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CBI Investigation Can Be Ordered Even After Submission Of Chargesheet In An Appropriate Case: Supreme Court

LIVELAW NEWS NETWORK
17 Dec 2020 12:24 PM GMT
CBI Investigation Can Be Ordered Even After Submission Of Chargesheet In An Appropriate Case: Supreme Court
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The Supreme Court has observed that there is no embargo on it to transfer an investigation to the CBI after submission of the charge-sheet.The bench comprising Justice DY Chandrachud, Indu Malhotra and Indira Banerjee observed thus while cancelling anticipatory bail granted to in-laws of a deceased woman in a dowry death case and also directing the Central Bureau of...

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The Supreme Court has observed that there is no embargo on it to transfer an investigation to the CBI after submission of the charge-sheet.

The bench comprising Justice DY Chandrachud, Indu Malhotra and Indira Banerjee observed thus while cancelling anticipatory bail granted to in-laws of a deceased woman in a dowry death case and also directing the Central Bureau of Investigation to further investigate the case.

The Allahabad High Court had earlier granted anticipatory bail to the parents-in-law , brother-in-law and sister-in-law of the deceased woman, who were accused in the dowry death case.  To grant them anticipatory bail, the High Court observed that (a) "the FIR prima facie appears to be engineered to implicate the applicants"; (b) "there is no corelation in between the various allegations leveled in the FIR"; and (c) the allegations "are general in nature" with no specific role being assigned to the accused.

Referring to the case records, the bench, also comprising Justices Indu Malhotra and Indira Banerjee observed that the investigation by the UP Police in the present case 'leaves much to be desired'. The bench also disagreed with the High Court's reasons to grant the anticipatory bail to the accused. It said:

"The FIR contains a recital of allegations bearing on the role of the accused in demanding dowry, of the prior incidents of assault and the payment of moneys by cheque to the in-laws of the deceased. The FIR has referred to the telephone calls which were received both from the father-in-law of the deceased on the morning of 3 August 2020 and from the deceased on two occasions on the same day- a few hours before her body was found. The grant of anticipatory bail in such a serious offence would operate to obstruct the investigation. The FIR by a father who has suffered the death of his daughter in these circumstances cannot be regarded as "engineered" to falsely implicate the spouse of the deceased and his family. "

The court noted that, in this case, charge-sheet has been submitted to the competent court on 5 November 2020. The bench said that submission of the charge-sheet does not oust the jurisdiction of a superior court, when the investigation is tainted and there is a real likelihood of justice being deflected. Referring to Vinay Tyagi vs Irshad (2013) 5 SCC 762, the bench observed:

"The court held that wherever a charge-sheet has been submitted to the court, even this Court would not ordinarily reopen the investigation especially by entrusting it to a specialized agency. However, in a proper case, when the Court feels that the investigation by the police has not been in the proper perspective and that in order to do complete justice, where the facts of the case demand that the investigation be handed over to a specialized agency, a superior court is not bereft of the authority to do so."

The bench also referred to judgments in Pooja Pal vs Union of India (2016) 3 SCC 135 and Dharam Pal vs State of Haryana (2016) 4 SCC 160, which upheld the power of the Apex Court to transfer an investigation to the CBI, irrespective of the stage of the trial. 

The court observed that the conduct of the investigating authorities in this case from the stage of arriving at the scene of occurrence to the filing of the charge-sheet do not inspire confidence in the robustness of the process. To transfer ' further investigation' to CBI, the Court invoked its powers under Article 142 of the Constitution and said:

It would indeed be a travesty if this Court were to ignore the glaring deficiencies in the investigation conducted so far, irrespective of the stage of the proceedings or the nature of the question before this Court. The status of the accused as propertied and wealthy persons of influence in Agra and the conduct of the investigation thus far diminishes this Court's faith in directing a further investigation by the same authorities. The cause of justice would not be served if the Court were to confine the scope of its examination to the wisdom of granting anticipatory bail and ignore the possibility of a trial being concluded on the basis of a deficient investigation at best or a biased one at worst.




Case: Dr Naresh Kumar Mangla vs. Anita Agarwal [ Criminal Appeal Nos.872-873 of 2020 ]
Coram: Justices DY Chandrachud, Indu Malhotra and Indira Banerjee
Counsel: Sr. Adv Shekhar Naphade for appellant., Sr. Adv R Basant and Sr. Adv Sidharth Luthra for respondent, Sr. Adv Vimlesh Kumar Shukla for state

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