In a significant order, the Delhi High Court on Monday said that Police officials are "interested" in the conclusion of criminal case, so projected by them, and therefore, there testimonies should be corroborated by some independent evidence.
"We are aware that there is no rule of law or evidence, which lays down that unless and until the testimony of the police official is corroborated by some independent evidence, the same cannot be believed. But it is a Rule of Prudence, that a more careful scrutiny of the evidence of the police officials is required, since they can be said to be interested in the result of the case projected by them," the Bench comprising of Justices Rajnish Bhatnagar and Vipin Sanghi said.
Taking exception to the "lackadaisical approach" of the Police authorities in the instant case, the Court has urged the Commissioner of Police to take appropriate action against the erring police officials.
The order has been passed in an appeal against an order of conviction and life sentence, imposed on one Mustakeem, for the offence of Murder under Section 302 IPC.
The Petitioner had asserted that he had been falsely implicated in the case and there was not even an iota of evidence against him. He had urged that the Trial Court had misdirected itself by placing reliance on the testimony of PW 11, Constable Kuldeep Singh (stated to be an eyewitness), and alleged that he was a "planted witness".
On a perusal of the testimony of the said Constable, read alongside the testimony of PW 47, concerned Station House Officer, the Court noted that their statements were replete with contradictions and the entire investigation had been botched up.
After a detailed discussion on the facts of the case and the statements given by the police officials, the Court observed,
"In the instant case, we have already observed hereinabove in the judgment that PW 11 Ct. Kuldeep who has been projected as an eye witness by the IO of this case, is not an eye witness and has been planted in order to "solve" the case. Therefore, we have find it hard to believe the testimonies of the police officials in the absence of corroboration from any public witness, looking into the facts and circumstances of this case and also the manner in which the IO and the SHO have conducted themselves."
The Bench added,
"the manner in which the investigation has been done and the non joining of any public witnesses reduces the arrest and search of the appellant untrustworthy, and the same does not inspire confidence."
The Court noted that in almost all the documents prepared by the IO, Ct. Kuldeep Singh is a witness, "as if he was omnipresent".
"Even with the necked eyes, one can see, that the documents which have been witnessed and signed by PW 11 Ct. Kuldeep bear different signatures. No two documents singed by Ct. Kuldeep Singh bears the same signatures which also fortifies our view that he has never been the eye witness of the incident, and has only been involved in this case for solving the same," the Bench sternly remarked.
Pained by such tactics adopted by the Police only "solve" a case, the Court said that it is a fit case, where the conduct and the manner of investigation done should be brought to the notice of the Commissioner of Police for taking appropriate action against the erring police officials. It directed that a copy of this judgment be sent to the Commissioner of Police for necessary action and compliance.
"We are pained to say that because of the lacksidal approach of the IO and the SHO of this case, the entire investigation has been botched up. PW 11 Ct. Kuldeep has been cited as an eye witness by the IO and the SHO, but no action has been taken against him in not reporting the matter immediately to them in such a serious offence. They even fail to take or recommend any action against him. Rather, they shielded him when they were questioned about the veracity of PW 11 in their cross examination," the Bench noted.
Case Title: Mustakeem v. GNCTD