‘There Must Be An End To It‘: Kerala HC Orders CBI Investigation In Shuhaib Murder Case [Read Judgment]

‘There Must Be An End To It‘: Kerala HC Orders CBI Investigation In Shuhaib Murder Case [Read Judgment]

“Innumerable murders have been taken place in the locality and all such murders have been styled as 'political murders'. But, it is a fact that political parties are not dying whereas; individuals are being put to death and their family members are virtually being thrown to the street,” the court said.

The Kerala High Court, on a plea of parents of a youth who was murdered in Kannur, has directed to hand over the investigation to the Central Bureau of Investigation.

Justice B Kemal Pasha observed that there are latches and delays in police investigations and it lacks transparency. The court also observed that this is a clear case which comes within the category of terrorism as defined under Section 15 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), 1967.

Shuhaib was hacked to death on a public road on 12.02.2018 by four or five persons. It is alleged that the murder was out of political enmity from CPI(M) activists, as a result of a criminal conspiracy. The parents of Shuhaib had approached the high court urging that local police, who are conducting the investigation, are inefficient to conduct a proper investigation as their hands are fettered since the persons behind the murder and the alleged conspirators behind the murder are attached to the ruling party.

The bench made this observation about the police investigation: “Either they could not do it out of inefficiency, or their hands were fettered as pointed out by the learned counsel for the petitioners. It cannot be believed that the investigating agency could not gather any information regarding the weapons from A1 and A2 even though for days and days they were in their custody.”

The court also observed that justice should be done not only through the trial of the case: justice should be imparted through a proper investigation also as it is also a part of criminal justice dispensing system.  “It cannot be said that in this particular case when there was inordinate delay even in making to appear that weapons allegedly made use of by the accused were recovered, it cannot be said that the investigation of this was expeditious or fair. It lacks transparency,” the court said.

Conspiracy behind the so-called “political murder” has to be unearthed

The court also noted that there is absolutely nothing to show that any of the other actual participants in the murder had entertained any personal vendetta towards the deceased. “When they had no such personal vendetta towards the deceased, they could only be treated as mere pawns in the hands of some others, who are still in the shells. A large-scale conspiracy behind the murder can genuinely be suspected. The said conspiracy behind the so-called “political murder” has to be unearthed. Persons, who can make use of such pawns for exterminating their political opponents, should not be permitted to continue such dramas anymore. Only if an investigation is conducted regarding the conspiracy also, these continued murders can be stopped at least to a certain extent,” the court observed.

Political parties not dying- Individuals die

Justice Pasha also made some scathing observations about political violence in Kannur. He observed: “Innumerable murders have been taken place in the locality and all such murders have been styled as 'political murders'. But, it is a fact that political parties are not dying whereas; individuals are being put to death and their family members are virtually being thrown to the street.”

Political Leaders have harmonious relationship among them

The court further observed: “It is an open secret that, at the leadership levels of politicians, all the parties have a harmonious relationship among them. At the same time, such a relationship, unfortunately, does not percolate to the lower strata. It is also an open secret that the workers of such political parties at the lower strata, who have been suffering a brainwash, are being used as pawns in the hands of political leaders for exterminating their political opponents. There must be an end to it. Let this case be an eye opener for such persons.”

Maintainability of plea seeking CBI probe before single bench

A plea of maintainability of the writ petition before a single bench was also taken by the state contending that it has no jurisdiction to entertain this writ petition, as the matter is covered by Article 226(2) of the Constitution of India, and the same has not been allocated to a single judge as per the Kerala High Court Act.

The court rejected the submission observing that the CBI office shall be considered to be a police station for all practical purposes and the officers of CBI shall be treated as Station House Officers for all practical purposes, within the meaning of the Code of Criminal Procedure. “When the investigation of a case is handed over to the CBI, they should be treated as Station House Officers to exercise their jurisdiction within that area. The offices of the CBI in Kerala are manned by the Superintendent of Police of the CBI. When the investigation has been handed over to the CBI in Kerala, the investigation is being conducted by the officers under the Superintendent of Police, CBI. In such case, it cannot be said that the seat of the investigating agency is at Delhi. The seat of the investigating agency in such case is in Kerala, which is well within the territorial jurisdiction of the Single Judge of this Court,” the court said.

UAPA is attracted

The court also said this is a clear case which comes within the category of terrorism as defined under Section 15 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 and so Section 43 of the UAPA clearly necessitates and justifies an investigation to be conducted in the matter by the SPE/CBI.

Referring to UAPA provisions and remand reports filed by the police, the court observed that indiscriminately bombs were hurled by a person among the persons who conducted the mission and terrorised everyone who were present there. “They wanted to terrorise the public in order to restrict any public entry to the spot. In such case also, the matter has to be investigated by incorporating the offences under the UAPA also,” it said.

Read the Judgment Here