‘The object of the petitioner filing a criminal complaint appears to be to first put to test the evidence so far collected by the Police Officers, before they can be used in the criminal complaints against him. The decision in Lalita Kumari did not license such a practice.’
The High Court at Hyderabad for the states of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, while dismissing a lawyer’s plea seeking investigation against investigating officers for allegedly fabricating evidence, has observed that if the evidence on which the prosecution relies to prove the guilt of an accused in a criminal case is fabricated, the accused, before lodging complaint, should first get a finding recorded to the said effect from the trial court in that case.
“The defence of an accused in a criminal case cannot become the subject matter of another criminal complaint against the prosecution. If the evidence on which the prosecution relies to prove the guilt of an accused in a criminal case is fabricated, the accused should first get a finding recorded to the said effect from the Trial Court in that case. It is only thereafter that a complaint of fabrication of evidence can be made by the accused in a criminal case against the Police Officers and the de facto complainant.”, said the Bench.
A lawyer, accused in several criminal cases, filed a complaint before the Magistrate, against the investigating officers. Before the high court, he assailed non-registration of FIR by the investigating officers, despite orders of the magistrate. He banked on the famous Lalitha Kumari decision by constitution bench of the Supreme Court to contend that once the magistrate issues a direction to the police to make an investigation and file a report, the concerned police officer is obliged to register the FIR and proceed with the investigation.
The main allegation in the complaint lodged against the police officers is that all of them are planting and fabricating evidence against him in the criminal complaints lodged against him.
A bench of Justice V Ramasubramanian and Justice J Uma Devi observed that the lawyer’s attempt is to seek an investigation into his allegation that the evidence collected by the Investigating Officer in the criminal complaints filed against him is fabricated and thereby to derail the course of the investigation.
The bench also observed that Lalita Kumari judgment did not contemplate a situation where the accused in a criminal case lodges a complaint against the Investigating Officer, even during the course of the investigation, on the allegation that he was collecting false evidence. “The false and fabricated nature of the evidence collected by an Investigating Officer in the course of investigation has first to be tested by the Court in which it is produced. An accused cannot use the decision in Lalita Kumari to pre-empt the very collection of evidence against him in the course of investigation,” the court said.
The bench further said Lalita Kumari judgment does not license the practice of testing the evidence so far collected by the police officers before they can be used in the criminal complaints against him. “Let us assume for a minute that a FIR is registered on the complaint given by the petitioner against the unofficial respondents. Once it is done, the evidence collected by the Investigating Officer will have to be proved as genuine in the case filed by the petitioner, before it can be used as evidence in the criminal cases filed against the petitioner. The evidence for the prosecution in a particular case cannot be first subjected to scrutiny in another criminal case,” the bench added.