Begin typing your search above and press return to search.
News Updates

Investigating Officer Is A Material Witness In Trial Relating To Offence Under Prevention Of Corruption Act: JKL High Court

Sparsh Upadhyay
3 April 2022 2:40 PM GMT
Investigating Officer Is A Material Witness In Trial Relating To Offence Under Prevention Of Corruption Act: JKL High Court
x

The Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh High Court recently observed that in a trial relating to offence under the Prevention of Corruption Act, an Investigating Officer is a material witness.The Bench of Justice Sanjay Dhar observed thus while hearing a plea moved by the Union Territory Of J&K challenging an order of the Special Judge Anti-corruption, Anantnag passed in a trial under the...

The Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh High Court recently observed that in a trial relating to offence under the Prevention of Corruption Act, an Investigating Officer is a material witness.

The Bench of Justice Sanjay Dhar observed thus while hearing a plea moved by the Union Territory Of J&K challenging an order of the Special Judge Anti-corruption, Anantnag passed in a trial under the Prevention of Corruption Act closing the prosecution evidence.

The case in brief 

The Special Judge, while closing the prosecution evidence, observed that the right to a speedy trial is an essential part of the fundamental right of life and liberty and in this case, the charge sheet was filed way back in the year 1997 but till the date of passing of impugned order, the prosecution could not complete its evidence.

On these grounds, the trial court had passed the impugned order closing the prosecution evidence. Challenging this order, the UT argued before the Court that the impugned order passed by the trial court was not legally sustainable and it had resulted in a miscarriage of justice.

It was further contended that the Investigating Officer is the architect of a case under the PCA and it was incumbent upon the trial court to record his statement, but without doing so, the trial court had directed the closure of evidence of the prosecution.

Court's order

The Court perused the records of the court and the facts and circumstances of the Case to note that the examination-in-chief of the Investigating Officer had been recorded, whereafter his statement was deferred.

In view of this, stressing upon the importance of summoning and recording the evidence/statement of the investigation officer in a trial under the Prevention of Corruption Act, the Court observed thus:

"Once the part statement of a witness is recorded by the trial court, it becomes the bounden duty of the court to record the remaining statement of the said witness and in this regard, the trial court has to take all necessary steps to secure the presence of the witness. The impugned order does not indicate as to what steps the trial court has taken for securing presence of PW Abdul Gaffar Malik which means that the trial court has not taken necessary steps for securing the presence of the prosecution witness by issuing summons to him or by adopting coercive methods for securing his presence, in case the witness had avoided appearing in the court despite service of summons. Without taking these measures, the learned trial court has proceeded to close the evidence of the prosecution, merely because the trial of the case has prolonged."

Further, the Court also said that while it is true that an accused has a right to a speedy trial, but then, while safeguarding this right, the court is not expected to circumvent the due procedure and close the evidence of the prosecution.

"The witness, whose part statement has been recorded, happens to be the Investigating Officer of the case. An Investigating Officer is a material witness in a trial relating to offence under the Prevention of Corruption Act, therefore, it was all the more necessary for the learned Special Judge to take all necessary steps for securing the presence of said witness so that his remaining statement could be recorded," the Court remarked.

Against this backdrop, the Court allowed the revision petition, and the impugned order is set aside. The UT was directed to ensure the appearance of Investigating Officer for recording his remaining statement on the next date of the hearing fixed before the trial court.

Case title: Union Territory Of J&K through Anticorruption Bureau v. Sonaullah Ahanger and Ors

Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (JKL) 16

Click here To Read/Download Order

Next Story