Criminal P.C. (1973), S.173(8) - Investigation - Liberty of citizen - It has become fashionable for Investigating Officer to charge-sheet anyone against whom allegations which would attract public eye, are made without bothering to collect the evidence which would lead to their conviction - This they do just in order to quieten public outrage - Sending such half baked prosecutions to courts leads to not only distressing acquittals, but also avoidable trampling of liberty of number of people who eventually get acquitted and carry a feeling of hurt on being persecuted by the State - Held, rather than playing to the gallery, a criminal court must perform its classical role of zealously guarding the liberty of a citizen.
It has become fashionable for the Investigating Officer to charge-sheet anyone against whom allegations, which would attract public eye, are made, without bothering to collect the evidence, which would lead to their conviction. This they do just in order to quieten public outrage. Of late, under the guise of giving even handed treatment to everyone, investigators do not distinguish between cases which could be successfully taken to trial and instances, for proof whereof, there is no evidence. This is done in order to avoid taking the responsibility which the Investigating Officer and the Prosecutor in charge of the case are supposed to carry in deciding whether the case can go for trial. Sending such half baked prosecutions to the Courts leads to not only distressing acquittals, but also avoidable trampling of liberty of number of people who eventually get acquitted and carry a feeling of hurt on being persecuted by the State. Apart from this, such prosecutions, which eventually fail, to borrow words of Shakespear, make the law a scarecrow on which birds of prey merrily perch.
The prosecution thus makes it appear that they treat everyone even handedly and send every suspect for trial to let the Court decide as to who is the offender. This is, however, a mere camouflage for shirking the responsibility to decide as to who cannot be put to trial because of insufficient evidence, or rather inability to collect adequate evidence. (Such inability may be due to genuine pressure on time and prioritizing activities, though such priorities may not be always set on the touchstone of call of duty and political or other extraneous consideration may weigh).
The path of choosing a populist option may have been open to the Trial Magistrate, but it is decidedly closed to a court of record, since it will give an undesirable turn to the course of law and may jeopardise liberty of common man - throwing him at the mercy of the police and the prosecution. For, if the course adopted by the learned Magistrate were to be approved, whether there be evidence to establish guilt or not, if same ragtag charge-sheet is filed and irrelevant evidence is tendered, yet a conviction would have to be handed down. Rather than playing to the gallery, a criminal Court must perform its classical role of zealously guarding the liberty of a citizen.
SUNILKUMAR S/O. GAYAPRASAD MISHRA VS. STATE OF MAHARASHTRA
2009-ALL MR (Cri)-2038( Paras 31,32 and 35)
2005 ALL MR (Cri) 601 and 2003 ALL MR (Cri) 2304 - Ref. to.
(Paras 31, 32, 35)