The Delhi High Court on Friday stayed a trial court order directing legal action against an Investigating Officer and SHO for filing two distinct chargesheets in a minor rape case.
Justice Anu Malhotra, who sought status report from the Delhi Police, stayed the operation of the order dated 24th November 2021 wherein the Sessions Court had observed that the action of the police officials was purely mala fide and vicious.
The Trial Court had then proceeded to order that an appropriate legal action be taken against the IO and SHO concerned after prima facie opining that they had committed offences punishable under sec. 166, 166A (), 167, 191. 193, 195, 201. 218, 219 of the IPC. A compliance report was then called before November 26.
An petition was therefore moved by the SHO and IO before the High Court, challenging the order dated 24th November 2021 as also previous orders wherein the Court had observed that the investigation conducted in the matter was nothing but a mockery. The plea also sought expunging of the said remarks and directions against the petitioners.
During the course of hearing today, Senior Advocate Geeta Luthra appearing for the petitioners submitted that there was no deliberated or motivated act on the part of the petitioners and that it was only an inadvertent error.
She submitted that the chargesheet placed on the police file was at some variance for which amendments were made and the same was filed on the court record.
It was also submitted by the petitioners as well as the State that the copy of the chargesheet as placed on the police file was not filed on the court record.
Furthermore, Additional Public Prosecutor submitted that the enquiry in terms of the Trial Court orders was in progress as regards to the aspect of the appropriate legal action being taken against the petitioners.
It was also submitted that what was placed on the record of the Court was only the amended chargesheet and that there was only an inadvertent error on behalf of the petitioners and there was no deliberate act on behalf of the petitioners.
The Court also recorded Luthra's submissions that though only the physical amended chargesheet was filed on court record, inadvertently the e-challan of the same as placed on the police filed had been uploaded and a CD had been prepared.
Luthra also stated that when the complainant's counsel had made an application before the Trial Court seeking copy of chargesheet, the Court staff had inadvertently made the copy of the chargesheet from the police file without consulting the investigating officer instead of supplying the amended chargesheet which lead to a confusion without there being any mala fide on the part of the petitioners.
Hearing the parties, the Court ordered:
"Without any observations on the merits and demerits of the petition, it is considered essential that the State submits its status report in the matter and that furthermore the trial court record in its physical and e form be requisitioned for the next date of hearing. The applications if any filed by the complainant and accused seeking supply of chargesheet be also placed on record under supervision of concerned district and sessions judge."
"The matter is directed to be renotified on December 9 till which date the operation of the order dated 24.11.2021 is stayed."
The Trial Court had vide order dated November 18 made strong observation against the police and said "…but it is a big slap on the Delhi Police logo of "Shanti, Seva, Nyay" "Nyay" has been taken for a ride by them, twisted and warped as per their whims and fancies. If this continues, and the officials are not dealt sternly, the public shall loose their faith in police system. They not only have mocked the court/judicial system but also abused their power qua the people they have pledged to serve & protect."
It had also said that it was a classic case of abuse of power by police where a fraud was played upon the Court.
In this backdrop, the petition had averred thus:
"The Ld. ASJ erred in viewing the said confusion of the existence of two chargesheets, were filed intentionally to prejudice the accused, which is incorrect, as is evident from a perusal the documents in the amended chargesheet, which are identical and show nothing has been concealed or withheld from the accused. The amended chargesheet physically filed to the Court on 19.06.2021 is the final chargesheet, on which further proceedings have to initiate. Further investigation under S. 173 (8) CrPC is still pending in the case."
The matter related to a case concerning rape of a 14 year old minor girl.
The accused was arrested in March for allegedly raping and kidnapping the minor. The FIR was registered under Sections 363 (kidnapping), 366 (Kidnapping, abducting or inducing woman to compel her marriage), 376 (Rape), 342 (wrongful confinement) and 506 (criminal intimidation) of the IPC and Section 6 of the POCSO Act.
Case Title: SATISH KUMAR & ANR. v. STATE (STATE OF NCT OF DELHI)