The Madras High Court recently observed that "the Station House Officers, once they registered cases for the commission of cognizable offences, especially, of more serious offences are expected to act shiftily and see to that the offenders do not escape from the clutches of law".
The bench of Justices M. Sathyanarayanan and P. Rajamanickam were hearing a PIL by a practising advocate to direct the state to pay fair and just compensation for the mental agony and sufferings experienced by the victim in a FIR under Sections 341, 294(b) and 323 I.P.C. and Section 4 of Tamil Nadu Prohibition of Harassment of Women Act, 2002.
The petitioner submitted that though in the altercation one of the hands of the victim got fractured, no step has been taken to arrest the concerned person by the concerned Sub-Inspector of Police, and in this regard Mr. Justice A.Selvam along with victim and his family members, conducted Dharna in front of the Police Station, which was telecasted in the visual media and put in the domain of social media platform and thereafter only, some action has been taken to transfer the said official.
The primordial submission made by the petitioner/party-in-person was that every victim of the crime does not have the benefit of getting support from a former Judge of the High Court and therefore, a monetary mechanism has to be put in place as to the discharge of duty of the concerned Station House Officers while receiving the complaint, which has been taken cognizance of offences, especially serious offences.
"It is the specific case of the defacto complainant in Crime No. 84 of 2020 on the file of Poolankurichi Police Station that in the occurrence, one of his hand got fractured and despite that no steps have been taken to reign or arrest the accused by the Mr.Sethuraj, who was Sub-Inspector of Police, attached to the said Police Station. Hon'ble Mr. Justice A.Selvam, who is the native of the said village, appears to have caused enquiry and thereafter, went to the police station along with the victim and it was one of the news items in the visual media channels and also subject matter of discussion in social media. Therefore, the Sub-Inspector of Police, Sethuraj was transferred from the said Police Station and posted to Armed Reserved Police and one Mr.Sadhu Ramesh, Inspector of Police, took over the investigation and after recording the statements has filed final report charging the accused for the commission of offences under Sections 341, 294(b), 323, 324, 506(ii) and 326 I.P.C. and Section 4 of Tamil Nadu Prohibition of Harassment of Women Act, 2002 and the jurisdictional Magistrate is yet to take the final report on file", recorded the bench.
In order to avoid recurrence of such incidents, the bench directed that the Superintendent of Police of the concerned Districts shall regularly conduct periodical review meetings in a meaningful and objective manner and if there is any infraction, misconduct, negligence of duty on the part of the concerned officers/officials, shall take immediate, necessary and appropriate action against the concerned officials and shall also inform the same to the superior officials.
The division bench also noted that for the victim and others, a former Judge of the High Court, Mr. Justice A.Selvam came to their rescue and that may not be a normal feature in many cases of similar nature. "The police, guardian of law and order, who have been provided with sufficient powers under the relevant Statutes must take appropriate action against the accused, who commit/s offences, especially, cognizable offences", the bench observed.
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