Top
Top Stories

Displeasure Of Accused About The Manner In Which Investigation Proceeds Not A Ground To Transfer Investigation To CBI: SC [Read Judgment]

LIVELAW NEWS NETWORK
19 May 2020 10:39 AM GMT
Displeasure Of Accused About The Manner In Which Investigation Proceeds Not A Ground To Transfer Investigation To CBI: SC [Read Judgment]
x
"An accused person does not have a choice in regard to the mode or manner in which the investigation should be carried out or in regard to the investigating agency. "

The displeasure of an accused person about the manner in which the investigation proceeds or an unsubstantiated allegation of a conflict of interest against the police conducting the investigation must not derail the legitimate course of law and warrant the invocation of the extraordinary power of the Court to transfer an investigation to the CBI, the Supreme Court has observed while...

Your free access to Live Law has expired
To read the article, get a premium account.
    Your Subscription Supports Independent Journalism
Subscription starts from
599+GST
(For 6 Months)
Premium account gives you:
  • Unlimited access to Live Law Archives, Weekly/Monthly Digest, Exclusive Notifications, Comments.
  • Reading experience of Ad Free Version, Petition Copies, Judgement/Order Copies.
Already a subscriber?

The displeasure of an accused person about the manner in which the investigation proceeds or an unsubstantiated allegation of a conflict of interest against the police conducting the investigation must not derail the legitimate course of law and warrant the invocation of the extraordinary power of the Court to transfer an investigation to the CBI, the Supreme Court has observed while declining Arnab Goswami's plea to transfer investigation to CBI.

The bench comprising Justices DY Chandrachud and MR Shah reiterated that such transfer is an "extraordinary power" to be used "sparingly" and "in exceptional circumstances".

The transfer of an investigation to the CBI is not a matter of routine, the bench said.

"Routine transfers would belie not just public confidence in the normal course of law but also render meaningless the extraordinary situations that warrant the exercise of the power to transfer the investigation", stated the judgment authored by Justice Chandrachud.

Arnab Goswami had sought the transfer of investigation to CBI on the following grounds urged for transfer are:

(i) The length of the interrogation which took place on 27 April 2020;

(ii) The nature of the inquiries which were addressed to the Petitioner and the CFO and the questions addressed during interrogation;

(iii) The allegations leveled by the petitioner against the failure of the State government to adequately probe the incident at Palghar involving an alleged lynching of two persons in the presence of police and forest department personnel;

(iv) Allegations which have been made by the petitioner on 28 April 2020 in regard to CP, Mumbai; and

(v) Tweets on the social media by activists of the INC and the interview by the complainant to a representative of R Bharat.

The Court observed that these apprehensions did not make out a special case for transferring the probe to CBI.

Referring to the decision P. Chidambaram v Directorate of Enforcement, the court observed that so long as the investigation does not violate any provision of law, the investigation agency is vested with the discretion in directing the course of investigation, which includes determining the nature of the questions and the manner of interrogation. It said:

An accused person does not have a choice in regard to the mode or manner in which the investigation should be carried out or in regard to the investigating agency. The line of interrogation either of the petitioner or of the CFO cannot be controlled or dictated by the persons under investigation/interrogation.

So long as the investigation does not violate any provision of law, the investigation agency is vested with the discretion in directing the course of investigation, which includes determining the nature of the questions and the manner of interrogation.

The Court said that the accused person does not have a choice in regard to the mode or manner in which the investigation should be carried out or in regard to the investigating agency. The dictum in the 2018 Bhima Koregaon case (Romila Thapar vs Union of India) was cited in this regard.

The court added that no transfer of investigation can be ordered "merely because a party has levelled some allegations against the local police. While declining the plea, the bench observed:

"An individual under investigation has a legitimate expectation of a fair process which accords with law. The displeasure of an accused person about the manner in which the investigation proceeds or an unsubstantiated allegation (as in the present case) of a conflict of interest against the police conducting the investigation must not derail the legitimate course of law and warrant the invocation of the extraordinary power of this Court to transfer an investigation to the CBI. Courts assume the extraordinary jurisdiction to transfer an investigation in exceptional situations to ensure that the sanctity of the administration of criminal justice is preserved. While no inflexible guidelines are laid down, the notion that such a transfer is an "extraordinary power" to be used "sparingly" and "in exceptional circumstances" comports with the idea that routine transfers would belie not just public confidence in the normal course of law but also render meaningless the extraordinary situations that warrant the exercise of the power to transfer the investigation" 

The bench noted :

"The contention of the petitioner that the length of the investigation or the nature of the questions addressed to him and the CFO during the interrogation must weigh in transferring the investigation cannot be accepted. The investigating agency is entitled to determine the nature of the questions and the period of questioning. The Petitioner was summoned for investigation on one day. Furthermore, the allegation of the Petitioner that there is a conflict of interest arising out of the criticism by him of the alleged failure of the State government to adequately probe the incident at Palghar is not valid. The investigation of the Palghar incident is beyond the territorial jurisdiction of the Mumbai police".

The Court said that it was "unable to find any reason that warrants a transfer of the investigation to the CBI".

"Having balanced and considered the material on record as well as the averments of and submissions urged by the petitioner, we find that no case of the nature which falls within the ambit of the tests enunciated in the precedents of this Court has been established for the transfer of the investigation", the Court held.

Click here to Read/Download Judgment

Read Judgment




Next Story
Share it