A two Judge Bench of the Supreme Court in Dharam Pal v. State of Haryana has held that an Investigation by another agency including CBI can be ordered by the Constitutional Court even after commencement of Trial.
The Bench comprising of Justices Dipak Misra and Prafulla C Pant was hearing an Appeal against the Judgment of Punjab and Haryana High Court which declined the plea of One Dharam Pal who approached the High Court seeking CBI investigation on his Wife’s Murder. The reasoning of the High Court was, as the trial has commenced, there cannot be a transfer of the case to another investigating agency.
The CBI has contended that the case does not fall within the guidelines laid down by the Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court in State of West Bengal & others v. Committee for Protection of Democratic Rights, West Bengal and others. Repelling the contention the Bench held that ‘on a perusal of the said authority, we really do not find any aspect which would support the stand put forth by the learned counsel for the CBI. On the contrary, as we perceive, the Constitution Bench has laid great emphasis on instilling of faith of the victim and the public at large in the investigating agency. True it is, the facts in the said case were different and related to alleged crimes committed by certain State officials, but the base of confidence in investigation has been significantly highlighted’.
Explaining the Constitution Bench Judgment Justice Mishra held as follows;
“Be it noted here that the constitutional courts can direct for further investigation or investigation by some other investigating agency. The purpose is, there has to be a fair investigation and a fair trial. The fair trial may be quite difficult unless there is a fair investigation. We are absolutely conscious that direction for further investigation by another agency has to be very sparingly issued but the facts depicted in this case compel us to exercise the said power. We are disposed to think that purpose of justice commands that the cause of the victim, the husband of the deceased, deserves to be answered so that miscarriage of justice is avoided. Therefore, in this case the stage of the case cannot be the governing factor.
“The power to order fresh, de-novo or re-investigation being vested with the Constitutional Courts, the commencement of a trial and examination of some witnesses cannot be an absolute impediment for exercising the said constitutional power which is meant to ensure a fair and just investigation. It can never be forgotten that as the great ocean has only one test, the test of salt, so does justice has one flavour, the flavour of answering to the distress of the people without any discrimination”, He added.
The Court had stayed the Trial and directed that CBI shall conduct the investigation and file the report before the Trial Judge.
Read the Judgment here.