8 Nov 2023 4:58 AM GMT
Expressing concern over the prolonged delay in recovering a college girl who was allegedly abducted nearly 11 months ago, the Patna High Court has taken a stern stance against the Muzaffarpur police. The court has directed the district police to form a special investigating team (SIT) immediately and collaborate with the state's Economic Offence Unit (EOU) to expedite the...
Expressing concern over the prolonged delay in recovering a college girl who was allegedly abducted nearly 11 months ago, the Patna High Court has taken a stern stance against the Muzaffarpur police. The court has directed the district police to form a special investigating team (SIT) immediately and collaborate with the state's Economic Offence Unit (EOU) to expedite the investigation.
In addition, the Muzaffarpur Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) has been instructed to provide weekly progress reports on the investigation, with the court closely monitoring the case.
Justice Rajeev Ranjan Prasad while hearing the criminal writ application strictly said, “This Court would make it clear that the laxity on the part of the police personnel/the investigating agency of the case in the present case writs large on the face of it and in case immediate remedial measures are not taken by the Senior Superintendent of Police, Muzaffarpur and the victim girl is not recovered, it will only fortify the belief of this Court that the State investigating agency has completely failed in its duty to protect a citizen of this country and thereby failed to secure the fundamental right of the victim girl as guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution of India.”
“The principle of Parens Patriae must be kept in mind. Failure to conduct proper investigation in the kind of present case would be a serious matter and the Court will consider further issuing directions to fix the responsibility against all the erring officials,” Justice Prasad added.
The case revolves around the abduction of a college girl, reported to the police on the same day of her disappearance, i.e. December 12, 2022. However, an FIR was registered only on 16th December 2022, leading to substantial delays in the investigation process. Despite the petitioner's efforts, including approaching the Director General of Police, Bihar, and the National Human Rights Commission, no significant progress was made in locating the missing girl.
In response to the situation, the Patna High Court has issued the following directives:
1. The Economic and Cyber Offences Unit, Bihar, has been added as party-Respondent No.9 in the case. The Inspector General/Superintendent of Police, Economic Offences Unit, will ensure that the Investigating Officer complies with the advisories provided in Letter No. 505 dated 11.04.2023. Failure to comply will result in appropriate action against the Investigating Officer.
2. The Economic and Cyber Offences Unit is instructed to promptly obtain necessary details, analyze the materials, and take all required measures, in collaboration with the investigating agency/SIT, to identify the accused.
3. The Senior Superintendent of Police, Muzaffarpur, is mandated to reconstitute the SIT and collaborate closely with the Superintendent of Police, Economic Offences Unit. They are required to conduct raids on all possible/suspected locations to find the victim girl.
4. An inquiry will be conducted into why the statements of the accused individuals, namely, Archana Kumari and Jyoti Kumari, were not recorded under Section 164 Cr.P.C. Additionally, the delay in taking the alleged kingpin, Sonu Kumar, on remand will be investigated.
Given the gravity of the situation and the urgency of the matter, the Patna High Court has decided to monitor the investigation closely. The case will be listed as a tied-up matter every Friday at 2:15 PM, with the next hearing scheduled for 10th November 2023.
Counsel/s For the Petitioner : Mr. Arun Kumar, Advocate Mr. Kumar Shanu, Advocate
Counsel/s For the State : Mr. Suman Kumar Jha, AC to AAG-3
Counsel/s For the Interveners : Mr. Dinu Kumar, Advocate Mr. Arvind Kumar, Advocate
LL Citation: 2023 LiveLaw (Pat) 139
Case Title: Sanjay Kumar Male vs. The State of Bihar and Ors
Case No.: Criminal Writ Jurisdiction Case No.1072 of 2023
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