In Rape Cases Within 2 Months As Per S. 173 CrPC: Allahabad High Court Directs UP Govt To Issue Circular
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Dealing with the case of the death of a 16-year-old girl from Mainpuri, the Allahabad High Court on Thursday asked the Uttar Pradesh government as to whether it has issued an order directing the investigating officers to comply with Section 173 of CrPC mandating the completion of investigation of sexual offences within a time frameIf circular/direction has not been issued to date,...

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Dealing with the case of the death of a 16-year-old girl from Mainpuri, the Allahabad High Court on Thursday asked the Uttar Pradesh government as to whether it has issued an order directing the investigating officers to comply with Section 173 of CrPC mandating the completion of investigation of sexual offences within a time frame

If circular/direction has not been issued to date, the Court directed, then immediately an order be issued. 

It may be noted that as per Section 173 (1-A) of CrPC, the duration to complete the investigation in a case registered for the offence under Sections 376, 376-A, 376-AB, 376-B, 376-C, 376-D, 376-DA, 376-DB or 376-E I.P.C is "two months" (from the date on which the information was recorded by the officer in charge of the police station).

Now, coming to the instant case, the Bench of Acting Chief Justice Munishwar Nath Bhandari and Justice Anil Kumar Ojha has further directed the state government and the police authorities to apprise it in a month on the progress in the investigation.

Uttar Pradesh DGP also submitted that action was taken against those police officers who defaulted in conducting the investigation in a fair and proper manner. He added that the investigating officer Pahup Singh had been placed under suspension.

A perusal of the reasons for placing the IO under suspension showed serious lapses in the investigation.

It was found that in the vaginal slide, human semen was found apart from sperm on the underwear of the deceased girl. Despite receipt of the report from F.S.L., Agra, the Investigating Officer did not send for DNA test of those persons within 45 days who were named in the F.I.R. or who were suspected and thereby subsequent DNA remains of no use.

With regard to the inquiry against the then Superintendent of Police, Mainpuri, the Court was told that it would be completed soon. Furthermore, two other officers, namely, Additional Superintendent of Police Om Prakash and Deputy Superintendent of Police Priyank Jain were also suspended.

The DGP informed the Court that a new SIT was formed to investigate the case within the shortest possible time and it would complete the investigation within a period of six weeks.

Senior Advocate Amrendra Nath Singh, who was appointed by the Court to assist it in the matter, assisted by Advocates Chhaya Gupta, Prabha Shankar Mishra and other Bar Members told the Bench that the present case did not show any serious lapse of investigation but was a case where the effort of the investigating team was to give benefit to the accused.

Referring to the F.I.R., he submitted that the incident took place at around 5.30-6.00 AM but the parents were not informed about the incident by the Principal of the school rather knowledge of the incident was gathered from a relative named Vijay Mishra who was present in the hospital for the treatment of his wife.

Advocate Singh also stated that statement of the father was not recorded despite being material to the case and even the statement of the named accused were recorded after three months and he was not arrested despite serious allegations against them.

"The effort was to somehow make them free and thereby no evidence relevant to the case was collected rather subsequent investigation was also to give clean chit to the accused."

The Senior Counsel submitted that the investigation should now be conducted under the supervision of the High Court.

While remarking that the instant investigation would now be under its supervision, the Court made it clear that if any matter came before any Court in reference to the present case, the detailed order issued by it would be produced before the Court concerned to give reasons for holding a fresh investigation and further action in the matter so that directions issued in the public interest litigation may not go unnoticed by any Court for taking proper decision.
In regard to Section 173 (2) Cr.P.C. which mandated completion of investigation within a time frame, the DGP has been directed to find out whether necessary order has been issued by the State Government to direct the investigating officers for compliance of the provisions, as amended.
"If circular/direction has been issued till date, then immediately an order be issued. Delay in the investigation in such cases should be made subject or explanation otherwise delay without any reason should invite action against the defaulting officers. The provision of Section 173 Cr.P.C., as amended, should not be taken casually rather seriousness should be attached."
The Government has also been directed to take action against the defaulting officers. The Court further opined that,
"If the investigating officers are not efficient then in future they should not be assigned investigation of the case. It is further directed that in the investigation, all scientific methods should be applied because defective investigation or investigation without collection of proper evidence, results in acquittal and therefore only the conviction rate is only 6 to 7%. We direct the police administration to not only monitor the investigation but guide the investigating officers to apply the scientific methods for investigation and for that periodically training program should be arranged."
The Bench added that not only the investigating officer but the officers who supervise the investigation should also be made responsible if any defect is found in the investigation.
Looking at the seriousness of the case Senior Counsel Singh further requested the Court to look into the security of the victim's family and the petitioner. this prompted the Court to provide adequate security to the family of the deceased and the petitioner.
The DGP has also been directed to closely monitor the progress of the investigation so that it may reach its logical conclusion.

Recently, the Court had pulled up the investigating officer when he could not explain the delay in interrogating the accused in the case, while remarking that this lag occurred despite serious allegations against the accused. It had thus summoned the Director-General of Police, UP.

The Court had then asked the DGP, and the members of the SIT team to explain the inaction of the Police Authorities in the investigation.

Moreover, the Director General of Police, who appeared in person, has been asked to ensure that probe in rape cases are completed within two months.

Cause Title: Mahendra Pratap Singh v State Of U.P. Through Secretary (Home) And 2 Others

Click here to Download the Order.


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