SC Rejects Rajasthan Govt.’s Plea Against HC Order For CBI Investigation Against Police Officers In Custodial Death Case

SC Rejects Rajasthan Govt.’s Plea Against HC Order For CBI Investigation Against Police Officers In Custodial Death Case

The Supreme Court bench of Justice S. A. Bobde and Justice L. Nageswara Rao on Thursday refused to admit a Special Leave Petition filed by State of Rajasthan against the order of Rajasthan High Court transferring to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) the investigation in a FIR registered under sections 143, 365 and 302 of the IPC against the state police personnel in respect of a custodial death.

The High Court, in passing the impugned order, had relied on the judgement in Rubabbuddin Sheikh Vs. State of Gujarat in so far as it was observed therein,

“It is also well known that when police officials of the State were involved in the crime and in fact they are investigating the case, it would be proper and interest of justice would be better served if the investigation is directed to be carried out by the CBI Authorities, in that case CBI authorities would be an appropriate authority to investigate the case."

The High Court had also referred to State of West Bengal v. The Committee for Protection of Democratic Rights, West Bengal & Ors.  wherein it was held,

"There is ample power in this Court under Article 226 of the Constitution to direct an investigation to be conducted by Central Bureau of Investigation to provide credibility and instill confidence in investigations or where the incident may have national and international ramifications or where such an order may be necessary for doing complete justice and enforcing the Fundamental Rights”.

Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Tushar Mehta submitted before the bench,

“The High Court has not given any reason for the order. It has relied on the judgements in the Rubabbuddin and West Bengal cases, where the order for transfer had been made after the investigation had been found faulty. Although in the present matter, the death happened in judicial custody, there was no police atrocity. Not allowing the local police to investigate will demoralise the police”.

“You want us to accept the contentions of a party over the recording of the High Court? That will not be good for our morale. The law is settled on this proposition. We cannot entertain this petition”, remarked the bench, dismissing the SLP.