Calls for report on mechanism to identify mistakes during probe, trial
Observing that the Supreme Court had recently said that “criminal justice system in this country is on crossroad”, the Jharkhand High Court has said “Jharkhand is no exception” as it asked the Director General (Police) if there is any mechanism to identify mistakes committed during investigation and trial.
“In a recent judgment the Supreme Court has observed; “the criminal justice system in this country is on crossroad”. In the last one month since I was assigned roster for bail matters, I have come across cases which make me believe that Jharkhand is no exception,” Justice S. Chandrashekhar said.
He was appalled at the state of affairs in 17 bail matters before him where witnesses had not been examined even after 23 adjournments or for about 3 years, eye-witness and the informant were not made charge-sheet witnesses or the post-mortem examination report did not record any observation regarding external injury on the body of the deceased.
In one such case, the prosecution had failed to produce any witness leading to acquittals.
The court referred to Police Order No. 47, issued way back on September 28, 1950, addressing concern regarding non- appearance of the police officers/ investigating officers during the trial.
“It is not known whether Police Order No.47 has been given effect by Home Department, after creation of the State of Jharkhand. In most of the cases, the official witnesses have not appeared and consequently, the trial has been delayed,” Justice Chandrashekhar said.
Looking at the failure of the prosecution in assisting the court during trial, the high court said, “The role of Public Prosecutor in a criminal justice system is no less important. Some of the important duties of Public Prosecutor are; he should place the entire evidence before the Court and he should ensure that all important witnesses are produced in the Court, however, he shall always keep in mind that he is not there to secure conviction or acquittal of an accused. Many of the cases listed today indicate failure on the part of Public Prosecutors.”
Referring to the directions issued to all states by the Supreme Court in State of Gujarat vs Kishanbhai & Ors in 2014, Justice Chandrashekhar reiterated the need for constituting a standing committee of senior officers of police and prosecution department for identifying the persons responsible for failure of the prosecution cases.
“Whether directions issued in Kishanbhai case have been implemented by the State of Jharkhand or not, is not known,” he said.
“Taking a leaf from the judgement in Kishanbhai case, the competent authority (Home Department) can evolve a mechanism for identifying mistakes committed during the investigation before the case goes for trial,” he added.
The court asked DG Police to file an affidavit stating if there is any module for periodic training of the investigating officers; mechanism for detecting the mistake committed by the investigating officer in course of investigation, before or after a charge-sheet is filed; module for periodic training of additional public prosecutors and doctors.
He also sought to know if regulations have been framed or guidelines issued by the government for taking coercive steps against the investigating officer and doctors for failing to depose in a criminal case.